Integral Human Development – Transforming Our World: the Holy See and the 2030 Agenda:

Yesterday, 18 of May 2017, took place an event in the UN about the view of the Holly See of the Agenda 2030.

The event was introduced and moderated by the Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See in the UN, Archbishop Ivan Jurkoviç. Archbishop Jurkoviç recalled the message of Pope Paul VI to the General Assembly of the United Nations and the will of the Holly see to work together with the objectives of the UN. As Paul VI said “Your Charter goes further, and our message moves ahead with it.”

After the message of Archbishop Jurkoviç, there was a message from the Director General of the United Nations at Geneva. Michael Moeller underlined the timeless message of Pope Francis of “being compassionate”. He mentioned the important role of religion to face nowadays challenges, especially those of the Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030. He referred the convergence of aims of the UN with the Catholic Church when it comes to target those most in need. Moeller was glad to see that Pope Francis saw the Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030 as a sign of hope in a world of fragmentation and he stressed that this process involves the Catholic Church at all stages. Finally Moeller remarked the harmony between the Pope Encyclical Letter Laudatio Si’.

The third speaker was Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of the UNCTAD. He emphasized that the 2030 Agenda reinforce the mission and work on the UNCTAD, especially when it mentions the importance of inclusion. New challenges have appeared the last years – Migrants, Climate Change…- and new solutions need to be found. On this regard, Kituyi mentioned the importance of public-private partnerships in multiple fields.

The biggest intervention was done by the keynote speaker Cardinal Turkson, Prefect of the Holy See Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. For Cardinal Turkson sustainable development is the best way to realize inclusive prosperity. In line with what Pope Francis has said during his intervention at the General Assembly of the UN he urged to put an end to the world poverty. This challenge is especially important considering that the widen gap between the first world and the third world. The conditions of the poorest have further deteriorated. Part of the problem as he said is the individualistic ideology of economy that is anchored on the selfishness of the human being.

These problems require a comprehensive solution, as the 17 goals and 169 targets of the 2030 agenda. The Holy See welcomes this approach and is happy to observe that this agenda is fully consistent with the recognition that all human beings have a common dignity. This idea of common dignity facilitates the comprehension of the common good, which is not an abstract collective thing, but a conception of good conceived for the needs of each individual, as well as their communities and groups. Although human beings are autonomous, we cannot forget two essential features: its dignity and that they are created for coexistence.  With the 2030 Agenda the International Community has considered this comprehensive dimension of the human being, and has decided to ground this document with solidarity instead of egoism.

On this comprehensive vision of the 2030 Agenda the role of religion cannot be neglected. This is way Cardinal Turkson stressed the important role of freedom of religion shaping the way we interact with our neighbors. Moreover, interreligious dialogue plays an essential role on this regard, and it must be a priority for the succees of the 2030 Agenda. Although, it is not only the lack of finance that is causing our problems, but the lack of peace and dialogue. Pope Francis has stressed this point multiple times.

Finally Cardinal Turkson, mentioned that in order to achieve this change of paradigm, to move beyond egoism to solidarity and to stop our indifference to the marginalized the Holly See has done some organizational changes. Pope Francis has merged four existing Pontifical Councils (Cor Unum, Justice & Peace, Migrants & Itinerant People and Health Care Workers), into the new Dicastery for Promoting integral Human Development, which is called to promote the integral development of each and all persons in the light of the Gospel.

After the intervention of Cardinal Turkson there was the response of the Panellists. Among them, Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the International Federation of RED Cross, who underlined the role of peace as a cornerstone for the SDGs and stressed the importance of public –private partnerships to achieve the targets of the 2030 Agenda. Also it was interesting to hear Pasquale Lupoli, Senior Regional Adviser for the Europe and Central Asia International Organisation for Migration, who urged about not neglecting the important role of the SDG for migrants problems, a group that haven’t stopped growing in the last 30 years.

Ignasi Grau

18th Session of the Working Group on the Right to Development

This weekly session of the Working Group (WG) was organized as a place to discuss about criteria and sub-criteria written in the draft of the Declaration on the Right to Development (RTD) and find a common language to agree upon. OIDEL has participate on this Working Group as part of the CINGO.

This WG has been working on the RTD for years, discussing on the principles and identifying the necessity of indicators and criteria. They represent an innovation, a new vision of human rights in which individual and collective rights are interrelated in the process of guaranteeing an equal and fair development for all.

The invited experts presented, from different perspectives, the reasons of the importance of this document and the need of a comprehensive development of standards and indicators. Some of them stressed also the importance of a link with the language of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to gain consensus and they discussed on the issue of the nature of the document, whether it should be legally binding or not.

During the discussion, it was addressed the issue of consensus and the need of a joint, equilibrated action, recalling also Goal 17 of the SDGs, but the difficulties were numerous, starting with the US declaration of no further engagement in the discussion and the polarization between developing and developed countries.

Some of the States present, as the one represented by the European Union, expressed disagreement on the necessity to adopt a legally binding document. Furthermore, the EU reminded the numerous reserves they have on the language of the criteria and sub-criteria.

Following this statement, some States as Egypt, Venezuela, Iran, Equator, together with NAM and CINGO[1], reminded the WG that the document shall be finished between this and the 19th session and there has been sufficient time to come up with comments and modifications to discuss instead of just taking a disagreeing position.

From this moment on, the WG found itself at an impasse, the EU and Japan were asking for more time to consult on the documents, more than the one already given by the numerous recesses. The other States, supported by NAM and CINGO, were appealing the States to engage in a constructive dialogue to use at best the time given. Neither formal nor informal meetings helped the States to move from this strong polarization. Nothing broke the division created during these sessions, not even the sensible words of the Chairperson Ambassador Zamir Akram or the appeal of CINGO to remember that the WG exist to ameliorate the life of people and not to take political positions.

During this last day, NAM held a private meeting after which presented a document with recommendations and conclusions discussed during an informal. In this occasion too, the States couldn’t agree on the issue of the legally binding document nor on the respect of the deadline for the drafting of this Document on the RTD.


Beatrice Bilotti

[1] Group of organizations consulting and presenting a united front in the WG in which OIDEL is an active participant.

El gran despropósito del Grupo de Trabajo para el Derecho al Desarrollo:

El viernes hace dos semana, a pesar del sol y las ganas de empezar, la sesión informal de la preparación del Grupo de Trabajo por el Derecho al Desarrollo terminó tensa y con malas vibraciones. Algunas filtraciones auguraban lo peor, pero como a menudo creíamos que nos encontrábamos ante las teatralizaciones propias de la diplomacia. Nosotros, el CINGO –plataforma dentro la que está OIDEL para estas negociaciones-, encarábamos la semana de la reunión del Grupo de Trabajo con la tensa ilusión de que podíamos hacer un paso adelante en la realización del Derecho al Desarrollo.

Antes de continuar permítanme hacerles una cuña introductoria. El Derecho al Desarrollo fue adoptado por la Declaración hace 29 años con el único voto contrario de los Estados Unidos, y se ha ido consagrando en el derecho internacional dentro la Declaración de Rio sobre el medioambiente y el desarrollo (1992), la Declaración y programa de acción de Viena (1993), la Declaración del Milenio; y recientemente en el Programa de acción de Estambul a favor de los países menos desarrollados por el decenio 2011-2020 (2011) y el documento final de la trigésima sesión de la Conferencia de la Naciones sobre el comercio y desarrollo (2012).

El derecho al desarrollo es el derecho humano que faculta a todo ser humano y pueblo a participar en un desarrollo económico, social, cultural y político en el que puedan realizarse plenamente todos los derechos humanos y libertades fundamentales obligando a todos los estados a cooperar y a crear condiciones nacionales e internacionales favorables para su realización. Navi Pillay llegó a decir que mil millones de personas en el mundo sufren extrema pobreza no por accidente, sino por la violación del derecho al desarrollo.

No obstante, la globalidad del concepto y los tejemanejes diplomáticos han provocado que siempre sea un derecho que genera fuertes tensiones. Para solucionar este problema en 2010 se creó un Grupo de Trabajo de Alto Nivel con el objetivo que hicieran un informe sobre la implementación del derecho al desarrollo en criterios y sub-criterios operacionales. El problema es que el Grupo de Trabajo se excedió en su mandato estableciendo la necesidad de fijar indicadores. El remedio fue peor que la enfermedad. Desde entonces, este pequeño detalle ha provocado el principal punto de discusión entre los dos grandes grupos en las negociaciones Estados Unidos y Europa –defensores de la inclusión de indicadores- y el Movimiento de los no alineados – contrarios a la inclusión de los indicadores.

Volvamos a la historia del viernes anterior al comienzo del grupo de trabajo. En las negociaciones sobre el programa de la semana siguiente ya se respiraba mucha tensión. Y junto con las discusiones ya tristemente habituales sobre la inclusión o no de indicadores, surgieron disputas que parecían querer enrocar la negociación. Muchas salidas de la sala de los diplomáticos, demasiadas llamadas furtivas durante la negociación y excesivas puertas cerradas por una simple negociación de la agenda. Los silencios diplomáticos se volvieron más largos y nos fuimos tarde y asumiendo que el lunes siguiente – día que empezaban las negociaciones- algo sonado estaba apunto de pasar.

PalaisEl lunes la sesión empezó en la sala XVI, sala grande, se esperaba mucha gente, tanto misiones como sociedad civil. Las misiones diplomáticas llegaron tarde, demasiado tarde, y pronto, demasiado pronto, se cerró la sesión formal. Se reabrió por segunda vez para echar de forma súbita de nuevo a las ONGs hasta las 4 de la tarde.

Por la tarde, el equipo OIDEL llegó con retraso. Pero con tiempo justo para ver lo esencial. La presidenta del Grupo de Trabajo, Tamara Kunanayakam –Sri Lanka – no estaba, y la media hora fue justo para decir que la sesión se postponía sin fijar fecha por no haber consenso en la búsqueda de nuevo presidente. Kunanayakam fue vetada por su propio país por un contencioso con su Ministerio de Exteriores. Según las misiones occidentales esta situación el NAM la sabía ya de hace días, y la mantuvo a escondidas para forzar la elección de un presidente iraní. Según las misiones del NAM, las misiones occidentales han bloqueado la elección de su candidato como forma de paralizar la negociación.

Lo único que sabemos las ONGs es que el despropósito de las misiones han conducido a la pérdida del trabajo de semanas y de muchísimos recursos económicos de las Naciones Unidas. Lo que no sabemos las ONGs es porque en la última resolución del derecho al desarrollo anima a más participación de la sociedad civil para dejarnos luego colgados de esta manera.

Volviendo de la sesión en autobús viví una escena, muy repetida, que materializa la frustración y el despropósito que ha supuesto esta sesión. Dos activistas chinos me comentaban que habían hecho un enorme esfuerzo para venir, pagando aviones y hoteles para nada, y siendo muy concientes que no podrán volver cuando se reabra la sesión. Ellos, como muchos, se van de esta sesión con mucha frustración y preguntándose si hay realmente algún país dispuesto a luchar por el derecho al desarrollo.

Ignasi Grau i Callizo

Position Paper on the POST-2015 Education Indicators

Concerning the Post-2015 Education Indicators proposed by the TAG (Technical Advisory Group) of UNESCO we, the NGO Platform on the Right to Education, would like to make the following remarks.


General Comments: Concerning the indicators used for the Post-2015 Education Indicators, we think a Human Rights based approach is essential, as development cannot be disconnected from human rights. In other terms, Education cannot just be seen as a tool for Sustainable Development, but as a right. The fact that education is a right has some consequences such as their protection by the rule of law, as the preamble of the Universal Declaration states, allowing citizens to claim it in case of unfulfillment. The importance of a Human Rights – based approach is widely recognized as the most pertinent way to monitor implementation of education as a fundamental component of development. We would have been glad to see reflected the work done so far by OHCHR on Indicators on Human Rights[1] and the “The Right to Education: Law and Policy Review Guidelines”[2] recently published by UNESCO. The only mention of legislation is within the indicator 26 concerning the real existence of nine years of free and compulsory basic education.

We would like to make two concrete suggestions concerning this approach:

Firstly, we propose the inclusion of structural indicators as in page 26 of the UNESCO document “The Right to Education: Law and Policy Review Guidelines” cited above. One example is the Constitutional Guarantees for Universal Primary Education.

Secondly, we propose the inclusion of three indicators taken from the OHCHR document, which particularly makes reference to civil society’s role:

Date of entry into force and coverage of domestic law on the freedom of the individuals and groups (including minorities) to establish and direct educational institutions

-Number of registered and/or active NGOs (per 100000 persons) involved in the promotion and protection of the right to education.

-Number of institutions of ethnic, linguistic minority and religious population groups recognized or given public support.[3]

5.1 – Early Childhood: We think that without any indicator of measurement it is impossible to assess implementation. If some indicators cannot be included we would then suggest removing this part in order to focus more intensely on primary and secondary education.


5.2 – Primary and Secondary Education. We are concerned that the proposed indicators may minimize the essential content of quality education to only Mathematics and Reading. As stated by the Special Rapporteur of the Right to Education, Mr. Singh, a holistic approach of the right to education is broader than the narrow approach of performance evaluation of only mathematical, literacy and language skills and it broadens the assessment of the educational attainments of students to include all obligations relating to the right to education under international human rights law. We consider that the content of the article 29.1 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the content of article 13.1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights should be included in Quality Education assessment.

The indicators 10, 11, 12 and 13 concern the results in different countries on reading and mathematics. However there is a reasonable doubt that these indicators are pertinent and comparable. In fact, it is not possible to use a comparison between the performance of countries with different languages tested.

We would like to highlight some issues concerning the comparability between countries:

-EGRA seems to compare easily the States tested in the same language, however there are some difficulties on doing this comparison due to the different uses of language (vocabulary and dialects that can differ).

-SACMEQ, TIMSS, PRILS, PISA and LLECE consider the international comparison as their main objective. However, there is a difference between the international and the regional surveys; while the first ones (TIMSS, PIRLS, PISA) show ranking of countries from the first pages, the second ones (SACMEQ, LLECE) have a less direct optic and are more focused on other factors.

-Finally, TIMSS, PIRLS and PISA do not permit to compare among situations where the language of learning is not the same one as the one used in the current activities.

The indicators concerning Primary and secondary education analyze the real application of the Education for All Steering Committee Target 2; which is “ By 2030, all girls and boys complete free and compulsory quality basic education of at least 9 years”. An indicator on the subject could be build from Article 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This article – signed by virtually all States- warns that each State “at the time of becoming a Party that has not been able to secure in its metropolitan territory or other territories under its jurisdiction compulsory primary education, free of charge, undertakes, within two years, to work out and adopt a detailed plan of action for the progressive implementation, within a reasonable number of years, to be fixed in the plan, of the principle of compulsory education free of charge for all”. The adoption of this plan of action in order to establish a compulsory primary education system free of charge is a good way to analyze the commitment of the States regarding the right to education under the terms of the EFA SC Target 2. Thus, we would like to see in the Post-2015 Education Indicators some concerning the implementation and existence of such plans in the different States Parties.

We would like to remark that beyond the inputs and outputs, it seems important to also have success indicators on the seven points of quality education as defined by the Learning Metrics Task Force.

5.3 – Skills: Concerning skills on the Post-2015 Indicators we do not think that they are limited to Technical and Vocational Education and Higher Education but are also relevant to early childhood, primary and secondary education. Actually, the Special Rapporteur of the Right to Education, Mr Singh, in his report entitled “Assessment of the educational attainment of students and the implementation of the right to education” (A/HRC/26/27) emphasizes this idea. Mr. Singh underlines the importance of skills development as an integral part of basic education and as a cornerstone particularly for developing countries to raise the aspirations of youth. Some Indicators on skills should then be included for primary and secondary education.

Furthermore indicators of Technical and Vocational Education and Higher Education should not only be focused on skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship. They also should take into consideration the humanistic vision of education. As stated by the Special Rapporteur in the report A/67/310: “technical and vocational education and training is an integral part of the right to basic education”. In fact, TVET cannot be constrained to only higher education. Thereby, we would like to see indicators of Technical and Vocational Education and Higher Education in the Post-2015 Education Indicators concerning issues such as access, quality and the attainment rate.


5.4 – Equity: We are happy that the necessity of collecting disaggregated data (separated by gender) in the post 2015 targets on education is reflected in these indicators.


5.6 – Global Citizenship and Sustainability. Regarding the content of Human Rights Education, or so called in this document Global citizenship and sustainability, indicators should be included to better reflect the commitments of the States. HRE 2020[4] for example developed an Indicators Framework to analyse whether and how HRE is implemented in different domains such as: Legislation and policy, Curriculum, Teaching and learning materials, Learner assessment and evaluation program and Teachers training.

We feel that Global Citizenship is a fundamental element of Human Rights Education and we would encourage implementation of both the UN Declaration of Human Rights Education and Training as well as the World Programme for Human Rights Education.

5.7 – School Environment: The need to secure the routes to school and the schools themselves, improve infrastructure and recruit well-qualified female teachers is also of importance in that while governments are facilitating adapted infrastructure development and national educational planning, girls benefit. Because of that we would like to see some indicators concerning these issues.

[1] OHCHR (2012) Indicators on Human Rights New York – Geneva

[2] The Right to Education: Law and Policy Review Guidelines ( )

[3] OHCHR, p.105


2015… ¿y ahora qué?

Development, development y development; desarrollo sostenible, desarrollo de las poblaciones, vías para el desarrollo… Todo un abanico de adjetivos para acompañar al sustantivo clave que permanece invariable.

Hace ya tiempo que uno de los ejes centrales de las políticas y recomendaciones económico-sociales en Naciones Unidas es, precisamente, la agenda para el desarrollo. Desde hace tres años se ha venido construyendo una agenda que ha recibido el nombre de “Post 2015” y que se ha configurado como la hoja de ruta en las venideras políticas ECOSOC de NNUU. Sin embargo, el escepticismo crece por momentos y mucho se preguntan si realmente todo lo planificado va a servir de algo. En efecto, ¿vamos a conseguir implementar alguna cosa teniendo en cuenta esta especie de “crisis del sistema de NNUU” de la que hablan algunos expertos?

La respuesta no es afirmativa ni negativa. Haciendo gala de un marcado galleguismo, la respuesta no puede ser otra que un tibio: depende. La agenda será aplicable (y con éxito), pero siempre y cuando se lleven a cabo una serie de reformas internas. El recién editado Post-2015 UN Development: making change happen? se aproxima por varios flancos a lo que, a juicio de los autores, deberían ser los cambios en NNUU. Recogemos aquí algunos de los puntos y testimonios de diversos de los co-autores de la obra, siempre teniendo presente las palabras que Michael Møller, director general de la oficina de Naciones Unidas en Ginebra, nos trasladó poco antes de las fiestas navideñas: “Naciones Unidas no sólo necesita ser reformada: necesita ser reestructurada”. Lo que buscamos es un cambio profundo en el engranaje y funcionamiento de la organización.

El profesor Thomas G. Weiss, co-editor del libro, pone el acento en la necesidad de aumentar la eficiencia de NNUU. Se requiere un mayor consenso y comunicación entre las “tres UNs” –governanza, funcionariado internacional y el cajón amplio en el que entrarían el resto de trabajadores como los dedicados al media y comunicación. Para ello señala las cinco C’s que, a su entender, se están produciendo en el seno de la ONU: crisis de competitividad, crisis de coherencia (falta de ella), crisis de cooptación, crisis de capacidad y crisis de complacencia. Parece imposible que el sistema de NNUU vuelva a obtener la confianza de la gente y aumente su eficiencia si estas batallas no se ponen como prioridad en su agenda interna.

La antigua directora del Programa para el Desarrollo de NNUU, Cécile Molinier, es mucho más directa y hace una síntesis de lo que para ella han sido los motivos que han llevado al fracaso de las reformas: la inexistencia de una autoridad central (lo que lleva a un poder difuminado o, a efectos prácticos, la ausencia del mismo), la inexistencia de una financiación centralizada, y un crecimiento basado en la proliferación de mandatos, sin visión central. De nuevo, observamos una fragmentación o parcialización del poder que lleva a la incapacidad de la organización para llevar a cabo grandes proyectos desde una visión conjunta. La profesora Molinier apuesta por una recentralización que permita maniobrar con eficiencia.

Desde la vertiente del sector privado, la perspectiva de Richard Golding, ex socio de la consultora PricewaterhouseCoopers, se dirige más hacia la necesidad de transparencia y, sobre todo, responsabilidad (una accountability real, que permita valorar y comparar, ver los costes de oportunidad y calcular los beneficios de las acciones). Quizás, como corolario, parezca adecuado señalar la pregunta que el otro co-editor del libro, Stephen Brown, lanzó a la audiencia en la presentación de la obra en diciembre pasado: “¿Por qué no nombrar un Director General para el Desarrollo, con poder y autoridad reales y efectivos?”.

Los desafío son muchos, pero la voluntad de cambio y mejora están muy extendidos en la mayoría de los que conforman Naciones Unidas, los organismos que la orbitan y las ONGs que la nutren y enriquecen. 2015 ha llegado, ¡qué mejor momento para ponerse a trabajar en ello!

El equipo de OIDEL les desea un feliz año 2015.

Jorge Valero