Within the United Nations system, the Human Rights Council represents the intergovernmental body responsible for the protection and promotion of all human rights around the globe by addressing situations of human rights violations and making recommendations on them, including responding to human rights emergencies. Composed by 47 states, it is now chaired by the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier De Schutter (Belgium), who was appointed as such by the Human Rights Council at its 43rd session, in March 2020.
The Special Rapporteur will focus his report to the 56th session of the Human Rights Council on the role of economic growth, understood as an increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), in the fight against poverty. The report intends to explore “post-growth” approaches to poverty eradication that move beyond GDP, and will consider whether and how development pathways guided by human rights can support the search for such alternative approaches.
For this reason, the Special Rapporteur invited all interested governments, civil society organizations, academics, international organizations, activists, corporations and others, to provide written input for his thematic report on one or more of the following issues: government’s measures of social progress complementing GDP, measures to ensure that growth primarily benefits the bottom 40 per cent of the population, obstacles for alternative development pathways, and how to overcome path dependencies.
The ToBe research, focused on a new economy for sustainable well-being, considering integrated policies and transformative indicators as key aspects, replied to the call for inputs by submitting a thematic report. Four partners of the consortium, namely Javier Cuestas-Caza (Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Ecuador), Milena Büchs (University of Leeds, UK), Tuuli Hirvilammi and Liisa Häikiö (Tampere University, Finland), drafted a very interesting and comprehensive contribution to “Eradicating poverty in a post-growth context: preparing for the next Development Goals“.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) present economic growth as essential to fulfilling the promise of the 2030 Development Agenda. As an example, under SDG 8 – Decent work and Economic Growth, target 8.1. directs national efforts to “sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7 per cent gross domestic product growth per annum in the least developed countries”. However, the SDGs themselves are nuanced about the contribution of economic growth to the 2030 Development Agenda.
Which are then the alternatives to be considered? Which contribution can be made? Read ToBe’s Thematic report to the UN Human Rights Council “Eradicating poverty in a post-growth context: preparing for the next Development Goals”.