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Program Highlights

Geneva, Switzerland: June 1-2, 2010

The meeting was organized by the United Nations Independent Expert on the question of Human Rights and Extreme Poverty and the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) at Rutgers University. The meeting examined the gender dimensions of social protection and how they relate to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). The meeting will feed into the Independent Expert’s work on the right to social security and the role social protection systems play in eliminating extreme and chronic poverty. The meeting focused on developing a clear gendered analysis of social protection systems and their relationship with human rights obligations and social policy in general. In the coming months the Independent Expert will be collecting and analyzing the impact social protection schemes have had on achieving the MDGs with a view to encouraging States and other stakeholders to incorporate social protection into their MDG and poverty reduction strategies. In her report she will include a particular focus on gender issues.

Resources

New Brunswick, New Jersey: July 16-18, 2010

The Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL) hosted the US Human Rights Network Summer Institute in mid July 2010 for advanced practitioners in social justice organizing. The training provided advocates and organizers with practical analytical tools to aid with demand development, campaign messaging, strategy development and policy recommendations on macroeconomic policies and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR). The 2010 Summer Institute explored critical issues pertaining to the application and exercise of ESCR in the United States. The institute examined four areas in particular: macroeconomic policy and ESCR; the impact of "biased" policies and neo-liberal globalization on oppressed (i.e. Indigenous, Black, Latino, Asian, immigrant, etc.) communities; participatory practices and the realization of ESCR; and methods and evaluative tools for monitoring ESCR violations.

Resources

United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland: November 5, 2010

Over the last ten months CWGL has been involved in civil society advocacy for the United States first United Nations Universal Periodic Review which includes the development of a cluster report on integrating human rights into macroeconomic policy in the US. On November 5, 2010 the UN and Member States reviewed the status of human rights in the US. Over 200 recommendations were received from over 80 Member States inscribed to speak. Topics ranged from treaty body ratification of CEDAW, CRC, CRPD, CMW, and ICESCR to the abolishment of the death penalty to the elimination of extraterritorial torture. Furthermore, new precedence was set for state responsibility in participating in the UPR. The US administration sent over 30 representatives from the housing, labor, education, and health offices although CWGL noted the absence of a macroeconomics policy expert. After the review, CWGL along with CESR, ESCR-Net, PERI, Urban Justice Center, and USHRN organized a side event entitled, “Building Foundations for Freedom from Want in the Land of Plenty.” Speakers focused on economic and social rights violations in the US including progressive realization of rights, the distribution of resources, amounts of resources used on social expenditure, the implications of unemployment in communities of women and people of color, and moving forward to March 2010. Finally, CWGL participated in a US sponsored Town Hall event. The Center and partners will continue to monitor the US’s UPR process through March 2011 and beyond.

Resources

New Brunswick, New Jersey: December 13-14, 2010

CWGL convened this meeting to analyze and unpack the human rights concept of maximum available resources (MAR), which was introduced in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The ICESCR specifies in Article 2.1 that “Each state party to the present Covenant undertakes steps, individually and through international assistance and co-operation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Covenant by all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures.” The Center invited activists, academics, and economists to grapple with the idea of MAR and problematize the underdeveloped utilization of MAR by governments. Participants considered how fiscal and monetary policy contribute to making available and using maximum resources and also how can fiscal and monetary policy instruments be used in a way that are in compliance with other human rights obligations such as non discrimination, transparency and accountability. This meeting was organized around five themes: revenue, public expenditure, international assistance, deficits and debt, and central bank policy. Group strategies emerged on each of these topics and advocacy ideas were developed.  In the coming weeks, CWGL will produce and share a report and factsheet about the meeting.  Photos can be found on flickr.

Lisbon, Portugal: March 31-April 1, 2011

The meeting was coordinated in conjunction with Ms. Catarina de Albuquerque, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation. The gathering focused on three specific and interrelated issues:  to understand how macroeconomic policy can effectively comply with human rights obligations with regards to the rights to water and sanitation; to address the connections between the theory and practice of human rights and that of revenue raising and public expenditure management in the field of water and sanitation; and to engender the mandate of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation. The meeting was designed to contribute new analysis and perspectives to inform Ms. de Albuquerque’s upcoming reports in 2011.  The reports focus on the following areas: the first one to the Human Rights Council on national planning to implement the rights to water and sanitation; the second is the report to the UN General Assembly on the principal challenges in the realization of the rights to water and sanitation focusing on financial resources and their allocation, as one of the major (perceived) challenges. In addition, the discussions at the meeting will feed into the production of a report for those working on economic and social rights that will shed light on some of the difficult issues that need to be grappled with when discussing how far a government is complying with its obligation to realize the human rights to water and sanitation.

A brief synopsis of the meeting is available here.

For photos, click here.

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