Sustainable Recovery: Delivering on both Human Rights and the 2030 Agenda in the UNECE Region


Wednesday, 10 March 2021 – 12.15-13.45 CET (CET)

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating effect on vulnerable groups and societies and on a range of fundamental rights in the UNECE region. Older people, people with disabilities, Roma and Travellers, homeless people, and migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are just some of those who bear the brunt of the epidemic in the region. The reasons for existing and newly formed vulnerabilities are not all new. Many of the root causes are entrenched in systems, policies, structures and attitudes that allow inequalities and discrimination to persist.

The pandemic has exposed these systemic patterns of neglect, revealing gaps in states’ fulfilment of their existing human rights obligations and deep-rooted challenges in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Depending on how states address this crisis, inequalities could become even more pronounced, undermining the transformational promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development “to leave no-one behind”.

Recognized as indicator of peaceful, just and inclusive societies under Goal 16, NHRIs can be crucial actors in this context and are ideally placed to provide a human rights- based approach to the implementation and follow-up of the SDGs. With their local insight and human rights expertise they are well placed to advise states on development of recovery plans and to further deliver on promise to leave no one behind, in line with their international human rights obligations.

By engaging with people and local communities to collect detailed information about right-holders’ situation, as a part of their investigation and complaints handling function, NHRIs make recommendations to state authorities and consult statistical offices, underlining the different situations of different groups and advising on measures and policies to be taken in line with international frameworks and SDGs.

Based on this background, the side event aims to concretise how sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic can deliver on both human rights and the 2030 Agenda in the UNECE Region.

12:15 – 12:30 Check-in.
Welcome by Birgitte Feiring, Department Director, Danish Institute for Human Rights

Opening remarks from Ambassador Morten Jespersen, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations in Geneva

Opening remarks from Ms. Birgit Van Hout, Regional Representative, United Nations Human Rights Regional Office for Europe.

12:30 – 12:50 Segment one:  How can human rights and human rights mechanisms guide sustainable recovery in the UNECE region?
Olivier de Schutter, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights

Massimo Toschi, International Relations Officer, SDGs Coordinator, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

Carol Rask, Strategic Advisor, Danish Institute for Human Rights.

12:50 – 13:10 Questions and Answers
13:10- 13:30 Segment two: How do we ensure no one is left behind in recovery plans in the UNECE region? 
Dragan Gračanin, Executive Director of the Association of Roma Coordinators, Serbia

Erinda Ballanca, People’s Advocate of Albania, European Network of National Human Rights Institutions

Olesia Kompaniiets, GBV Programme Manager, United Nations Population Fund Country Office Ukraine

13:30 – 13:40 Questions and Answers
13:40 – 13:45 Wrap-up and Closing Remarks
Final remarks from Ambassador Rui Macieira, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Portugal to the United Nations Office and Other International Organisations in Geneva.