Sustainable Development Goals
05 Dec 2016

Sustainable Development Goals: What role for the National Human Rights Institutions?

The role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in implementing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals was the focus of a Regional Consultation jointly organised by ENNHRI, UNDP and ANNHRI (Arab Network of NHRIs), on 5 December 2016 in Istanbul.

Speaking in the opening of the event in Istanbul, ENNHRI Secretary General, Debbie Kohner, highlighted the importance of integrating SDGs in ongoing NHRI work, as a means to reinforce and complement the implementation of human rights. She welcomed the opportunity for NHRIs and UNDP to share experiences, practices and challenges and learn from each other.

Many NHRIs in Europe are already working on SDGs at national level. As independent bodies, NHRIs can the monitor implementation of the SDGs through providing a source of accurate data. NHRIs can also make use of their bridging role, by bringing together government and civil society – essential to ensure the success of the SDGs.

Birgitte Feiring, from the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR), underlined that human rights can guide both the monitoring and the implementation of the SDG. DIHR research shows that 92% of SDG indicators cover key human rights obligations and thus NHRIs’ involvement would bring significant efficiencies in reporting.

Birgitte Feiring, from the Danish Institute for Human Rights on using human rights monitoring information for SDG follow-up and review

After a first session dedicated to the role of NHRIs in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, as outlined in the Merida Declaration, participants discussed the requirements of a human-rights-based approach to the implementation and measurement of the 2030 Agenda and identified the needs support, including the development of Regional Action Plans for the support of NHRIs.

The Mérida Declaration, adopted in October 2015 sets out how NHRIs contribute to a human rights-based approach to implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.