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Human Rights-Based Approach to Programming

The integration of human rights into the broad range of the UN's activities is at the heart of the ongoing efforts of the UN Secretary-General for the Reform of the Organization. UN specialized agencies, programs and bodies responding to the call of the Secretary-General have repeatedly manifested their commitment to the mainstreaming of human rights in their work and have agreed in 2003 upon a common understanding concerning the content of a human rights-based approach (HRBA) to programming.

For the UN system, the mainstreaming of human rights implies that:

1. All programmes of development co-operation, policies and technical assistance should further the realisation of human rights as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments.

2. Human rights standards contained in, and principles derived from, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments guide all development cooperation and programming in all sectors and in all phases of the programming process.

3. Development cooperation contributes to the development of the capacities of ‘duty-bearers’ to meet their obligations and/or of ‘rights-holders’ to claim their rights.

(Source: Statement on a Common understanding of a human rights based approach to development cooperation, endorsed by the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) Programme Group)

UNESCO's Strategy on Human Rights sets as a priority for the Organization the integration of a human rights-based approach (HRBA) in all its programs and activities. The basis for the mainstreaming efforts within UNESCO is the building of the capacities of its staff. Through training seminars, the production of training manuals and tools and the sharing of information, it is aimed to increase their awareness and knowledge on human rights and human rights-based programming. UNESCO cooperates closely with other bodies, programmes and specialized agencies of the UN system, drawing inspiration from their experiences.

The Learning Modules outlined below have been prepared by UNESCO in co-operation with the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) to carry out in-house capacity building on human rights for UNESCO staff:

  • Human Rights Training for SHS Headquarters Programme Staff
    A Learning Module for the Staff of the Social and Human Sciences Sector (SHS) of UNESCO
  • Human Rights-Based Approach to UN Common Country Programming Processes
    A Learning Module for the Staff of UNESCO Field Offices

  • Human Rights Training for UNESCO Resource Persons
    A learning module for UNESCO Resource Persons
  • Human Rights-Based Approach to Programming: UNESCO’s Response
    A learning module for UNESCO Directors and Chiefs of Section


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