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Human Rights and Public Sector Development

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Human Rights and Public Sector Development

Published: November 28, 2008

There is a growing consensus that development cooperation activities should promote human rights, and that human rights can promote development. Many donor agencies, including Canada, have adopted human rights policies that guide their development cooperation activities. While there have been several decades of experience by international development agencies with both private sector development (PSD) as a tool
for poverty reduction, and with human rights based approaches to poverty reduction, the links between the two in the form of rights based approaches to PSD remain relatively undeveloped.

The study draws on both a literature review and interviews with selected OECD donor agencies (DFID, SIDA, NORAD), the ILO; financial institutions (World Bank, IFC,EDC), and civil society organizations (CARE Canada, Oxfam Great Britain, Rights and Democracy), and finds approaches to both promoting human rights and PSD in developing countries an evolving field. The paper concludes with observations on human rights implications for donors in the areas of monitoring and accountability; opportunities and constraints in approaches that draw from “hard law” and “soft law”, and policy coherence. It offers some suggestions for capacity-building on human rights for donor agencies.

Author: Heather Gibb, John Foster, Ann Weston

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