The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) constitute a major development policy
effort with 2015 as its target year to which 189 countries agreed upon. Apart
from social and economic objectives, the MDGs also put forward environmental
goals. This is necessary because development and environment are intrinsically
linked. This paper seeks to integrate environmental and social perspectives on
sustainable poverty reduction in the context of the MDG‐agenda by exploring
how a rights‐based approach (RBA) can contribute to the achievement of the
MDGs, including both its social and environmental dimensions. The core idea of
a RBA to development is to support individuals or groups whose rights have
been violated, neglected or ignored, and who have a responsibility to act.
Being poor is not solely a matter of shortages and deficiencies, but it is
also a problem of powerlessness; not having rights and access to and control
of natural, social and economic resources. Concurrently, due to the rise of
environmental threats, a distinction needs to be made between human rights and
the right to a healthy environment, which is an essential right within the
human rights framework. While the former have already found its way into hard
law and thus allowing individuals and groups to claim their rights (at least
in countries that ratified human rights covenants); the latter is,
internationally, often perceived as vague and subject to divergent
interpretations. This paper will first present the MDG‐agenda and then the
RBA. Next it will link the RBA to the MDGs and suggest, from a rights‐based
perspective, possible directions for dealing with some of the limitations of
the MDG agenda and its implementation. Lastly it will explore possible ways of
how the RBA can contribute to the long‐term MDG/development agenda, with the
view to effectively integrating social and environmental governance.
300 Sozialwissenschaften::320 Politikwissenschaft
Reinforcing the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals through human
and environmental rights?
Can right based approaches contribute to the integration of social and
environmental concerns in the Millennium Development Goals?
Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften
Otto-Suhr-Institut für Politikwissenschaft / Forschungszentrum für Umweltpolitik (FFU)
Berlin Conference on Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change