Practitioners Develop Tools to Integrate Human Rights and the SDGs in their Work

21 September 2020

During one week, 13 practitioners – including staff from NGOs and government representatives – explored the relationship between economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the training course took place both in Geneva and online – with four participants in Geneva and nine online.

‘Despite the fact that most participants were online, we ensured the same level of quality and interaction as if they were all here at our headquarters. The diverse backgrounds of participants – coming from Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Europe – allowed for rich discussions and interactions, notably during the group exercises’ underlines Dr Christophe Golay, Strategic Adviser on ESCR at the Geneva Academy.

View of a laptop

A Busy Programme: Acquiring the Tools to Integrate ESCR and the SDGs in One's Work

The five-day course entailed a busy programme, which allowed participants to acquire the practical tools to include ESCR and the SDGs in their work.

Topics covered through interactive lectures and group exercises included the inclusion of human rights in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the relationship between the SDGs and specific rights like the rights to health, social security, education, water and sanitation, food and housing; gender equality and women empowerment; indicators and disaggregated data; as well as monitoring and accountability.

‘Our objective is that participants, at the end of the course, are familiar with both the human rights and SDGs frameworks and are able to integrate tools for implementing and monitoring ESCR and the SDGs in their work’ explains Dr Golay.

Participants during the training course

Interaction with UN Experts

Participants could also exchange with United Nations (UN) independent experts – Léo Heller, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to water and sanitation, Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, and Meskerem Geset Techane, member of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice – on their respective mandates and work on the SDGs.

‘For me, this training course served as a reminder of the value of integrating human rights and the SDGs in the work of national civil society organizations as they navigate economic, financial and health crisis in Lebanon.

The course provided a range of information on ESCR and the SDGs, and on how they both relate to development. The content of the course was very relevant to the work I do as a behavioural analyst. Additionally, what made the course unique is the presence of a multitude of experts working with the UN and other organizations and the fact that they shared their experience and knowledge surrounding human rights and the challenges faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic’ explains Rewa El Masry, Behavioural Economics Consultant for the NGO Nudge Lebanon.

Upcoming 2020 Training Courses

Three training courses – on the Universal Periodic Review (2–6 November), the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment (23–27 November), and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants (7– 11 December) – are scheduled until the end of the year: applications are still open for the three of them!

They will also take place in Geneva and online, allowing participants who cannot travel to Geneva to follow them and interact with other participants and experts.

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