Research Provides Critical Insights to Understand the Impact of Interventions by UN Special Procedures

16 January 2023

United Nations (UN) Special Procedures are a unique mechanism of independent expert advice and monitoring in the UN human rights system. Less bound by governmental considerations or institutional constraints, they are today the most outspoken players in the system be it on thematic issues or country situations.

Our new working paper Assessment Tool for Special Procedures' Impact Evaluation – Developing an Initial Framework authored by Dr Jonathan Andrews examines how to further develop methodologies to appraise their impact, and which resources might most effectively be deployed to further their work in promoting and protecting human rights.

‘This working paper – which builds on an initial paper published back in 2021 – is part of our initiative that supports the work of UN Special Procedures. It forms part of our work that supports the functioning of the UN human rights system and contributes to a better appreciation of the effectiveness of UN Special Procedures mandates’ explains Felix Kirchmeier, Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform.

‘We will discuss, throughout 2023, with a number of mandate holders and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights secretariat to see how our findings could be integrated into their monitoring of UN Special Procedures’ impact he adds.

From Impact Assessments to New Metrics and Tools to Measure Impact

Monitoring and impact assessment involves the regular and systematic assessment of performance, which provides an understanding of the progress of a mandate's programme in relation to planned results from activities.

‘This new publication provides many insights into how impact assessment can assist in identifying issues that may require decisions, actions and interventions to either accelerate progress on existing objectives or respond to new challenges for a particular mandate. Furthermore, the research also highlights scope for longer term strategic planning and capacity building to provide metrics and tools for measuring gains made in human rights advocacy through different interventions’ says the author Dr Jonathan Andrew.

The publication also provides further guidance, by way of recommendations, which can assist mandates as they consider future objectives. In the medium to long term, the research determined that UN Special Procedures should consider how their operations will best be able to exploit advances in information and communication technologies capabilities to facilitate reporting and dissemination of their activities.

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