C4C: The Rights-Based Approach: What does it take in practice?

"To leave no one behind " is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda. This goal cannot be reached without the promotion and protection of human rights and principles such as equality, transparency, participation and non-discrimination. The "Rights-Based Approach (RBA)" in international cooperation combines sustainable development and human rights and focusses on the achievement of both factors. The RBA features prominently in the new draft European Consensus on Development: it stipulates that "the EU and its Member States will implement a rights-based approach to development cooperation". In light of the growing importance of RBA and considering Sweden’s and Germany’s extensive experience with regards to it, the GIZ Representation Brussels dedicated a Capacity4Change (C4C) event on 3rd May 2017 to this topic. The event was jointly organised with Sida and was supported by the European Commission. The central questions of this C4C-edition were: ‘RBA – What’s new?’, ‘What does it take in practice?’, and especially: ‘Which are the lessons learnt?’

Siegfried Leffler, Director of the GIZ Representation Brussels, and Sarah Rinaldi, Acting Head of Unit DG DEVCO B1 – Human Rights, Gender, Democratic Governance, opened the event, which was then moderated by Mike Falke, Head of Section – Governance and Human Rights at GIZ. Following this, one representative of Sida and GIZ, respectively, gave talks on their experiences from the field.

Experiences from Uganda and the Philippines

Representing GIZ, Peter Hauschnik, head of the COSERAM programme, presented an approach to conflict sensitive resource and asset management in the Philippines, which consciously considers the rights of indigenous peoples in order to avoid conflict and distribute accessing rights in a fair manner. Mr. Hauschnik’s talk illustrated how the programme has been able to successfully implement the principle of free, prior, and informed consent. Maureen Nahwera, Senior Governance Advisor at the Swedish Embassy Kampala, spoke on the issue of integrating the RBA into Sida’s Work in Uganda. She highlighted the importance of empowering women in rural Africa: both families and societies as a whole benefit from this.

Remaining challenges and opportunites to seize

During the subsequent round table, the speakers were joined by DEVCO’s Sarah Rinaldi, GIZ’s Silke Hattendorff, and Sida’s Birgitta Weibahr, all of whom provided valuable insight into their experiences from Brussels, Eschborn and Stockholm. The ensuing debate focused on the remaining challenges, as well as the opportunities with regards to the mainstreaming of the RBA. The panellists emphasised the importance of continuous training measures. This is to raise awareness for the RBA and its benefits not only among the implementing agencies and their partners, but also among the recipients of support programmes.

The high interest of more than 80 event guest, and additional followers via web stream, reflects the relevance attributed to this topic but also highlighted: provided its systematic implementation, the RBA has the potential to improve the efficiency of European and international development cooperation.

You can watch the event online on the Capacity4Change YouTube channel.