Making the UN Charter a reality: towards a new approach to development cooperation?


  • Opinion by AH Monjurul Kabir (New York)
  • Inter Press Service

Now, more than ever, we need to bring the values ​​and principles of the UN Charter to life in every corner of the world. The powers conferred on the Charter and its unique international character allow the UN to act on the challenges facing humanity, including:

    • Maintain international peace and security • Protect human rights • Provide humanitarian aid • Promote sustainable development • Uphold international law

Given my personal trajectory in human rights advocacy and development cooperation, I want to focus on sustainable development aspects and consider whether we should change them and adopt a new approach to end extreme poverty, reduce inequalities and achieve sustainable development goals. development (SDGs) from exclusionary practices.

Development or sustainable development must be inclusive: Inclusion at the heart of development cooperation. Inclusive development is the concept that every person, regardless of their identity, plays an important role in transforming their societies.

Development processes that are inclusive deliver better outcomes for the communities that embark upon them. Established to promote the rights and inclusion of marginalized and underrepresented populations in the development process, the UN is leading the UN response to meet the needs and demands of those in adversity and youth.

That is why the UN implements activities that combat stigma and discrimination, promote the empowerment and inclusion of marginalized or underrepresented groups and improve the lives of populations in high-risk situations.

It is important that we apply this also in institutional and management settings: for example, the UN Asia Network for Diversity and Inclusion (UN-ANDI) recently conducted its first survey on racism and racial discrimination in five languages.

The study aimed to capture data that reflect the Asian perspective in the UN system. It plans to release a report on the study’s findings to support and address many critical issues of racism and racial discrimination. There are other networks that address various elements of intersectionality, including but not limited to gender, disability, ethnicity, identity, etc.

Thus, the world and its challenges have become much more intersectional, which calls for a robust and intersectional approach to development cooperation.

Intersectional approach: An intersectionality lens allows us to see how social policies can affect people differently, depending on their particular set of ‘locations’, and what unintended consequences certain policies can have on their individual lives.

By listening to a community’s most marginalized and/or disadvantaged groups, development organizations can help fight oppression at all levels of society and build communities from scratch.

Take the example of people with disabilities. It is not a homogeneous group, and this should be reflected in our policy advocacy and communication by taking into account intersectionality – the intersection of disabilities with other factors, such as gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, refugee, migrant or asylum seeker condition.

For example, a person with a disability also has a gender identity, can come from an indigenous group and be young, old, migrant or living in poverty.

With the UN system, it is time to take an intersectional approach in our development cooperation, policy advocacy, programming, operational support, planning and budgeting. An intersectional approach takes into account the historical, social and political context and recognizes the unique experience of the individual based on the intersection of all relevant grounds.

With this approach, the experience of discrimination based on the concurrence of the grounds involved can be recognized and remedied. Using an intersectionality lens to approach our development practice means going beyond using singular categories to understand people and groups and embracing the idea of ​​inseparable and interconnected sets of social “locations” that evolve over time. change, vary from place to place and work together to shape one’s life experience and actions.

This would be a major contributor to the Leave No One Behind (LNOB) principle of the SDGs. The new approach calls for strengthening existing practices, making them more innovative, effective and efficient.

Innovation: Now more than ever, we need to think about innovative approaches and tools to attract and channel new resources to finance our development ambitions, as set out in the 2030 SDGs.

Reliable and well-governed financial development institutions with a clearly defined mandate and a sound governance framework will continue to be an important means of accelerating inclusive economic and social development.

They can create new channels to attract the private sector. In addition, they can play a catalytic role by generating new knowledge, convening stakeholders and providing technical assistance to build capacity in the private and public sectors. Mutual cooperation between and between the public and private sectors is crucial to unleash the full potential of innovation and innovative approaches.

Let’s not forget the growing impact of new media on both inclusive participation and innovative practices.

New media: New media, including mobile and social media, can help demystify international institutions and encourage participation. The new media is also crucial to increase accessibility for people with disabilities or those living in rural and/or remote, hard-to-reach areas.

In addition, there could be more regular interactions by the leadership of intergovernmental organizations with multi-stakeholders, including civil society, organizations of persons with disabilities and the media, and the creation of accessible databases of statistical and other information and knowledge about their work .

Despite the war in Ukraine, work at the UN continues. The global body can and must continue to play a constructive role in development cooperation, crisis management, peacebuilding and post-conflict stabilisation. It should continue to focus on crises from Afghanistan to Mali and Ukraine itself.

However, it should explore new and innovative and intersectional ways to support inclusive development, climate justice and resilience, peacekeeping and other key global and regional priorities.

Otherwise, the SDGs will not even come close to their desired destination by 2030 or beyond.

dr. AH Monjurul Kabirocurrently Global Policy and UN Systems Coordination Advisor and Team Leader on Gender Equality, Disability Inclusion and Intersectionality at UN Women HQ in New York, is a political scientist and senior policy and legal analyst on global issues and Asia-Pacific trends.

For policy and academic purposes he can be reached at: [email protected] and followed on twitter mkabir2011

This article is taken from a blog based on a speech by the author, in his personal capacity, at an event commemorating the 77th anniversary of the UN hosted by UN-ANDI, a New York-based global network of like-minded Asian staffers from the UN system that strive to promote a more diverse and inclusive culture and mindset within the UN.

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© Inter Press Service (2022) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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