How the Universal Periodic Review process supports Sustainable Development

How the Universal Periodic Review process supports Sustainable Development

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Development Coordination Office (DCO) and the Human Rights Mainstreaming Multi-Donor Trust Fund have published the Repository of UN good practices on how the Universal Periodic Review process supports sustainable development.

UPR is one of the mechanisms within the UN system that assist countries in fulfilling their international obligations and commitments to people, including the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With participation at the highest level of the various branches of the government, recommendations from the UPR have delivered real change including stronger national protection systems, more independent and effective institutions, as well as laws and practices more consistent with international human rights standards.

The purpose of this publication is to collect, in one place, examples of how United Nations Country Teams (UNCTs) have used and engaged with the UPR as an effective tool for action for technical cooperation and to develop programmes to fully integrate the advancement of human rights with efforts to achieve the SDGs. Many of the good practices showcased in the publication show the positive results of partnerships and cooperation with states and other stakeholders. In the example of Bangladesh, UPR recommendations on socio-economic inequalities and poverty contributed to preparing the basis of the Immediate Socio-Economic Response Plan for COVID-19. In Kenya, based on UPR recommendations regarding statelessness, the Government accorded citizenship to stateless persons from the Shona and Makonde communities, and to stateless persons of Rwandan and Asian descent. The publication also presents an analysis of how the UPR can be and has already been used to respond to challenges such as climate change.

There are five key trends in the engagement with the UPR, extracted from over sixty UNCTs and UN entities:

  • UPR recommendations are increasingly being aligned to national plans to achieve the 2030 Agenda.
  • UNCTs and UN entities can use the UPR process as a practical problemsolving tool to address sensitive issues and priority challenges such as climate change and the response to, and recovery from, the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • UNCTs and UN entities across all regions are supporting governments to engage with all stages of the UPR process and integrating the UPR into UN programming and planning.
  • UNCTs and UN entities are adopting a wholeof-society approach towards embedding the UPR process at country level through engaging not only with governments but also national parliaments, CSOs and NHRIs.
  • Across all regions and all stages of the UPR process, the use of tools has supported the work of UNCTs and UN entities.

The good practices highlighted in this publication are drawn out from the following countries: Albania, Armenia, Bangladesh, Colombia, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Ukraine.

The Repository also brings attention to key challenges in relation to the UPR process. They include insufficient national resources, shrinking civic space, lack of political will, lack of awareness and understanding, and lack of cooperation with national authorities as well as lack of capacity of UNCTs.

The primary purpose of the UPR is to make a positive impact in everyday lives through meeting the challenges, opportunities and needs of the 21st century and implementation of the 2030 agenda. The ongoing development and sharing of UPR good practice supports UNCTs and UN entities to play their full part in realising this highest aspiration.

To read the full Repository of UN good practices on how the Universal Periodic Review process supports sustainable development click here.