UNDP > Speeches & Statements > in the world
Message of the UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis
on the occasion of Human Rights Day, 10 December 2006
Global economic growth has never been as rapid as in the last five years, and yet the distance between the poorest nations and the richest is widening. Inequalities within nations are also increasing almost everywhere. In too many countries, rising national GDP has failed to ‘lift all boats;’ some prosper, but too many others are left in extreme poverty. It is clear that economic growth alone does not guarantee wider human development
It is within this context that we need to implement the values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and reiterated so compellingly in the internationally agreed Millennium Declaration, to make globalization a more equitable and inclusive process that fortifies human security rather than undermines it. One of the greatest challenges of our time is this need to work together to address the un-equalizing nature of current global growth if we are to reduce poverty, enhance human security and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Poverty and social inequality persist because many people lack their universally-guaranteed human rights and fundamental freedoms. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights emphasized that human rights are inherent to all people regardless of their race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Freedom from poverty is a basic human right and tackling poverty should, therefore, be addressed as a basic human right, not as an act of charity. Real success in tackling poverty requires giving the poor a political voice in the societies where they live. This year’s Human Rights Day theme, “Fighting Poverty: a Matter of Obligation, not Charity”, reaffirms the commitment to this approach.
Our work in development should empower people to articulate their needs, rights and concerns, to demand better social services, and to exercise their universal human rights by holding governments to account. Development strategies must focus on inclusive growth and democracy must work for the poor.
UNDP emphasizes that a human rights-based framework is essential in bringing about more equitable development. The UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel report, Delivering as One, published last month, argues that actions to integrate human rights into all aspects of the UN’s work will help to make our development efforts significantly more effective.
Human rights are not a luxury that exist only after a certain level of development is achieved; instead they are integral to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Almost sixty years have passed since the Universal Declaration and the words and values contained therein remain essential for defining and progressing towards human development for all.
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