|Realizing Human Rights for Poor People - Strategies for achieving the international development targets (DFID, 2000, 34 p.)|
6.1 The International Development Targets are drawn from internationally agreed conventions and resolutions and provide an indicator of the extent to which particular social and economic rights have been realised.
6.2 DFID is committed to assessing its own contribution to progress towards the International Development Targets. An important instrument for doing this is DFID's Public Service Agreement which sets out indicators for assessing DFID's performance against key departmental objectives, including the International Development Targets. The linkages between DFID's inputs - our spending and activities - and 'real world' results in terms of progress towards the targets are complex and difficult to quantify. However, the Public Service Agreement provides a basis for linking the performance of DFID programmes with the achievement of our overall objectives and, consequently, with the contribution we are making towards the International Development Targets.
6.3 DFID has prepared strategies to guide its work at country level and in relation to other development institutions. These strategies include indicators for assessing progress of DFID-assisted programmes sectorally, nationally and internationally. Regular review of country strategies and institutional strategies will provide a basis for assessing the extent to which DFID operations successfully incorporate a focus on the rights and empowerment of poor people. Strategy review also encourages lesson learning and improved performance, particularly where such reviews are led by appropriate agencies within developing countries themselves.
6.4 The OHCHR and the Treaty Monitoring Bodies constitute the existing international mechanisms for monitoring human rights (Box 9). Reports to Treaty Monitoring Bodies are often of patchy quality and some states parties fail to submit these regularly. Agreement on specific national level targets and plans of action to promote human rights, as agreed at the Vienna Conference, would provide one means of measuring governments' actions in relation to their obligations to promote human rights instruments and national institutions to monitor and ensure implementation. DFID will explore how it can support the development of such an approach.
6.5 At the national level, further work may be required on methodologies for formulating benchmarks and indicators relevant to countries' and local communities' needs. The translation of international standards into national and local level benchmarks and indicators, through democratic processes, provides a means of measuring progress towards strategic objectives. It also ensures that universal principles have local relevance and enables citizens to make claims on the basis of concrete entitlements. Local level citizens' action, in turn, fuels the political will to turn principles into practice. DFID will support the development of participatory methodologies for negotiating local indicators and service provision standards by which the progressive realisation of particular rights can be measured over time. DFID will continue to support participatory monitoring and evaluation methods which enable poor people to have clear information about their government's policies and programmes.
Increases in the comprehensive ratification of particular conventions provide an indicator of government commitment to the rights of those who have traditionally been discriminated against. The extent to which this commitment is translated into practice and outcomes has also to be measured. The main forum (after the General Assembly) for substantive discussion of progress on human rights in the UN is: the annual meeting of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). The CHR may deal with any matters relating to human rights. It considers and adopts resolutions on a wide range of general rights issues (such as torture, freedom of expression, the rights of the child) and some country-specific situations. It also commissions studies, drafts international instruments setting human rights standards, and reviews recommendations and studies prepared by the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights (its subsidiary body). Where it considers it warranted, the CHR appoints Special Rapporteurs, Special Representatives, Independent Experts or Working Groups to investigate subjects in depth.
6.6 DFID will develop, with interested partners, methodologies for the participatory assessment of rights. Participatory rights assessments will focus on poor people's understanding of what their entitlements should be, their experiences of discrimination as well as the processes, policies and institutions which enable or prevent them from holding their governments to account. DFID will work towards the incorporation of these methods, where appropriate, into Participatory Poverty Assessments and poverty reduction strategies.
6.7 In most developing countries, disaggregated poverty-related data are rarely available on the basis of social, religious or ethnic status, or even sometimes according to where people live. When the data has been collected, governments should seek to make it widely available. The poorest countries may have minimal capacity to collect statistical information. This makes it very difficult for governments and citizens to identify the extent to which people's failure to enjoy their human rights may be associated with processes of social exclusion and structural inequities. In some cases, there is separate information on men and women but, at present, the systematic collection of data from developing countries on the basis of other social differences is not possible. This data gap can be partially filled if national statistical institutions develop and implement targeted or sampled data gathering exercises to indicate the extent to which different categories of people are increasingly enjoying their human rights.