Thank you for the letter dated 26 January 2020, in which you invite contributions to the 2020 High Level Political Forum, addressed to me in my capacity as Chair of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR).
As the body monitoring the implementation of the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), we are very keen to see the obligations enshrined in the Covenant contribute to sustainable development.
The Committee has been systematically recommending to States parties to fully take into account their obligations under the Covenant in the process of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We have reiterated the importance of the principles of participation, accountability and non-discrimination in this regard. The Committee has further underlined that social expenditures are a condition of sustainable economic growth, and investment, rather than a burden on the economy. In this regard, it is important to remind States that progressive realisation of rights should not be interpreted as suggesting that realisation of economic, social and cultural rights should follow wealth creation, but rather as a condition for prosperity.
To this end, the Committee has adopted a Statement in March 2019, which we have submitted to the HLPF in 2019, and which we would like to reiterate in 2020 in the context of the call for “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”.
The Statement “The pledge to leave no one behind: the ICESCR and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (E/C/12/2019/1) underlines the central role of the protection and promotion of economic, social and cultural rights in the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and highlights how a rights-based approach may contribute to the pledge. The Statement outlines the rights-based methodology which is applicable to all rights and should guide States parties actions in all policy areas, as well as the monitoring of the progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by the International Community.