“Bridging the gaps to achieve international development goals by 2015 and beyond”

GENEVA (20 December 2013) – Statement by the United Nations Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity, Virginia Dandan, to mark International Human Solidarity Day, 20 December 2013.

“Our collective future depends on recognizing and harnessing what connects us, and not what divides us. International Human Solidarity Day provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the transformative power of solidarity between fellow humans and between countries, in creating a more equal world.

Many global challenges and mass human rights violations, including global poverty, have persisted because of the pervasive gaps that exist—gaps in communities, between countries, and in international policy frameworks—which allow the world’s most vulnerable people to fall through the cracks.

International solidarity is the bridge across these gaps in understanding, action and accountability. It is an imperative that can propel positive collective action among our communities, governments and international policy-makers, to ensure that the world moves forward together as one.

Today we stand at an important moment of transition as we rapidly approach the 2015 Millennium Development Goals deadline, and as we decide what we want for the next global development agenda that will follow the MDGs. It is indeed inspiring to recognize what has been achieved, but we must also take stock of the gaps that remain and to learn from them.

We know now that the MDGs have not delivered on a global framework conducive to the shared and equitable responsibilities of developed and developing States, that equal partnership matters, and that human rights must inform the processes and outcomes of development.

The post-2015 development agenda is an opportunity to close the gaps that persist, and to create a global development framework based on a genuine global partnership between States with human rights at its heart. International solidarity must be our rallying cry to ensure that our governments come through on their commitments to meet the most basic development needs of our poorest communities.

We urge all stakeholders currently building this agenda to be true to their promises as enshrined in the Millennium Declaration, to hold up solidarity and shared responsibility as the ‘fundamental values… essential to international relations in the twenty-first century’ and to anchor our next global development agenda in international solidarity.

As we move closer to formally recognizing the human right of peoples and individuals to international solidarity, this right will emerge as a powerful tool in addressing the structural causes of poverty, inequality, and other global challenges that affect the full exercise and enjoyment of all human rights.”


Virginia Dandan (Philippines) was appointed Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity in June 2011 by the UN Human Rights Council.
She is currently an independent researcher on human rights in development, focusing on the application of the normative content of economic, social and cultural rights. Ms. Dandan was a member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1990-2010). She was also in charge of the Human Rights Community Development Project in Three Philippine Indigenous Peoples’ Communities (2008-2010). Ms. Dandan is independent from any government or organization and serves in her individual capacity. Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Solidarity/Pages/IESolidarityIndex.aspx

Read the Independent Expert’s reports to the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?m=153

For further information and media requests, please contact Bat-Erdene Ayush (+41 22 928 9423 / abat-erdene@ohchr.org