Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: 2016 Annual Report
In 2016, the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Global Initiative or GI-ESCR) continued to make strides in linking national and grassroots human rights advocates to international human rights law and mechanisms. Through this work we seek to build capacities for achieving transformative change by applying the human rights framework to challenge inequality, impoverishment, and marginalization.
Guided by our Strategic Plan, our work entailed directing our activities, outputs, and outcomes towards meaningful human rights impact – impact both on the ground aimed at preventing, ending or remedying human rights violations and impact at the level of normative development by working to ensure that human rights norms are informed from the perspectives of marginalized groups and communities and progressively interpreted. In this work, we value relationships and partnerships highly and see them as key to the effectiveness of GI-ESCR’s methodology and a world that increasingly enjoys human rights. We seek to connect local advocates and victims of economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights violations (and their advocates) with these international human rights mechanisms, so that they can directly contribute to shaping standards in the area of ESC rights. Our strategic approach is to facilitate access for partners and work with them to strengthen the human rights standards emerging from these bodies, so that they are informed from a peoples’ perspective, and we strive to increase the capacity of partner organizations to directly utilize these mechanisms through targeted training and facilitation of access to influential actors, experts and decision makers.
As this report highlights, our work in substantive areas such as women’s access to land and other productive resources, enforcing extra-territorial human rights obligations, ensuring that the principle of indivisibility is effectively used to hold those accountable for violating social rights and achieving remedies for those violations, including systemic violations, and addressing the human rights impact of privatization of social goods, was strengthened by our efficacy within the United Nations human rights mechanisms.
We believe that positive change happens when partners working together at different levels of advocacy join in concert to achieve and maximize the impact of wins made at various levels. As an organization, we partner with local advocates to play a key role in creating strategic ‘wins’ in international human rights spaces, which can then strengthen the advocacy of those partners on the ground. To be sustainable, effective and meaningful, however, we believe those wins must be informed by the experiences of those who directly experience violations of ESC rights. As such, our theory of change implies a cycle, or upward spiral of iterative and accumulative change where the local impacts and benefits the global, and the global in turn impacts and benefits the local. In other words advocacy and impact must both ‘roll up’ (that is, when specific, smaller victories accrue into larger, normative, and strategic ESC rights‘wins’) and strategies that ‘roll out’ (that is, when those larger wins actually get implemented and translated into concrete improvementsin people lives). This is how we believe we are changing the world for the better.
We have a wonderful team of people to thank, including our donors, Board and staff in Geneva and Nairobi, who work hard every day to make human rights a reality for all. Together, our advocacy has further advanced international norms and by working closely with local partners to roll out those advances at the domestic level, we can see meaningful progress. Importantly, previous years of work have resulted in groundbreaking normative advancements in many areas which we continue to build upon in our current and future advocacy. We look forward to continuing this vital work to defend and protect economic, social and cultural rights.
The full 2016 Annual Report is available HERE.