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Monitoring economic, social and cultural rights

Graphic: Boy works shining shoes, India

Despite significant economic growth in recent decades, poverty levels in the Asia Pacific remain unacceptably high.

Governments in the region have committed to progressively realise economic, social and cultural rights and to advance the Global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

However, these commitments are yet to become a reality for the 1.7 billion people in the region living on less than two dollars a day. Their lives are continuously threatened by lack of food, risk of disease, hazardous work and precarious living conditions.

National human rights institutions across the Asia Pacific have recognised the need for a human rights-based approach to the Sustainable Development Goals.

For such an approach to be meaningfully implemented, however, governments must be held to account when their development plans or socio-economic policies cause, or fail to address, inequalities and human rights deprivations.

Effective policy monitoring is essential for ensuring accountability. It can highlight when policies cause, continue or worsen inequalities and deprivations.

This video is part of suite of resources where international experts and representatives from NHRIs across the Asia Pacific region discuss their role to monitor and promote the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights for all.

NHRIs can play an important and practical role to help chart a pathway so that economic, social and cultural rights can be a reality for all people in their countries.

Asia Pacific Forum Logo Kieren Fitzpatrick, Director, APF secretariat

The APF partners with the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) to deliver a blended learning course that assists our members in their work to promote and protect the rights of socially and economically vulnerable people.

The course highlights the responsibility on governments to create the conditions in which people can enjoy their economic, social and cultural rights, especially those on the margins of society.

It also equips participants with the knowledge and skills to effectively monitor socio-economic policies and development plans from a human rights perspective.

Through a collaborative learning process, participants build on their existing expertise, share experiences with others, and deepen their understanding of key tools and techniques for policy monitoring.

The course includes four weeks of online learning, followed by a week-long workshop.


The APF and CESR have delivered:

Men unpacking ice off truck, India

Discussions and activities for this blended learning course draw on the APF-CESR manual, Defending Dignity: A Manual for NHRIs on Monitoring Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Image credits

  1. Boy works shining shoes, India - APF/Michael Power
  2. Men unpacking ice off truck, India - APF/Michael Power