Commission on Human Rights
25 May 2002
The Commission on Human Rights carried on this morning with its annual debate on the right to development, hearing continued appeals from national delegations for increases in official development assistance (ODA), greater relief of foreign-debt burdens, and effective steps to ensure that the global trade and financial systems took the needs and fragilities of developing countries into account.
A representative of Bangladesh, speaking on behalf of the Group of Least-Developed Countries (LDCs), said there was a strong link between what such nations were trying to achieve in terms of economic advancement and what the external environment beyond their borders imposed upon them -- and that recent trends were discouraging. The market share of LDCs in global trade had decreased from 2 per cent at the end of the 1960 to 0.8 per cent at the end of the 1970s to only about 0.4 per cent in 2000, the representative said -- it was clear that the world was proceeding at a much faster rate than LDCs could cope with, and if this drift towards marginalization was not reversed, much talk about human rights would be meaningless.
A representative of Ethiopia said democracy, good governance, and the full enjoyment of human rights were prerequisites for development progress, and that while extensive international help was needed, developing countries also had to accept that their destinies primarily were and always would be in their own hands.
As during earlier debate on the topic, speakers this morning commented on the efforts of the Commission's Working Group on the right to development and on the ideas of the Commission's Independent Expert on the topic. Speakers placed differing assessments on the importance of national efforts to ensure the right to development vis-a-vis international help, and there were also varying views on the need for an additional convention or mechanism on the right to development.
Representatives of Bahrain, Zambia, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Viet Nam, Guatemala, Canada, Thailand, Madagascar, Iraq, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Iran, Tunisia, the World Bank, Egypt, Bangladesh, Qatar, Oman, Mauritania, Latvia, Ethiopia, Yemen, the Holy See, the Organization of African Unity, the Netherlands, Australia, and Colombia spoke.
The non-governmental organization (NGO) International Federation of University Women also delivered a joint statement on behalf of 14 other NGOs.
The Commission will reconvene at 3 p.m. when it will listen to NGOs scheduled to speak on the right to development.
ALI AL ARADI (Bahrain) said the right to development was a integral part in the achievement of all human rights. In order to respect all the rights as stipulated in human rights treaties, and to increase the welfare of the individual, the right to development could not be ignored. Social work was a means and an end in itself. One could not underestimate the importance of the participation and contribution of the individual, particularly through institutions in the public and private sectors. The principles leading to social development were recognized by Bahrain, and the Government had therefore placed great emphasis on development for all. The progress which had been achieved was visible through the spread of democracy and the respect for human rights throughout the country. The family was the basis of society and the Government had emphasized the importance of the family and the rights of the child, youth, and disabled and senior citizens. The State also provided low income housing, access to health care and exempted low income families from taxes.
The policy of Bahrain was aimed at consolidating respect for all human rights through the appropriate institutional and legal avenues. This was also based on evaluating the various forms of social arrangements, improvement of welfare and the participation of civil society. This was reflected in the high levels of access to health, which reflected Bahrain's progress in development. The right to development had many factors and variables and in order to achieve this right, all different facets needed to be addressed and resources needed to be allocated to them.
B. M. BOWA (Zambia) stressed that the right to development was a right that could not be denied. It was not possible to enjoy other rights, such as the right to food and an adequate standard of living, health and education, without the attainment of development first. In view of its importance therefore, what needed to be agreed upon was how to attain it. There was a need to identify and analyse obstacles impeding the full realization of the right to development both at the national and international levels; and there was a need to create an enabling international environment in order for the right to development to be realized.
The need for developing countries to take part in the decision-making process came from a long history of failed development models and strategies imposed upon poor countries, often accompanied by extraneous conditionalities in order for them to access loans and development assistance. What was needed in today's environment was to make developing countries full partners and to allow them to make informed decisions on the best approaches to develop their economies. Zambia welcomed the new partnership for the development of Africa as a development framework and one of the practical examples which could be employed for the promotion of a rights-based approach to development.
M. BENCHERIF (Algeria) said despite complex negotiations, the Working Group on the right to development had been able to adopt its conclusions. There had been a spirit of compromise, and the consensus reflected that the right of development must become a right. Achieving the right to development required international solidarity on financial and commercial issues. The Working Group had agreed on the need for cooperation and the need to reduce the negative effects of globalization. Some of the recent international conferences had reflected that action in human rights was needed with a view to achieve all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. The right to development required a change of paradigm in the international community. In this context the new partnership for Africa's development (NEPAD) was welcome. This new view had been dictated by a number of inadequate efforts in the past, which had failed to take into account the needs and capabilities of African States themselves.
ABDULWAHAB ATTAR (Saudi Arabia) said his country believed that full effect should be given to the right to development as the best way to further the realization of all rights. To that end, there was a need for good will, especially in the Working Group on the right of development. It should be possible to take rapid practical steps for the benefit of the developing and least developed countries, as least in the short term, the most significant of such steps being the waiver of debts which still constituted a heavy burden on the economies of those countries. Unconditional support should be given to the developing and least developed countries, which, although suffering from financial and social problems, were unquestionably rich in cultural values and principles. It was regrettable that some parties treated Third World issues as possible options, disregarding the fact that the international community had a collective moral responsibility to address them.
Saudi Arabia had always been proud to be an effective partner in the various activities undertaken by the United Nations and, in spite of being itself a developing country, had unhesitatingly contributed to development activities in the developing and least developed countries.
MOHAMED YOUSEF ABDALLA (Sudan) said that national governments had a duty to create political, economic and social environments conducive to the realization of the important right to development. Equally, the external environment must interact and cooperate in the promotion of this right. The experience of the last decade had clearly indicated that no significant change had taken place in favour of the poor despite the relentless efforts made by the developing countries to create a domestic environment conducive to the right to development. Good governance, accountability and adoption of market oriented policies were the focus of the day, but the benefits were yet to be felt. The bitter fact was simply attributed to the huge gap in resources facing the underdeveloped economies. The poor could not develop significantly due to the lack of necessary capital required to initiate growth. The Independent Expert on the right to development was called upon to further elaborate on both the conceptual framework and the process of realization of the development compact to overcome this dilemma. The current economic relations would not guarantee sustainability of growth. Sudan believed that the external environment remained the most important and most crucial factor.
There was an urgent need for the Commission to make a critical analysis of the impact of trade liberalization, in view of the deep problems that the Uruguay Round had caused poor countries. The issues of market access, transfer of appropriate technology, and debt relief must be given due attention. Failure to address the right to development would fuel the protests of marginalised groups and no doubt threaten world-wide peace and security.
DUONG CHI DUNG (Viet Nam) said that the realization of the right to development in developing countries had been negatively affected as a result of innumerable difficulties such as the external debt burden, lack of adequate resources, deteriorating terms of trade, insufficient infrastructures, environment degradation, poverty and population pressure. While national efforts were primary in that process, such efforts needed to be supported by a stable and conducive international environment. Converted support at international level was essential for the implementation of the right to development. In that regard, basic principles such as equality, equity and non-discrimination, participation and international cooperation, among others, were of crucial importance for the realization of the right to development. International solidarity and cooperation focusing on the improvement of the relevant international institutions and regimes in the fields of trade, intellectual property, and environment were required to render effective assistance to developing and least developed countries.
ANTONIO ARENALES FORNO (Guatemala) said the right to development was a collective human right. There was governmental responsibility for its achievement, including cooperation between States. There must be a convention on the right to development as a guideline between States. Technical and financial assistance must not be considered as an act of solidarity but must be viewed as an international obligation. The creation of an enabling environment was also an obligation. The realization of these obligations would not give the expected results unless the enabling environment was created in the receiving country, such as the respect for civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
At the national and international levels, these obligations must be carried out jointly. In the sessions of the Working Group on the right to development, examples of international and national efforts to implement the right to development had been discussed. However in order to determine the scope of such obligations, a legal instrument on the right to development was required. A binding legal framework would strengthen the work for the achievement of the right to development.
SUSAN GREGSON (Canada) said the discussions in the Working Group on the right to development were very productive this year, covering a vast range of issues, including a consideration of concrete actions at the national and international levels. This discussion was essential to the common endeavour of the promotion and implementation of the right to development. Canada believed that the Doha development agenda adopted by World Trade Organization (WTO) members in November 2001 would contribute to economic growth and the reduction of poverty in developing countries and must have been welcomed by the Working Group. The declaration had made substantial commitments to deliver substantially enhanced trade-related technical assistance and capacity building for developing countries - in order to ensure that every WTO Member could maximize the benefits of the global trading system. Developments at the WTO since Doha, for example the recent successful pledging conference for the Global Trust Fund for technical assistance and capacity building, showed that Members were committed to following up the commitments.
Given the clear contribution of the world trading system to development, Canada did not believe that the existing system, or particular aspects of it, impacted adversely on the realization of the right to development for all. Canada looked forward to continued cooperation and collaboration on this subject, especially on the draft resolution on the subject that would be considered in several weeks time.
LAXARACHANTORN LAOHAPHAN (Thailand) said her country attached great importance to fulfilling all human rights principles as embodied in the 1986 Declaration on the Right to Development, and in the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. Thailand subscribed to the emphasis those two landmark documents placed upon treating the right to development as a legitimate, inalienable, indivisible and universal human rights; and upon the need for nation-states and the international community to fully cooperate and create a conducive environment for the effective promotion and protection of the right to development and all human rights. The Government of Thailand also placed priority on the full realization of the right to education, health, food security and poverty reduction. More than two million small-scale Thai farmers would also benefit from the Government's debt suspension scheme, and every Thai citizen had now been increasingly enjoying the benefits of the Government's nationwide health insurance scheme.
MAXIME ZAFERA (Madagascar) said it was universally admitted that the right to development was a human right, including the right to housing, and medical care. The human being must be both an active participant and a beneficiary of the right to development. It was an integral part of the fundamental rights of the human being. The efforts of both national and international actors needed to be strengthened. The eradication of poverty would significantly affect the right to development. A heavy responsibility in this quest was incumbent on States. Some States, however, could never achieve the right to development without further solidarity from the international community. Cooperation needed to be strengthened based on solidarity, dignity and shared responsibility. The new effort for Africa was important in this regard, and within this partnership much space had been given to good governance and the participation of women.
SAMIR K.K. AL-NIMA (Iraq) said that the current international efforts were still far from the aspirations of the peoples of the developing countries, despite the fact that sixteen years had elapsed since the Declaration on the Right to Development was established. Putting the right to development in action doubtlessly necessitated the existence of a national will, effective development policies as well as international cooperation that put at the head of its concerns the elimination of poverty, hunger and lethal diseases. Between 1970 and 1990, Iraq had realized pioneering development achievements through directing the revenues of its national resources. The progress achieved had led to the eradication of illiteracy, elimination of underemployment and recession of the problem of poverty to a very low level.
Nevertheless, a large number of those achievements had been destroyed or gravely damaged as a result of the economic embargo and the American-British air aggression that had ceaselessly been launched against Iraq for more than ten years now. That had claimed the lives of 1.6 million Iraqis; and it had resulted in a serious deterioration in the economic, social, educational and health conditions, in addition to the prevalence of unemployment, poverty and diseases. The aggressors were resolved to continue their aggression to destroy the remaining manifestation of progress and advancement that had been accomplished and depriving Iraqi people of the enjoyment of the right to development.
ODILE SORGHO-MOULINIER, of the United Nations Development Programme, said UNDP's action and its strategy was based on the right to development being an inalienable right. The implementation of this right was possible, and all people of the world must participate in and be the beneficiaries of the right to development. Since 1998 UNDP had tirelessly worked to include human rights into its work on sustainable development. Particular focus had been put on vulnerable groups, good governance, transparency, the importance of law, and access to information.
UNDP had been working actively to increase its cooperation for the implementation of human rights and sustainable development. It also intended to establish a closer relationship with monitoring bodies and would be preparing an annual report on its activities within human rights and sustainable development. UNDP had committed itself in 1998 to integrate human rights in its work since human rights played an integral part in sustainable development, and it continued to work towards the full respect for all human rights.
MOHAMMAD REZA ALBORZI (Iran) said that one of the reasons for the lack of progress on implementing the right to development lay in the fact that this right had often been treated differently from civil and political rights, thus receiving lesser attention and inadequate support. Unless the right to development was treated genuinely as an integral part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, the chances for its full realization were slim. Real and sustainable development could be achieved through the active participation of all countries in the process of decision-making and distribution of opportunities. To that end, the right of accession of every country to international, financial and monetary organizations should be facilitated, free from any political consideration. In addition, at present, a handful of developed countries were deciding on crucial macro-economic and monetary policies, which had a far reaching impact on the world economy, in particular on developing countries. The international economic environment could not be responsive to the needs of the world's majority if the developing countries were to be sidelined in macro-economic policy coordination.
SAMIR KOUBBA (Tunisia) said development was an integral and equal right in human rights, without any selectivity. The right to development had been given high priority in Tunisia. Reform programmes had been established within the trade liberalization policy and within the economy at large. The social welfare system had also been reformed and reached 80 per cent of the population. However, more focus was needed in the fields of infrastructure, technological transfers and external trade. It was important to open national economies. However, there were several obstacles to the enjoyment of the widespread benefits of globalization. These obstacles included technical and trade barriers, and the restriction in the movement of people. It was stressed that if the right to development was to become a reality, one must find a solution to the debt problem and there had to be agreement on channelling the debts of medium indebted countries. The role of the United Nations must be supported in this field. It had been stated in the Millennium Summit that development was a priority for the eradication of poverty and the respect for human rights. The efforts of the international community as a whole needed to be strengthened and focused.
ALFREDO SFEIR-YOUNIS, of the World Bank, said that major progress was made in the last session of the Working Group on the right to development. The final statement of the Group showed considerable progress made in comparison to the previous year, in particular on the critical role played by the external environment and international policies facing developing countries. The conclusions adopted should be taken extremely seriously into account in all contexts of public policy-making. The road ahead was not easy but the debate and conclusions would provide a strong platform for future actions. The Bank was fully aware of the relationship between economic development and the materialization of the right to development. No matter what situation was described -- of a poor or a rich country -- proper macroeconomic management was essential. But it should be a form of management that should have a human face. That was why one fully agreed with the Commission's emphasis on eliminating absolute poverty, as those living under those conditions saw most of their human rights violated.
HUSSAIN DARRAR (Egypt) said the results of the session of the Working Group on the right to development were serious and in depth. The debate had represented the beginning of a genuine dialogue on measures to be taken on a national level to achieve the right to development and to hinder the negative effects of globalization. The international community must be concerned about the right to development, and the Working Group had been made a significant contribution to this debate. It was hoped that the consensus of the Millennium Summit and the Vienna Conference would be put into action. The new partnership for Africa was a move in the right direction, and it was hoped that the partnership could be used as a model for the integration of human rights in development and vice versa.
There was a need for governments to implement and respect the commitment made on the right to development. At the national level, this right needed to be implemented in national programmes and through national initiatives. However, nothing would be achieved without international cooperation. The world today was globalizing and must take into consideration both human rights and the right to development. It was important to be unambiguous in this area so that the realization of the right to development could become a reality.
TOUFIK ALI (Bangladesh) speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), said it was through adequate recognition to the right to development that the international community could demonstrate its commitment to helping the LDCs. The Working Group's conclusions were short of the expectations of LDCs, but they were willing and prepared to use these agreed conclusions as a basis for further elaboration and specificity to the right to development, particularly as they applied to LDCs. It was no secret that in the globalized world of today, the actions a country took might have consequences far beyond its borders. Clearly, there was a link, and a very strong one at that, for LDCs, between what they were trying to achieve and what the external environment beyond their borders imposed upon them. It was in this nexus, between national efforts and international cooperation, that the right to development assumed a critical significance and required international cooperation.
Trade was commonly acknowledged as the preferred engine of growth, yet the market share of LDCs had decreased from two per cent of world trade at the end of the 1960 to 0.8 per cent at the end of the 1970s and only about 0.4 per cent in 2000. It was clear that the world was proceeding at a much faster rate than the LDCs. If this trend of marginalization was not halted, and indeed reversed, much of the talk of human rights would be meaningless. It was stressed that more focus was needed on financing for development, development assistance, foreign debts, information and technology transfers, environment, diseases and pandemics and the development of human resources.
MOHAMED ALI AL-MALKI (Qatar) said peace and stability were essential for the dignified implementation of the right to development. All people wished to promote peace and security at the national and international level as prerequisites to the right to development. In order to consolidate the right to development through cooperation, the Third World countries were striving to cope with the unfair and inhumane conditions they were encountering. The concept of the right to development should not be manipulated to the detriment of the developing countries. International cooperation should play a vital role in the promotion of the macro-economic management of developing countries.
IDRIS AL-KHANJARI (Oman) said the Commission had exhibited a serious effort in the implementation of the right to development. The Vienna Programme of Action was in full harmony with the right to development. The General Assembly had also expressed its faith in the right to development which would emancipate more than two-thirds of the population of the planet. There was unfortunately still a growing discrepancy between the rich and the poor, something the process of globalization would probably worsen. There was a pressing need to find a constructive framework for development so that developing countries could be assisted. A qualitative change was needed, requiring new mechanisms for loans and new processes to deal with debts. The efforts made nationally in Oman included the right of citizens to participate in the fruit of development. Planning had been undertaken as an indispensable means for continuity in the implementation of the right to development. A 20-20 programme existed to prepare the country for the legal, institutional and political framework and consequences of the right to development. The State also had the responsibility to provide social welfare, including access to health care.
MOHAMED YAHYA OULD SIDI HAIBA (Mauritania) said that the right to development was an important subject; it was a right constituting a common denominator and a vector for all the other human rights, without which there would be no durable and profound implementation of human rights. The implementation and enjoyment of the right to development constituted a fulfilment of all the other human rights. The world still remained a victim of poverty, often extreme, particularly in the developing countries. The gap between rich and poor countries had continued to become bigger. A series of difficulties and constraints continued to be encountered by the developing countries. The limited access to the world market, the debt burden, insufficient transfer of technologies, and weak capacities, among other things, clearly indicated the state of unpreparedness of the Third World in the face of globalization.
RAIMONDS JANSONS (Latvia) said the right to development had been confirmed a human right in the Vienna Declaration. International agreement was still needed on the components of this right. As the Independent Expert on the right to development had said, a variation of thinking on development gave added understanding to this right. More information was needed as to economic strategies, the fight against corruption and the GDP component. The concept of the right of development could not be considered without a focus on globalization and the consequences thereof. The Commission had a duty to continue the work of the Working Group on the right to development.
The human being was central in development, but the State had the ultimate responsibility to create an environment that would allow meaningful development. For Latvia, the development process first of all meant economic development. Latvia had for 50 years of Soviet occupation experienced that economic growth and development was not possible if the rule of law, stable macroeconomic environment, respect for human rights and market-oriented policies did not exist.
SELESHI MENGESHA (Ethiopia) said approaches to development must be well-integrated; democracy, good governance, and the full enjoyment of human rights were all prerequisites. It was equally important to ensure the participation of developing countries in decision making on major international economic issues and to ensure that inequities in the international trade system - overwhelming foreign debt burdens, protectionism, deteriorating terms of trade and declining aid flows - were addressed. The international community must come up with a multi-pronged debt strategy to resolve the external debt problem, which constituted a major impediment to development efforts of many countries. Meanwhile, such countries must be cognisant that their destiny was and always would be in their own hands.
The New Partnership for Africa's Development was a promising undertaking but could not achieve its purpose without the assistance of development partners at the international level and sustained efforts from Africans themselves. Ethiopia had a core development strategy that revolved around agricultural development-led industrialization.
KHALED EL-MAKHEDI (Yemen) said that his country had shown positive results following its economic reforms, which had improved the living conditions of its people. The people used to suffer from malnutrition. The situation had now been reduced through the measures introduced through the economic reforms. However, Yemen still suffered from slow development, particularly in the remote and rural areas of the country. The gap between the rural and urban areas had been important. Thanks to the donor countries, the situation had also been improving through the implementation of sustainable development initiated by the Government in cooperation with those countries. Extreme poverty was threatening the peace and stability of the whole world.
DIARMUID MARTIN (the Holy See) said human beings were the centre of concern for sustainable development. The social and economic evolution which had been witnessed in the past ten years, with the move towards a knowledge-based, globalized economy, had proved just how correct that affirmation of principle was. It was human persons who were the focal point of a knowledge-based economy. The sad fact, however, was that many people, perhaps the majority today, did not have the means which would enable them to take their place in an effective and humanly dignified way within a productive system which would enable them to express their creativity and develop their potential.
Poverty today must be defined not simply in terms of a lack of economic income, but more in terms of an inability to realise fully that God-given human potential, with which each person, man or woman, was endowed. Fighting poverty, which had now been recognized as an essential overarching dimension of all developmental policy, must therefore be about enabling people to realise their God-given potential. It was about enhancing human potential. It was a paradox to have to speak in the same breath of globalization and marginalization. Global must mean inclusive. A global economic system that left large sectors of society on its margins was not what it claimed to be - global.
LAMINE LAABAS, of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) said the Working Group on the right to development had made considerable progress by identifying the conditions and means for realizing development rights without political or ideological distortions. Development was crucial for Africa; because of colonialism, it had been plunged into a lengthy period of darkness, its natural resources plundered and its population exploited in numerous ways, including through the brutal institution of slavery. After centuries, the continent was still recovering. Of the 49 least-developed countries, 39 were in Africa.
Africa, despite its limited resources, was struggling to do its utmost to develop, and had fashioned the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) to overcome its past problems. NEPAD was an approach based on solidarity, responsibility, democracy and good governance. However, mutually beneficial relations with countries throughout the world were crucial for NEPAD to succeed; it was not, in the end, an African initiative but a global one.
HENK COR VAN DER KWAST (the Netherlands) said that the implementation of the right to development was the responsibility of States, regional organizations and international organizations. The United Nations had a particular role to play. The international community had a shared responsibility to remove obstacles that stood in the way of the Millennium Development Goals. That could only be effective if it was approached by the determination of States to work together for the implementation of the right to development. Attempts to use the right to development as a new political vehicle to highlight the differences between North and South were counterproductive. For donor countries, the prime responsibility was the realization of the commitment to contribute 0.7 per cent of GNP to Official Development Assistance. Unfortunately, many countries still had not done so. The Netherlands would continue to press for compliance with that commitment.
JENIFER MEEHAN (Australia) said each country had the primary responsibility for its own development, and for the promotion and protection of human rights, including the right to development. Australia believed that national actions, particularly commitment to good governance, in fact provided the most practical and effective framework for States to meet their obligations to their citizens concerning the right to development. In this regard, the Working Group on the right to development had recommended that an appraisal or survey be done by the Independent Expert of country specific studies, perhaps including some in the context of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) framework. Australia supported this and believed that such a survey would better inform the Working Group and through it the Commission of the wealth of national and regional practices and approaches relevant to and supportive of the implementation of the right to development.
The result of the discussion of the Working Group for Australia had been the confirmation of the fact that there was an impressive range of international action being undertaken in a range of fora. Australia believed that the international environment was in fact becoming ever-more supportive of States' efforts to operationalize the right to development. There had been a great deal of discussion on the question of whether the right to development should have a permanent follow-up mechanism. Australia did not believe that the threshold question of whether a new additional mechanism was justified had been answered or even properly considered at this time. Accordingly, Australia remained unconvinced of the need for any permanent new mechanism.
CAMILO REYES RODRIGUEZ (Colombia) said development required democratic principles in concert with the rule of law. Colombia was striving to achieve these ends and was now leading work that was expected to lead to an international convention against corruption. The international community had responsibilities for development, too, as so many factors involving it were beyond national control. Investment and trade were truly global. Colombia had 40 million citizens who were talented and hard-working; yet more than half the population lived in poverty. That was because of two major factors -- the global problem of illicit drugs, and internal problems created by violent groups with anachronistic theories and no popular backing.
International cooperation was vital for ending the global drug trade. Consumption throughout the world had to be controlled, and there had to be controls against the money-laundering that was so vital to the drug business; controls against the international trade in arms also was important. Direct foreign investment should be encouraged for developing nations and fairer trade terms should be set; the well-being of the populations of these countries should take the highest priority.
CONCHITA PONCINI, of the International Federation of University Women speaking on behalf of 14 non-governmental organizations, said that gender equality was a core development goal in its own right rather than a desirable by-product of it. Gender discrimination was the source of endemic poverty and low economic growth, not a cause for women's vulnerability because they were unequal in political, economic, social and cultural status. Education from a life cycle perspective was indeed the key entry point to development and the eradication of poverty. It would give people the knowledge base for the awareness and practice of their rights. As half of the population, women should be involved as stakeholders and should therefore be provided the resources and the means to be educated over their life span. Educating the girl child was particularly critical for the future generations. Women had a legitimate role not only to participate in social aspects to where they were often relegated but to macro economic decision making because all women were working every day of their lives. Macro economic policies that had been viewed until recently by policy makers as gender neutral, were in fact gender blind. Other constraints to women's right to development were lack of entitlement and access to productive resources.