The Declaration on the Right to Development and Implementation

Khurshid Iqbal

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Judicial Academy ; International Islamic University - Department of Law

August 3, 2007

Political Perspectives CIP 2007 Vol. 1 (10)


The Right to Development (RTD) is a notable, but a controversial third generation human right. It was formally pronounced in a 1986 Declaration passed by the UN General Assembly. The Declaration proclaims that the RTD has both international and national dimensions. Academic controversies surround the concept of the RTD: its status as a human right, the legal position of the right-holders and the duty-bearers, the mechanism of its implementation and a juridical definition of the word ‘development’. The main principle underlying the international dimension of the RTD is the duty of cooperation or solidarity. Developing countries want to mainstream the RTD in the current international economic rules and policies. Developed countries are reluctant to concede this demand, arguing that they have no legal obligation to provide assistance to developing countries for their economic development. The RTD is thus a major contentious issue of the international political economy of development. The article focuses on the deliberations of the various Working Groups established by the Commission (Council) on Human Rights, to clarify the scope and content of the RTD, identify obstacles to and suggest recommendations for the implementation of the RTD at the national and international levels. It is argued that the Development Compact model, proposed by the UN Independent Expert on the RTD, has failed to bring forth a consensus between developing and developed countries. The article concludes that the Declaration may be feasibly implemented through existing international development frameworks provided the international community is actively and meaningfully committed to strengthen international development cooperation.


Number of Pages in PDF File: 39

Keywords: Right to Development, development, human rights, third generation human rights, Development Compact

Accepted Paper Series


Research Paper

Author / Editor: 

Khurshid Iqbal





Publish Date: 



Right to Development, development, human rights, third generation human rights, Development Compact

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