One of the pillars of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the pledge to “leave no one behind”. This paper argues that we must recognise that many people throughout the world are not just being left behind. They are being pushed even further behind, and their levels of well-being are falling, often in ways from which it is impossible to fully recover. Indeed, many are confronted with forces that lead to their avoidable premature deaths. Thus, development policies should have as their first priority to ensure that no one is pushed behind. The paper argues that this could be secured through a different way of framing economic policy, that focuses on the obligations of states to respect, protect and fulfil economic, social and cultural rights. The paper also highlights the ways in which deprived people are using the human rights system to claim their rights.
Aydiner-Avsar, N. and D. Elson. 2011. “Trade Policy and Human Rights Obligations of the USA: NAFTA.” In Economic Policy and Human Rights: Holding Governments to Account, edited by R. Balakrishnan and D. Elson. London: Zed Press.
Balakrishnan, R. and D. Elson, eds. 2011. Economic Policy and Human Rights: Holding Governments to Account. London: Zed Press.
Balakrishnan, R., J. Heintz, and D. Elson. 2016. Rethinking Economic Policy for Social Justice: The Radical Potential of Human Rights. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.
Bohoslavsky, J.P. 2018. Report of the Independent Expert on the Effects of Foreign Debt and Other Related International Financial Obligations of States on the Full Enjoyment of all Human Rights, Particularly Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Impact of Economic Reforms and Austerity Measures on Women’s Human Rights. United Nations: A/73/179.
Chang, H.-J. 2002. “Breaking the Mould. An Institutionalist Political Economy Alternative to the Neoliberal Theory of Market and State.” Cambridge Journal of Economics 26(5): 539–559.
Chang, H.-J. 2002. “Breaking the Mould. An Institutionalist Political Economy Alternative to the Neoliberal Theory of Market and State.” Cambridge Journal of Economics 26(5): 539–559.10.1093/cje/26.5.539)| false
Chang, S.-S., D. Stuckler, P. Yip, and D. Gunnell. 2013. “Impact of 2008 Global Economic Crisis on Suicide: Time Trend: Study in 54 Countries.” British Medical Journal 347: f5239.10.1136/bmj.f5239)| false
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. 2005. General Comment 16: The Equal Right of Men and Women to the Enjoyment of all Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. E/C.12/2005/4.
Committee on World Food Security. 2012. Voluntary Guidelines for Responsible Governance of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security. Rome: FAO.
Compa, L. 2008. “Trade Unions and Human Rights.” In Bringing Human Rights Home: A History of Human Rights in the United States, edited by C. Soohoo, C. Albisa, and M.F. Davis., Westport, CT: Praeger Publishing.
Cornia, G.A., R. Jolly, and F. Stewart, eds. 1987. Adjustment with a Human Face. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Corbera, E., C. Hunsberger, and C. Vaddhanaphuti. 2017. “Climate Change Policies, Land Grabbing, and Conflict: Perspectives from Southeast Asia.” Canadian Journal of Development Studies 38(3): 297–304.
Corbera, E., C. Hunsberger, and C. Vaddhanaphuti. 2017. “Climate Change Policies, Land Grabbing, and Conflict: Perspectives from Southeast Asia.” Canadian Journal of Development Studies 38(3): 297–304.10.1080/02255189.2017.1343413)| false
Hall, R., M. Edelman, S. Borras Jr, I. Sconnes, B. White, and W. Wolford. 2015a. “Resistance, Acquiescence, or Incorporation? An Introduction to Land Grabbing and Political Reactions from Below.” Journal of Peasant Studies 42(3–4): 467–488.
Hall, R., M. Edelman, S. Borras Jr, I. Sconnes, B. White, and W. Wolford. 2015a. “Resistance, Acquiescence, or Incorporation? An Introduction to Land Grabbing and Political Reactions from Below.” Journal of Peasant Studies 42(3–4): 467–488.10.1080/03066150.2015.1036746)| false
Hall, R., I. Scoones, and D. Tsikata. 2015b. “Introduction: The Contexts and Consequences of Africa’s Land Rush.” In Africa’s Land Rush: Rural Livelihoods and Agrarian Change, edited by R. Hall, I Scoones, and D. Tsikata. Woodbridge: James Currey.
ILO. 2013. Global Wage Report 2012/13: Wages and Equitable Growth. Geneva: International Labour Organization.
Kiai, M. 2016. “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association.” UN General Assembly. A/71/385.
Kletzer, L.G. 2001. Job Losses from Imports: Measuring the Costs. Washington DC: Institute for International Economics.
Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health. 2018. “Pollution and Health.” The Lancet 391(10119): 462–515.
Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. 2011. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. United Nations: New York and Geneva.
Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. 2005. Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Handbook for National Human Rights Institutions. Annex 5. United Nations: New York and Geneva.
Passel, J. 2005. “Background Briefing Prepared for Task Force on Immigration and America’s Future.” In Unauthorised Migrants: Numbers and Characteristics. Pew Hispanic Center, 14 June http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/46.pdf.
Pillay, G. 2012. Chairperson, Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Document. CESCR/48th/SP/MAB/SW.
Samson, C. and C. Gigoux. 2017. Indigenous Peoples and Colonialism: Global Perspectives. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Scott, R.E., C. Salas, and B. Campbell. 2006. Revisiting NAFTA: Still Not Working for North America’s Workers. Briefing Paper No. 173, Economic Policy Institutes. Washington DC: Economic Policy Institute.
Sen, A. 2005. “Human Rights and Capabilities.” Journal of Human Development 6(2): 151–166.
Sen, A. 2009. The Idea of Justice. London: Penguin and Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.
Sen, A. 2012. “Forward.” In Human Rights and the Capabilities Approach. An Interdisciplinary Dialogue, edited by D. Elson, S. Fukuda-Parr, and P. Vizard. London: Routledge.
Serdan-Rosales, A. and C. Salas. 2011. “Trade Policy and Human Rights: Mexico.” In Economic Policy and Human Rights: Holding Governments to Account, edited by R. Balakrishnan and D. Elson. London: Zed Press.
Steiner, H. and P. Alston. 1996. International Human Rights in Context. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
UN DESA. 2009. State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. New York: United Nations.
UN DESA. 2017. World Economic and Social Survey. New York: United Nations.
UNDP. 2000. Human Development Report 2000. New York: UNDP and Oxford University Press.
UNDP. 2015. Human Development Report 2015: Work for Human Development. New York: UNDP and Oxford University Press.
UNDP. 2017. Rising Tides, Rising Capacities. Supporting a Sustainable Future for Small Island Developing States. New York: UNDP.
aEmeritus Professor, University of Essex; Honorary Research Associate, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. I would like to thank members of the CDP sub-group on Leaving No One Behind for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper.
The Journal of Globalization and Development (JGD) publishes academic research and policy analysis on globalization, development and the complex interactions between them. It is dedicated to stimulating a dialogue between theoretical advances and rigorous empirical studies to push forward the frontiers of development analysis and seeks to combine academic insights with the in-depth knowledge of practitioners to address important policy issues.