In our January discussion, coordinators Thea Gelbspan and Allison Corkery took stock of the progress the Working Group made in the past year and shared some of the Steering Committee’s ideas for 2015.
In the comments that followed, it was suggested that there might be scope for the Working Group to broaden its mandate a bit. In particular, it could reflect more on the limits and possibilities of monitoring—whether it’s monitoring specific cases or monitoring public policies. In that context, our focus could be more explicitly on how monitoring relates to other tools—from political advocacy to litigation, etc.
Another suggestion was for more collective efforts to overcome the diverse barriers that impede the effective realization of ESCR. This could involve sharing more about the tools we are employing to counter the violation of these rights, for example. It could also involve offering technical support to members who would want to participate in UN or regional reporting mechanisms. One suggestion was that we participate in one of these processes every year, as a Working Group, by offering support to members in countries that are due for reporting.
Comments also responded to the proposal that we structure the topics of our monthly discussions more coherently. One big topic, which could be covered over several months, what type of monitoring is needed show how the dominant development model—characterized by privatizations, expansion of extractive industries and neoliberal economic policies—undermines social rights, particularly for some groups? For example, what kind of evidence is needed to win a legal case on these issues? What kinds of methods can be integrated into monitoring policies?
We are also planning to formalize membership of the Working Group for ESCR-Net members, in order to foster ongoing communication and exchange, encourage more interactive mutual learning and facilitate collective work around monitoring. It was suggested that a key role Working Group members could play would be to bring on board the partners that they work with, so that more people can be involved in the discussions.