Economic Policy & Human Rights

The following areas of work respond to the collective objectives of members of the Economic Policy and Human Rights (EPHR) Working Group.

Financial Regulation for Human Rights

Several ESCR-Net members are partners of the ‘Righting Financial Regulation: A Bottom Up Approach to Financial Regulation’, a collective initiative of many organizations focusing on economic policy and human rights, including: Centre of Concern (CoC), Center for Economic and Social Rights, DAWN, Social Watch, iBase, Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) and CIVICUS.  The grouping advocates and lobbies for stricter control of finance in the interests of greater respect, protection and fulfillment of human rights.  Activities include developing submissions to and advocacy with UN agencies, financial institutions, development financiers and intergovernmental bodies.  The external website of the initiative contains a number of collectively produced factsheets and publications, as well as blog postings by different members.  Related advocacy efforts by the EPHR Working Group are here.

World Bank Commitment to Human Rights

ESCR-Net members are campaigning to demand the World Bank make a commitment to not cause or contribute to human rights violations through any of its activities. The goal is to deploy a unified outreach and advocacy campaign to press the Bank to commit to respecting and protecting human rights and to amend their policies and practices to reflect that commitment.  ESCR-Net is also collaborating the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and International Accountability Project (IAP) with their Bank on Rights 'Early Warning System' project, as a member of the Advisory Panel. For more information about these activities and some of the actions ESCR-Net members undertook at the World Bank Spring meetings in 2013, see here

Strategic Case Support

Members and allies collaborate together to support Network members being challenged by large scale development projects that are undermining economic, social and cultural rights.  EPHR Working Group members provide expert analyses of the economic justifications for a development project, on human rights grounds. Working together these members then use the analyses to support local advocacy activities.  Currently the group is assisting Citizens for Justice in Malawi to challenge an emblematic case of natural resource extraction – the largest in the country.  Success in this case has the potential of influencing the entire sector of mineral investment in Malawi.

Other Collective Initiatives

Over the past several years, the Economic Policy and Human Rights Working Group has undertaken a range of collective initiatives.  Currently, several members are interested in shaping the next generation of World Bank Safeguards through the current review process.  The objective of the initiative is to foster grassroots and expert participation into the World Bank safeguard review process to strengthen the level of human rights analysis and input in the World Bank consultations. Secondly, the strategy is to support members in Southern countries to build on lessons learned from engagement in the World Bank consultations by strengthening their domestic level lobbying efforts for progressing related policies at the national level. In addition, the Working Group has historically focused on:

  • Export-Credit Agencies and Human Rights

  • Economic Policy and Human Rights in the Agricultural Sector: The Kuala Lumpur Guidelines

  • Aid and the Extractive Industries