The politics underpinning the non-realization of the right to development
Fikre, Belachew Mekuria
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The right to development stands out as one of the controversial rights ever since its articulation in the 1970s. The adoption of the 1986 United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development underlines the importance of international cooperation for it to be realised. I argue that the emphasis on ‘development aid’ rather than the broader ‘development cooperation’ has contributed a great deal to the politicisation of the right and consequently undermined its materialisation. Indeed, there is the need for semantic and conceptual clarity in the use of the term ‘international assistance and cooperation’ that has deceptively supplanted ‘international cooperation.’ While the former is a term used under Article 2(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights with a view to laying down the broader States Parties’ obligations, the latter is what the Declaration on the Right to Development exclusively employs. I argue that even if development assistance is indispensable, taking it as the sole approach to the realisation of the right to development is both wrong and unhelpful.