Measuring Progress

Since the early 1990s, Rights and Humanity has had a concern for measuring the progressive realisation of economic, social and cultural rights.


Rights and Humanity has contributed to the work of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights helping to identify the precise content of various rights, so that progress in realisation might be measured and evaluated. We have contributed our expertise during the Committee’s, days of General Discussion to help identify the core contents of specific articles of the associated state obligations and indicators for measuring progress.

We have played a particular role in developing criteria for measuring progress in the neglected field of cultural rights.

More recently we have been engaged with measuring and evaluating implementation of the human rights approach to development (HRAD).


Towards the end of the 1990s, we encouraged UNDP to integrate measurement of the realisation of human rights into the indicators used to measure human development. We participated in a number of expert groups in this regard and contributed to the 2000 edition of the Human Development Report, which focused on human rights.

Measuring Human Rights, Democracy and Good Governance
Between 2000 - 2002, Rights and Humanity contributed our expertise to the development of European policy on measuring human rights, democracy and good governance. In 2003, we undertook a global mapping of initiatives to measure human rights, democracy and good governance on behalf of the European Union’s Statistical Office.

Evaluating the Human Rights Approach to Maternal Mortality
On 4th August 2004, Rights and Humanity took part in a workshop at the Department for International Development (DFID), London, UK, to review the impact of the human rights approach to development which we had introduced into DFID’s work.

At the workshop, entitled “Developing a Human Rights-Based Approach to Addressing Maternal Mortality”, we joined a number of DFID policy makers, academics, representatives of UN agencies, WHO and non-governmental organizations, to discuss how a human rights-based approach should instruct DFID’s policies to reduce maternal mortality. During this meeting, the results of evaluations were discussed.

One study across 18 countries indicated that introducing a human rights approach had led to a cut in maternal mortality of 50%.

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