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Practical Tools

The following tools may not explicitly address human rights, the MDGs, or links between the two, but are presented here because they have been used, or may be used, to support such links in development practice. This collection of tools and resources is intended for continual amendment and expansion. Suggestions and references to further tools and resources are welcome

Assessment Tools

Methodology and Tools for Human Rights-based Assessment and Analysis (2004)

Includes a number of tools for human rights based assessment and development planning developed by the RMAP Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the projects initial phase. The document includes:

  • Human Rights and Domestic Legal Framework Checklists; 
  • Vulnerable Groups, CivilSociety Organizations and Gender Baseline Lists; 
  • Tools to facilitate brainstorming on structural causes and capacity analysis;
  • Checklist for human rights based assessment reporting. 

Background Paper on the Education Sector

Example of the background papers developed by RMAP after the programme expanded to include a planning and implementation component. Background papers synthesize human rights analysis, legal analysis and capacity analysis in the assessment of individual sectors.

The International and National Human Rights Legal Framework for Macedonia: A Human Rights-Based Approach to MDG-based Development Planning and Poverty Reduction

A Legal Framework Analysis commissioned by UNDP Macedonia to set MDG realization within the context of human rights protection, according to international and domestic law.  A summary version of the document (condensed to 48 pages from 207, is available here.)

A number of countries have developed survey instruments for gathering local information.

Armenia:      Questionnaire on MDGs and Human Rights

Maldives:     Questionnaire Instructions for the construction of an electronic survey instrument.

Macedonia:   Questionnaire: Identification of the Poor in Macedonian Municipalities,

Interview guidelines: services
(guidelines for conducting interviews with leaders in the health, education and social welfare systems in municipalities)
Interview guidelines: political functioneers
(guidelines for conducting interviews with leading political actors in municipalities)

Key Questions for Situation Analyses Using a Human Rights Based Approach

Source: Results Based Management in UNIFEM: Essential Guide (2005)

Promotion and Awareness-Raising Tools

Human Rights Cards for People Living with HIV/AIDS

Developed by HARPAS (UNDP HIV/AIDS Regional Programming in the Arab States) for general dissemination and awareness raising.

Training Kit for Local Networks and Awareness Building activities (forthcoming, UNDP Benin)

Capacity Building Tools

Primer for Community Leaders on Inclusive Local Development (forthcoming, summer 2007)

An Implementation Manual has also been produced to help RMAP counterparts and practitioners in Bosnia and Herzegovina prepare, submit, approve finance, implement and monitor municipal development projects.

Training Kit for Local Networks and Awareness Building activities (forthcoming, UNDP Benin)

Toolkit for Municipalities and Toolkit for Citizen Councils (forthcoming)

The toolkit for municipalities will present human rights aspects of MDGs in municipal services, stressing the framework of legal accountability, and targeting the representatives of municipal governments. The will toolkit for communities is targeted towards LA21 Community Councils, and will present the fundamentals of human rights and MDG planning and budgeting, and tools for monitoring the municipalities.

Card-Game: Demonstrating the existing involvement of UN Staff in Human Rights, A tool for building human rights interest and engagement among programme staff 

Monitoring and Accountability Tools

Human Rights Litigation Manual: International Treaty Obligations in Human Rights Cases

A practical guide to enforcing international human rights obligations through public interest litigation in domestic courts, intended to assist the victims of human rights violations who may not have access to legal aid. in order .Developed by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre.

ESCR-NET Case Law Database

A database of jurisprudence related to economic, social and cultural rights.

MDG 8: Indicators for Monitoring Implementation

Paper presented to the UN Human Rights Commission in 2005.

Tools for Human Rights Programming

5 Ways of Bringing Human Rights into Development Work

As evidenced by the experiences presented in this portal, there are a number of ways in which human rights and the MDGs may be linked in development activities, and there is no clear ‘best’ approach for any given context. As a starting point, the following table has been suggested as a means to conceptualize the different possibilities for integrating human rights into development programming.

Implicit human rights work Agencies may not explicitly work on human rights issues and prefer to use other descriptors (‘protection’, ‘empowerment’ or general ‘good governance’ label). The goal, content and approach can be related to other explicit forms of human rights integration rather than ‘repackaging’.
Human rights projects Projects or programmes directly targeted at the realisation of specific rights (e.g. freedom of expression), specific groups (e.g. children), or in support of human rights organisations (e.g. in civil society).
Human rights dialogue Foreign policy and aid dialogues include human rights issues, sometimes linked to conditionalities. Aid modalities and volumes may be affected in cases of significant human rights violations.
Human rights mainstreaming Efforts to ensure that human rights are integrated into all sectors of existing aid interventions (e.g. water, education). This may include ‘do no harm’ aspects.
Human rights-based approaches Human rights considered constitutive of the goal of development, leading to a new approach to aid and requiring institutional changes.

Source: OECD, Integrating Human Rights into Development: A Synthesis of Donor Approaches and Experiences (2005)


3-Step Strategy for Presenting HRBA to Government Counterparts

UNDP country office representatives have suggested the following strategy for presenting human rights based approach to government officials, when there is a danger that they will be perceived as complex and burdensome:

Step 1 Identify targets in the international human rights treaty framework,
Step 2 identify the actors and institutions best positioned to realize targets, and
Step 3 apply a human rights principled methodology for prioritizing and making trade-offs if necessary.
(the methodology in (3) must be (a) participatory, (b) provide and maintain the minimum standards of all targets established in step one, and (c) avoid violating other rights)


Applying a Human Rights-Based Approach to Development Cooperation and Programming

Developed by the UNDP Capacity Group to assist in identifying rights holders and duty bearers in a national context. (Also in CD Guide format, forthcoming)

Duty Bearer Capacity Assessment Exercise

Draft Guidelines on Human Rights-Reviews of UNDP Country Programmes

FAQ on a Human Rights Based Approach to Development (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2006)

Guide on Indicators for Human Rights Based Approaches to Development-A Users' Guide (UNDP Oslo Governance Centre/HURIST, 2006)

How to Make Local Development Work for All – A Human Rights-Based Approach to Local Development Planning

A complete step by step methodology adapted to the Macedonian context and arranged according to programme phases, commissioned by UNDP Macedonia from the Ludwig Boltzman Institute for Human Rights.

HRBAChecklist for Design and Evaluation of Programming and Strategies

Developed by UNDP Comoros (French only)

Guidelines for the Application of a HRBA in Municipal Development (forthcoming May 2007, UNDP Argentina)

A Human Rights-Based Approach to Regional Development

Document outlining the institutional measures necessary to establish a plan for Regional Economic Development, important steps in the assessment and planning process, and includes an annex listing tools and methods for a human rights based approach to regional development that have been used in other country contexts. Commissioned by UNDP Macedonia from the Ludwig Boltzman Institute for Human Rights.

Tools Related to the MDGs

[These tools have been developed and suggested by development PRACTITIONERS during preparatory work for the Web portal, if you would like to suggest additional tools, please send a COMMENT]

Goal 1
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Goal 2
Achieve universal primary education

Goal 3
Promote gender equality and empower women

Goal 4
Reduce child mortality

  • John Tobin, 'Beyond the Supermarket Shelf: Using a Rights Based Approach to Address Children’s' Health Needs (2005),

Goal 5
Improve maternal health

Goal 6
Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Goal 7
Ensure environmental sustainability

Goal 8
Develop a global partnership for development