I had the chance to sit down with Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Robinson has been a strong proponent of a human rights approach to development, and we chat about how and why human rights need to underscore development goals. “It’s good development policy”, Robinson said, explaining that using this human rights approach has showed results in many places.
The Millennium Development Goals are first and foremost focused on tangible, measurable objectives and were originally developed without a strong rights component, which Robinson said “disappointed” her. But through high-level efforts and grassroots action, human rights are now back on the agenda as a fundamental element of all the MDGs.