Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - Annual Report 2015
Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - Annual Report 2015 Message from the Co-Executive Directors
The Global Initiative began in 2010, as an initiative to advance the realization of economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights globally, tackling the endemic problem of poverty and social injustice through a human rights lens. Our vision is of a world where the human rights framework reflects the real world experiences of all of us, effectively furthering social and economic justice and human dignity, and catalyzing change from the local to the global, and back to the local. To realize this vision, our role is one of catalyzing social change through leveraging of strategic spaces. This is work that we undertake in close partnership with local partners from around the world; what we like to call “making the UN work for the poor,” although it also encompasses strategic spaces beyond the UN.
2015 not only brought a celebration of our fifth anniversary, but was also a year of reflection and transformation, as we carefully moved from our startup phase to the next phase of our organizational development. This transformation involved a strategic planning process including broad consultation with partners and others with which we’ve worked over the past five years. That process identified that the launch phase had distinguishing characteristics: organizational agility, nimbleness, high quality technical insights, an eye for the strategic, partnering with and drawing upon other networks and advocates, and high appreciation for local actors and agency. These qualities and core values will be nurtured and sustained as growth and greater impact are pursued in this next phase.
GI-ESCR believes that scaling up to the next phase requires both the amplification of voices of local advocates by leveraging international law and mechanisms – and informing the content, meaning, and interpretation of international human rights norms from the perspectives of marginalized groups and communities. As such, this two-way exchange of information and advocacy results both in specific change at the local level and structural change within the international human rights normative framework, and a more intentional and profound symbiosis between the two. It is no longer enough to think globally and act locally; GI-ESCR works with partners to think and act, globally and locally, where work at one level is enriched by, and strengthens and supports the other.
2015 also brought several key results and accomplishments, as highlighted in this Annual Report. Our focus on innovative areas of human rights normative development and implementation continued, with successes in the areas of women’s rights related to access to land and other productive resources, extra-territorial human rights obligations, furthering additional avenues for enforcement of social rights, the human rights impact of privatization of social rights with a particular focus on the right to education, and increasingly focusing on systemic violations of economic, social and cultural rights and the need for positive measures to be taken to remedy such violations.
We also worked in more developed areas were we have deep expertise, such and the right to adequate housing, the rights to water and sanitation, strategic litigation to enforce social rights, and the human rights defenders focusing on economic, social and cultural rights.
As we exit 2015 and enter 2016, our goal is to build on these successes and strengthen both the substantive areas of our work as well as the organizations generally, including in the areas of governance and communications as well as our important presence in Geneva.
Our vision of the GI-ESCR in the next phase is a sustainable and mature organization and a more coherent organizational identity. We envision an organization which is recognized and valued for its leadership on a range of ESC rights issues. It is of an organization with a solid and growing base of donor support, with active and engaged staff, management and Board. Our aim is to ensure that concrete outcomes and impact not only further our mission but lay the foundation for future human rights advocacy of others.
Mayra Gomez and Bret Thiele, Co-Executive Directors
Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The 2015 Annual Report is available HERE.