Dear Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,
April 18, 2014
We commend you for your leadership on the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals, and your commitment that the principles of human rights and equality will underpin the SDGs. It is a vision we share, and one that has been emphasized through the consultative process that you have led, from the High Level Panel to far-flung communities of people subject to human rights abuses and discrimination.
Yet it is a vision that we believe cannot be achieved without new legally binding instruments that ensure accountability to commitments in the SDGs and to human rights more generally. Such instruments are needed to establish effective governance and to empower people to enforce their rights in ways that the human rights treaty regime presently lacks and were not built in to MDG process.
From our own experiences in global health, we have seen realities time and again fall short of health promises, and are concerned that without more clearly defined national and global responsibilities for health and greater accountability, such a fate may also befall the health SDG(s). Whatever the health goal(s) in the final SDGs, they cannot be realized in full without this type of enabling instruments. Indeed, given the connections between health and most anticipated focus areas of the SDGs, such an instrument, focused on health, would contribute to achieving many of the other SDGs too.