Integrating the socio-cultural, economic and environmental components that are integral to a concept as encompassing as ‘sustainable development’ is definitely not easy. IRD–Geneva will work on the three interconnected pillars of sustainable development – socio-cultural, economic and environmental systems.

The rights-based approach to sustainable development works to ensure that the notion of social equity is taken into consideration when working towards sustainable development. Social equity refers to a fair and just distribution of economic and environmental costs and benefits, community services like education and health care, and the ability to participate in decision-making processes. Applying social equity means paying attention to disadvantaged groups in society, including women, youth and children, the elderly, indigenous groups, and ethnic minorities.

IRD-G will assist the civil society, government and private sector to become more effective and powerful in tasks focused on the post-2015 development agenda in order to strengthen the link between human rights and sustainable development. The concept of rights-based approaches a ‘conceptual framework,’ which means that its proponents work to change the context within which decisions are made. It has been around for a long time, and has been used as a central organizing principle by organizations.

By effectively linking human rights and sustainable development, the increasing state of uncertainty for the environment that surrounds and nurtures society is given a human face, directly influencing the well-being of all.

In theory, the rights-based approach aims to integrate established human rights standards into the discussions, policies, conventions, and processes that address sustainable development. It also seeks to emphasize the need for new rights that will explicitly recognize the right to a fulfilling environment for all.