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Status: Published

Colloquium on Human Rights in the Global Economy (2010)



Colloquium 2010From 11 to 13 January 2010, the International Council on Human Rights Policy and Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative convened a Colloquium on Human Rights in the Global Economy in Geneva. The primary aim of the Colloquium was to promote a multidisciplinary dialogue to analyze and address more effectively human rights questions and challenges arising from macroeconomic policies. Participants included economists, human rights practioners, members of advocacy groups, international lawyers and policy experts from intergovernmental organizations.

The widespread impacts of the financial and economic crisis have underlined the importance of going beyond dominant disciplinary wisdom as well as established policy prescriptions and institutional practices in economic policy-making. The Colloquium was aimed at enabling human rights professionals, policy-makers and economists alike to develop a better understanding of where and how human rights values, standards and methods can be relevant and effective with respect to macroeconomic policy making. It also provided an opportunity to reflect frankly on the challenges and dilemmas that the theory and practice of both human rights and economics need to address.

The Colloquium created spaces for reflection and debate, beginning with an examination of the underlying conceptual foundations and normative congruencies and tensions between human rights and economics. This was followed by an examination of the various dimensions of fiscal and monetary policy and their possible links with human rights – covering areas such as the links between finance and the real economy, analysis of the financial crisis, and, challenges with respect to regulation of financial markets, employment and social security. A third stream of discussion revolved around questions of shared responsibility and policy coherence relevant to reform of international institutions, trade, aid and debt, the MDGs, climate justice and poverty elimination. The Colloquium concluded with an assessment of the challenges and opportunities for advocacy and discussions around the wider agenda for future research and policy advocacy.