Rethinking Bretton Woods | Mon, Apr 29, 2013
On April 24-25, 2013, Center of Concern and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights cosponsored “Rights in Crisis: An expert meeting on promoting rights-based approaches to financial regulation, macroeconomic policies, and economic recovery.”
In 2008 the world suffered what is considered the worst global economic crisis since the “Great Depression” of the 1930s. While some recovery seemed to be underway in 2010, the global economy slowed markedly in 2011. Presently, developed countries continue to struggle to overcome the economic damage left by the financial crisis while developing countries are faced with great uncertainty and diminished growth prospects.
In this context, the imposition of contractionary measures (including “austerity measures”) by States may exacerbate the impacts of the global financial crisis stalling recovery. As a result of the crisis, the ability of individuals to exercise their human rights and that of States to fulfil their obligations to protect human rights has diminished. This is particularly true of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups of society that suffer from inter alia decreasing access to work and social welfare programs, and decreasing affordability of food, housing, water and other basic necessities. Austerity measures raise important concerns regarding the protection of economic, social and cultural rights including with regards to the principles of non-retrogression and minimum core obligations.
This two-day event held by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Center of Concern convened participants with expertise in the areas of human rights, financial regulation, fiscal policy and development, including representatives from governments and intergovernmental organizations.