Advocating for human rights boosts resource availability and upholds fiscal legitimacy: UN expert

Geneva, 11 March, 2024.- A UN expert today urged States and international institutions to respect principles of fiscal legitimacy in fiscal decision-making with a ‘do no harm’ approach.

“Recent decades have exposed the fallacy of a linear model between financial progress and poverty alleviation, development, and growth, revealing numerous challenges such as inequality, climate instability, gaps in the global financial architecture, technological shifts, conflicts, and wars,” said Attiya Waris, the Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights.

In her report to the Human Rights Council, Waris stressed that these challenges have hampered the realisation of human rights for all, transforming human beings into tools for wealth creation rather than prioritising their rights and living standards.

“Adopting a human rights perspective, including the principle of progressive realisation of human rights and the duty to provide international cooperation and assistance, would support efforts to increase available resources and ensure fiscal legitimacy in the operation of a fiscal system,” the expert said.

Waris outlined a list of key principles to ensure that financial decisions preserve and maintain living standards, including accountability, transparency, responsibility, effectiveness and efficiency, fairness and justice.

“States, international institutions and regional trade blocs are invited to integrate the principles of fiscal legitimacy into their decision-making processes, while keeping all financial decisions focused on the realisation of human rights and raising living standards,” the expert said.

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