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Sustainable Recovery Pledge

The Sustainable Recovery Pledge: Building a better future for all, with human rights at its heart.

a. High-level launch event on 30 June 2021
Presentation of the pledge to the Human Rights Council on 21 June 2021

We, the undersigned States, recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the greatest global challenges in the history of the United Nations. We mourn the loss of life, and are deeply concerned about the loss of livelihoods and the disruption to economies and societies by the pandemic, as well as its negative impact on the enjoyment of human rights around the world, hampering progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The pandemic perpetuates and exacerbates existing and emerging inequalities, and those most at risk are persons in vulnerable and marginalized situations. We are also concerned about the use of the pandemic as a pretext for violating human rights and fundamental freedoms, including by shrinking democratic and civil society space.

We express our determination to ‘build back better’ from the pandemic, with respect for human rights at the heart of our recovery efforts. This means adopting a human rights-based approach to recovery that puts individuals and their human rights at the centre of all recovery efforts. We firmly believe that preparedness, response and recovery strategies that respect human rights will result in better, more just and more sustainable outcomes.

We reiterate our commitment to the 2030 Agenda, grounded in States’ human rights obligations, as the blueprint for building back better, as well as to the Paris Agreement. These represent essential guideposts on the road to sustainable recovery. We also reaffirm the crucial role of the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, including the special procedures and the Universal Period Review, as well as the human rights treaty bodies, in highlighting the human rights implications of the pandemic, and in offering guidance to States on respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights in COVID-19responses and recovery. 

We therefore pledge the following:

1. We will strengthen our efforts to promote and protect human rights, and, on that basis, accelerate our efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for all in this decade of action, so as to build more healthy, sustainable, peaceful, just, equitable, inclusive and resilient societies where no one is left behind;

2. We will promote democratic principles and good governance at all levels and develop more effective, accountable and transparent institutions, as well as more responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making processes, when devising and implementing sustainable recovery plans; 

3. We will ensure effective channels for civil society participation in policy development and decision-making at all levels, including organisations representing persons in vulnerable situations, women and girls, young people, indigenous peoples, minorities and marginalised groups, including persons with disabilities, and we will establish and maintain a safe and enabling environment for journalists, human rights defenders, including environmental human rights defenders, medical professionals and experts, including scientists, to speak freely without threat of disciplinary action or reprisals;

4. We will redouble our efforts to realize the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and the achievement by 2030 of SDG3 and other health-related SDGs, in particular the targets of universal health coverage, including financial risk protection and access to quality essential health services for all, and to strengthen the capacity of all countries for early warning and crisis communications, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks. We will pursue extensive immunisation against COVID-19 as a global public good for health and without discrimination, and support COVAX as the joint global multilateral response facility, which will be key to ensuring an equitable and timely global distribution of safe, effective, quality and affordable COVID-19 vaccines to all States, consistent with the realisation of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; 

5. We will seek to address the widespread inequalities and discrimination that have made some people more vulnerable to the pandemic, to its economic, social and political impacts, and to the negative impacts of response measures, including by addressing weaknesses in the way services are delivered in areas such as social security, health, education and justice,-by combatting gender-based violence, and by empowering and engaging all women and girls, especially those in vulnerable situations; 

6. We will strive to accelerate the catalytic role that digital technologies can play in a human rights-based sustainable recovery, including by building respect for human rights into the design, development and deployment of technological approaches to the pandemic, given the enormous implications of digital technologies for a broad range of human rights, in particular privacy (as per ICCPR art. 17), by seeking to address the substantial digital divides that exist within and among countries and regions;  and by recognising the importance of disaggregated data; 

7. We will adopt climate- and environment-sensitive approaches to COVID-19 recovery efforts, including by inter alia aligning investments and domestic policies with the relevant objectives of the 2030 Agenda and with the Paris Agreement, reversing biodiversity loss, and accelerating renewable energy transitions;

8. We will design recovery strategies based on risk-informed, sustainable financing policies, supported by integrated national financing frameworks in accordance with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, mindful of the important role that official development assistance plays in complementing the efforts of countries to mobilise public resources domestically, especially for the many least developed countries, small island developing States and middle-income countries that have been hit the hardest by the crisis;

9. We will use recommendations and guidelines from the international human rights mechanisms and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), as appropriate, to inform and monitor progress with our sustainable recovery strategies;

10. We will support a further strengthening UN leadership in advancing a human rights-based sustainable recovery, building on the UN Secretary General’s Call to Action on Human Rights, and will pursue partnerships and alliances that allow us to build on the contributions of all sectors of society, including women and girls, adolescents and youth, children, workers, businesses, indigenous peoples, the scientific community, the multiple voices of civil society, and others, on the basis of relevant frameworks such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights;

We will report on our progress in realising this pledge, on a voluntary basis, at informal events coinciding with the Human Rights Council intersessional meetings on human rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Geneva and/or the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York, and, as appropriate, we will also seek to reflect progress in our Voluntary National Reports under the HLPF.

Pledging states as per 13 July 2021:

1. Denmark
2. Albania
3. Andorra
4. Armenia
5. Australia
6. Austria
7. Azerbaijan
8. Belgium
9. Bosnia & Hercegovina
10. Canada
11. Chile
12. Costa Rica
13. Czech Republic
14. Cyprus
15. Ecuador
16. Estonia
17. Fiji
18. Finland
19. Germany
20. Greece
21. Guatemala
22. Iceland
23. Ireland
24. Korea, Republic of
25. Latvia
26. Liechtenstein
27. Lithuania
28. Luxembourg
29. Malaysia
30. Marshall Islands
31. Mexico
32. Moldova
33. Mongolia
34. Netherlands
35. New Zealand
36. North Macedonia
37. Norway
38. Poland
39. Portugal
40. Romania 
41. Sierra Leone
42. Slovakia
43. Spain
44. Sweden
45. Switzerland
46. Thailand
47. Ukraine
48. Uruguay

Supporting organisations:

1. Danish Institute for Human Rights
2. Universal Rights Group
7. Center for Economic and Social Rights
8. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
9. Danish Family Planning Association 
10. Equal Rights Trust
11. European Network of National Human Rights Institutions
12. Independent Commission of Human Rights in Northern Africa  
13. Indigenous Peoples' Major Group
14. International Chamber of Commerce
15. International Planned Parenthood Federation
16. International Service for Human Rights
17. Major Group Children and Youth
18. MENA Rights Group
19. Network of African National Human Rights Institutions 
20. Partners for Review Network
21. RFSU - The Swedish Association for Sexuality Education 
22. The World Benchmarking Alliance
23. Transparency International
24. United Nations Independent System-Wide Evaluation Mechanism
25. UPR Info
26. Women's Major Group
27. International Disability Alliance
28. Cooperation Canada