Rights Based Approaches to Development: Implications for NGOs

40 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2011

See all articles by Shannon Kindornay

Shannon Kindornay

The North-South Institute

James Ron

Carleton University - Norman Paterson School of International Affairs

Date Written: January 15, 2011


The rights-based approach (RBA) emerged as a new development paradigm in the late 1990s. Within ten years, it had swept through the websites, policy papers and official rhetoric of multi-lateral development agencies, bi-lateral donors, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) throughout the global development assistance sector. Today, specialized consultants and advisors are elaborating and mainstreaming the paradigm through reports, workshops, and project evaluations, ensuring that rights-based thinking will continue to proliferate for years to come. Many view this trend with excitement, highlighting the normative and practical value of injecting human rights principles into standard development thinking and practice. These commentators hope rights-based approaches will empower marginalized groups, focus attention on inequality, and boost state and donor accountability. Skeptics, however, fear the emergence of yet another development fad. What, then, is really happening? Is the rights-based approach having observable impacts?

This Article proposes five hypotheses about the likely impact of rights-based approaches on the work, structure, and number of NGOs involved in the development process. If the rights-based paradigm is having real effects, we should be able to observe its traces in the work and activities of development-related NGOs that accept overseas resources and aid.

Keywords: Human Rights, NGOs, Development, Poverty Reduction

Suggested Citation

Kindornay, Shannon and Ron, James, Rights Based Approaches to Development: Implications for NGOs (January 15, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1741525 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1741525

Shannon Kindornay

The North-South Institute ( email )

100 Argyle Avenue
Suite 200
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1B6
6132413535 (Phone)
6132417435 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nsi-ins.ca

James Ron (Contact Author)

Carleton University - Norman Paterson School of International Affairs ( email )

1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6

HOME PAGE: http://www.carleton.ca/~jron

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics