Analyzing MDG 8 from a human rights perspective
A ﬁrst question is whether the framing of MDG 8 contributed to developing among rich countries a sense of legally binding obligation to cooperate in the achievement of human rights. The very straightforward answer is that it did not. As with the rest of the MDGs, there was nothing in MDG 8 that could point to a legal obligation, or even to attribute an opinio iuris, for governments to fulﬁll the commitments in them. This is not to deny the powerful legal arguments that one could make about the existence of obligations. But the MDGs were codifying a political commitment undertaken in a soft law instrument, the MD. There are understandable “realpolitik” reasons that explain why governments did not want to go beyond such a level of commitment (Caliari and Darrow 2013). Setting this ﬁrst question aside, the next section uses a simple framework with four basic principles
extracted from the references above to query MDG 8 from a human rights perspective. Such a framework would hold that rich countries, when acting externally or collectively, should:
. be accountable for the extraterritorial impact of their development policies on the achievement of human rights;
. increase participation in the design, implementation and monitoring of development policies, especially by marginalized and vulnerable groups;
. ensure the mobilization of maximum available resources in support of the achievement of human rights; and
. support the progressive realization of economic, social and cultural rights.