Human Rights and Development: A Human Rights-Based Approach to Development Cooperation (2019)


France’s development cooperation and assistance policy provides leverage for its diplomacy working to promote human rights. The interministerial strategy Human Rights and Development aims to formalize the framework for French action to support the respect, protection and achievement of human rights through cooperation. In line with the new European Consensus on Development, it also aims to integrate the human rights-based approach in all development cooperation actions conducted by France.

This policy paper is intended for all French development stakeholders and defines France’s vision of the human rights-based approach and the strategic priorities that will underpin its implementation. It also aims to present France’s actions to its foreign partners. This strategy is the result of a multi-stakeholder dialogue and will be translated into a multi-year plan of action that will set out the measures to be taken to fulfil France’s commitments.

With this strategy, France intends to promote and reaffirm the indissociable link between human rights and sustainable development. While the fulfilment of human rights is the common ideal to be attained, it is also a means to achieve sustainable development. Development creates the conditions for the enjoyment of human rights for all, and respect for human rights contributes to a development that is truly sustainable. Therefore, it is important to further develop France’s approach and design development programs that are no longer just focused on solidarity-based action but that can also be used as tools to implement states’ international human rights obligations.

Deploying the rights-based approach across all sectors will require ambition and action on the part of the state, development stakeholders, civil society and the private sector. It is the cornerstone of development cooperation that undeniably respects human rights and is resolutely more sustainable.