Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-t82dr Total loading time: 0.273 Render date: 2021-11-30T13:09:07.617Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }
This chapter is part of a book that is no longer available to purchase from Cambridge Core

12 - The right to development, poverty and related rights

Ilias Bantekas
Brunel University
Lutz Oette
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Get access



Like self-determination and indigenous rights, the right to development is a collective entitlement. Yet, unlike its other counterparts, it was misunderstood for a long time because its very existence was erroneously associated solely with foreign aid and charity and it was not viewed through the lens of programmatic positive and negative obligations of the ailing states. As will be evident through the course of this chapter, development in its human rights context is primarily a value that translates into individual and communal well-being. This well-being may be linked to industrial or other financial development, although the correlation between the two is neither self-evident nor necessary. If this right to well-being is to make a difference in the lives of people, whether in poor or rich nations, it must be susceptible to quantifiable measurement with which one is able to assess its progress and realisation. In the last decade experts have come up with a list of detailed indicators which allow us to assess well-being more accurately. At the same time, wealthy nations have abandoned ad hoc unilateral efforts to assist their poorer neighbours to escape perpetual cycles of poverty by entering into institutionalised multilateral commitments to provide part of their annual earnings to developmental goals. These goals are also vigorously pursued by multilateral development banks, such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank. None the less, throughout this chapter the reader will come across a recurrent conflict between developmental goals aimed at augmenting the finances of poor nations, absent, however, a human rights approach to development based on the Bill of Rights.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2013

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Alston, P. and Robinson, M. (eds.), Human Rights and Development: Towards Mutual Reinforcement (Oxford University Press, 2005).
Blanco, E. and Razzaque, J., ‘Ecosystem Services and Human Wellbeing in a Globalised World: Assessing the Role of Law’, HRQ 31 (2009), 692.Google Scholar
Bunn, I. D., The Right to Development: Implications for International Economic Law’, American University International Law Review (Am. U. Intl L. Rev.) 15 (2000), 1425.Google Scholar
La Chimia, A. and Arrowsmith, S., ‘Addressing Tied Aid: towards a More Development-oriented WTO’, Journal of International Economic Law (J. Int’ L. Econ. L.) 12 (2009), 707.Google Scholar
Fitzmaurice, M. and Marshall, J., ‘The Human Right to a Clean Environment: Phantom or Reality? The European Court of Human Rights and English Courts Perspective on Balancing Rights in Environmental Matters’, NJIL 76 (2007), 103.Google Scholar
Fukuda-Parr, S., ‘Millennium Development Goal 8: Indicators for International Human Rights Obligations?’ HRQ 28(2006), 966.Google Scholar
Ibhawoh, B., ‘The Right to Development: the Politics and Polemics of Power and Resistance’, HRQ 33 (2011), 76.Google Scholar
Manji, A., ‘Eliminating Poverty? Financial Inclusion, Access to Land and Gender Equality in International Development’, Modern Law Review (MLR) 73 (2010), 985.Google Scholar
Marks, S. P., Implementing the Right to Development: The Role of International Law (Geneva: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 2008).
Marks, S. P. and Andreassen, B. A. (eds.), Development as a Human Right: Legal, Political and Economic Dimensions, new edn (Antwerp: Intersentia, 2010).
Mazur, R. E., ‘Realization or Deprivation of the Right to Development under Globalization? Debt, Structural Adjustment and Poverty Reduction Programs’, GeoJournal 60 (2004), 61.Google Scholar
McInerney-Lankford, S. and Sano, H. O., Human Rights Indicators in Development: An Introduction (Washington, DC: World Bank Publications, 2010).
Meier, B. M., ‘Advancing Health Rights in a Globalized World: Responding to Globalization through a Collective Human Right to Public Health’, Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 35(2007), 545.Google Scholar
Mitlin, D. and Hickey, S., Rights-Based Approaches to Development: Exploring the Potential and Pitfalls (Sterling, VA: Kumarian Press, 2009).
Paulus, C. G., ‘Odious Debts v. Debt Trap: a Realistic Help’?, Brooklyn Journal of International Law (Brook. J. Int’l L.) 31 (2005), 83.Google Scholar
Sengupta, A., ‘On the Theory and Practice of the Right to Development,HRQ 24 (2002), 837.Google Scholar
Udombana, N. J., ‘The Third World and the Right to Development: Agenda for a New Millennium’, HRQ 22 (2000), 753.Google Scholar
UNDP, Human Development Report (Oxford University Press, 1990), 9
Watson-Williams, C., Realising Rights through Social Guarantees: The Case of Jamaica, Final Report Submitted to the World Bank (June 2008), 5–8
UNDP, Human Development Report: The Real Wealth of Nations (New York: Palgrave, 2010), 6
Primo-Braga, C. A., and Dömeland, D., (eds.), Debt Relief and Beyond: Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2009)
OHCHR, Claiming the Millennium Development Goals: A Human Rights Approach (New York, Geneva: UN, 2008), 11
Bedjaoui, M., International Law: Achievements and Prospects (Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff, 1991), 1177
Marks, S., ‘The Human Right to Development: between Rhetoric and Reality’, Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 17 (2004), 137 Google Scholar
Lastra, R. M., Legal Foundations of International Monetary Stability (Oxford University Press, 2006), 429–31
Alston, P. and Quinn, G., ‘The Nature and Scope of Parties’ Obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’, HRQ 9 (1987), 156 Google Scholar
Archibald, J. E., ‘Pledges of Voluntary Contributions to the United Nations by Member States: Establishing and Enforcing Legal Obligations’, Geo. Wash. Int’l L. Rev. 36 (2004), 317 Google Scholar
Sabel, R., Procedure at International Conferences (Cambridge University Press, 1997), 21ff
OECD Journal on Development (2006)
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs ex parte World Development Movement [1995]
Action-Oriented Policy Paper on Human Rights and Development in 2007
However, in Evaluating Development Cooperation: Summary of Key Norms and Standards (2010), 13–14
Khandker, S., ‘Microfinance and Poverty: Evidence using Panel Data from Bangladesh’, World Bank Economic Review 19 (2005), 263 Google Scholar
Driscoll, K., ‘Microcredit: not yet Panacea to End Trafficking in Women’, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law (U. Pa. J. Bus. L.) 13 (2010), 275 Google Scholar
Goldberg, N., Measuring the Impact of Microfinance: Taking Stock of What we Know (Washington, DC: Grameen Foundation USA, 2005), 42–3
Islam, T., Microcredit and Poverty Alleviation (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), 82–3
Bernasek, A., ‘Banking on Social Change: Grameen Bank Lending to Women’, International Journal of Political Culture and Society 16 (2003), 369 Google Scholar
Barry, C., ‘Sovereign Debt, Human Rights and Policy Conditionality’, Journal of Political Philosophy 19 (2011), 282 Google Scholar
Raffer, K. and Singer, H., The Foreign Aid Business: Economic Assistance and Development Cooperation (Cheltenham, Brookfield, VT: Edward Elgar, 1996)
Raffer, K., ‘International Financial Institutions and Financial Accountability’, Ethics and International Affairs 18 (2004), 61 Google Scholar
Cheng, T. H., ‘Renegotiating the Odious Debt Doctrine’, Law and Contemporary Problems 70 (2007), 7 Google Scholar
Howse, R., The Concept of Odious Debt in Public International Law, UNCTAD Discussion Paper no. 185 (2007), 10ff
Kofele-Kale, N., ‘The Right to a Corruption-free Society as an Individual and Collective Human Right: Elevating Official Corruption to a Crime under International Law’, International Lawyer (Int’l Law.) 34 (2000), 149 Google Scholar
Keulers, P., Corruption, Poverty and Development, ADB/OECD Regional Anti-corruption conference, Background paper (28–30 September 2005), 1
Nye, J. S., ‘Corruption and Political Development: A Cost–benefit Analysis’, American Political Science Review 61 (1967), 417 Google Scholar
IBRD, A Decade of Measuring the Quality of Governance: Governance Matters, Worldwide Indicators (Washington, DC: IBRD, 2006), 9ff
Gathii, J. T., ‘Defining the Relationship between Human Rights and Corruption’, U. Pa. J. Intl L. 31 (2009–10), 125 Google Scholar
Redgwell, C., ‘Life, Universe and Everything: a Critique of Anthropocentric Rights’, in Boyle, A. and Anderson, M., (eds.), Human Rights Approaches to Environmental Protection (Oxford University Press, 1996), 71
Marangopoulos Foundation for Human Rights v. Greece, Complaint no. 30/2005, ECSR decision on merits (6 December 2006)
TN Godavaraman Thirumulpad v. Union of India and Others (2008)
Bombay Dyeing and Mfg Co. Ltd v. Bombay Environmental Action Group and Others, AIR (2006)
Essar Oil Ltd v. Halar Utkarsh Samiti and Others (2004)
Intellectual Forum, Tirupathi v. State of Andhra Pradesh and Others, (2006) 2 SC 568
Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum v. Union of India (1996)
Farooque v. Bangladesh (1997)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats