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Human Rights and Sustainable Development: Law and Policy Research

The main thematic focus of this research group is the interconnection between human rights and sustainable development.

About the group

Our research focuses on the normative, legal, institutional, political and policy analyses of such interconnections. We find immediate inspiration in a range of contemporary challenges associated with change and development, and underpinned by key global processes. The group is multi-disciplinary and explores how these processes impact on human rights, and, reciprocally, how human rights norms give important direction to development.

The new global agenda Transforming our world: The 2030 agenda for sustainable development demands new knowledge about the actors, processes and institutions of and for change. Even if the agenda is weak in making explicit links to human rights, it requires human rights grounding as part of the concept of sustainability and prospective ways and institutions for conducting development. The significance for the role of human rights is further reflected in Sustainable Development Goal 16, as well as other substantive and “process” goals. The group aims to contribute to develop such grounding through theoretical and empirical research.

Areas of priority

  • Business and Human Rights: the role of non-state actors, and the responsibilities of commercial actors for human rights.
  • Shrinking Political Space: the increased number of laws and policies curtailing the work of human rights defenders worldwide.  
  • Sustainability and Poverty: 'the right to the city' and an adequate standard of living in a rapidly urbanising world.

Exploring economic, social and cultural rights

Broadly, the research group explores economic, social and cultural human rights using legal and other social science approaches. Poverty, marginalization and increasing inequalities within and across states are serious human rights concerns, and the research group will continue supporting research on selected rights and marginalized and vulnerable groups (e.g. persons living with disabilities). The policy and institutional perspectives on such threats and challenges related to respecting and implementing human rights include research on governance, and the inter-relationship between types of governance regimes and socio-economic rights fulfilment.

Methods of work

The research group offers an environment for discussing ongoing research, and for developing new research projects for research grant applications. The group has a research assistance that helps organizing workshops, meetings and presentations by group members and visiting scholars. The research group also facilitates collaboration with other academic institutions. 


Published Oct. 20, 2017 3:27 PM - Last modified Oct. 24, 2022 2:40 PM