Technical Cooperation

Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights

OHCHR report 2014Since the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the importance of ensuring that human rights are protected under the rule of law has been emphasized by the United Nations and has guided its programmes for the promotion and protection of human rights around the world. Accordingly, the United Nations Technical Cooperation Programme in the Field of Human Rights has been engaged since 1955 in assisting States, at their request, in the building and strengthening of national structures that have a direct impact on the overall observance of human rights and the maintenance of the rule of law. Improving daily lives of people ensuring leaving no one behind, is at the heart of our OHCHR's technical assistance.  The United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda with its goals to 2030 is an all- governments supported agenda for delivery of very concrete advances in the realization of people's human rights. The technical cooperation programme in the field of human rights is an important vehicle to support States in this endeavour.

What Technical Cooperation is?

"Effective technical cooperation is one of the keys to prevention. Prevention of suffering; prevention of discrimination and marginalisation; prevention of conflict", United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Technical cooperation is a critical component of OHCHR's programme supporting States in their efforts for the promotion and protection of human rights and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Through technical cooperation and advisory services, OHCHR provides practical assistance for the building of national and regional human rights infrastructures. It is funded through the regular budget and through voluntary contributions to OHCHR.

The technical cooperation programme is framed within the OHCHR's priorities, expected results and strategies. It is informed by seven components identified by the United Nations Board of Trustees for the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights for efficient technical cooperation:

  • Indivisibility of all rights / Civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights
    The importance of anchoring technical cooperation to the universality and indivisibility of all human rights (civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights) including both protection and promotion aspects.
  • Support to national frameworks and institutions for human rights protection
    The critical importance of building and strengthening national frameworks and institutions in the field of human rights through technical cooperation and advisory services.
  • Follow/up of recommendations by human rights mechanisms 
    Technical cooperation should be offered to support implementation of and follow-up on recommendations by human rights mechanisms including UPR.
  • National Development Objectives and 2030 Sustainable Development Goals
    Effective human rights technical cooperation should be reflecting and inform national development objectives to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Partnerships with all entities on the ground
    The importance of partnerships with all entities on the ground.
  • Participation  
    The need for technical cooperation programmes to ensure the broadest possible participation of all elements of national societies.
  • Human rights integration in UN programmes and operations in each country and region
    Technical cooperation in the field of human rights to be effective should be mainstreamed throughout the work of all United Nations programmes and operations in each country and region.

Such assistance takes the form of expert advisory services, training courses, workshops and seminars, fellowships, grants, provision of information and documentation, and assessment of domestic human right's needs. The programme is anchored on the engagement with the International Human Rights Mechanisms.

Components of the programme include for example provision of legal advice on human rights issues for their incorporation in policies and practices; facilitation of learning, knowledge transfer and sharing of experience in the realization and promotion of human rights and strengthening of national institutions; deliver human rights education programmes as to promote a human rights culture; raising human rights awareness; communicating on successful programmes and partnerships; facilitating dialogue between diverse stakeholders on human rights issues and supporting engagement and functioning of the International Human Rights Mechanisms.