ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT: TWO-FACED JANUS
The economic matter has been followed by the main United Nations' organs since the very first years of life of the Organization, especially by the most developed member States. The contrast is between the interests of rich Countries and poor ones; in this setting, in the 80s of the last century, an increasing interest for human rights, rule of law and democracy had been formed and, in the next decade their strict connection with economic and environmental problems were getting stronger. From this precondition two important but uncertain definitions arise: human development and sustainable development.
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has a key role in the economic cooperation among the States; its resolutions are essential in lay down the guidelines for the economic development, despite these are not binding. So remember the "Declaration and the Action Plan for the establishment of the new international economic order" and the "International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights", both marked by the principle of the international social justice. The ECOSOC is supported by the Human Rights Council, a subsidiary body of the General Assembly that succeeded to the Human Rights Commission in 2006, and the UNDP (United Nation Development Program) which has got operational functions and the UNCTAD (United Nation Conference on Trade and Development) which has got legislative powers.
Within these organs, a lot of acts and declarations of principles were adopted; these acts and declarations have had a huge impact on the economic and human development, walking on parallel tracks and meeting where the economic interest collides with human rights; in this regard, it is useful to recall the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights", especially the res. 07/05/2012 n. 20/10 with which the Guidelines Principles on Foreign Debt and Human Rights were adopted; a wide progress in the cooperation for the sustainable economic development between developed States and developing ones. The advice of the expert responsible for the drafting of these guidelines gives us the interpretation of this cooperation: there are some recommendations on the restructuring of the sovereign debt of each State that, in its sovereignty, would be free to decide how to renovate it, which instruments they can use for the economic progress (nationalizing businesses, use of certain technologies, for example), how to protect their citizens, especially how to protect them from the possible employers' abuses, how to prevent them and which remedies they can use to correct these abuses: these are better known as duty to protect, responsibility to respect, access to remedies. The second of these duties is for the employers, to whom the adoption of the due diligence may be required, in order to prevent or reduce a potential human rights violation.
At the beginning of this essay, two fundamental points were introduced: human development and sustainable development, two very unsure definitions that deserve to be explored. Human Development, according to the Nobel Prize Amartya Sen's opinion is "the process aimed at expanding people's opportunities of choice". This description gives us back a view that goes beyond the mere economic development of liberal kind, meant by international organizations, including UN, and lands to a more human view of the phenomenon, considering several other variations that give us a more complete and true portrait of the economic situation of a Nation; life expectancy at birth, access to education and income per person are the three fundamental indexes used today to measure the real economic development of a Nation, also know as Human Development Index. This observation induces a huge critics to the UN work, considering that a very few progresses were made to realize the economic development without frustrating human rights and, maybe it isn't right to blame the organization itself, because of the continuous bans opposed by member States in the organs in charge to make binding decisions, sometimes because of political contrasts, other times because of economical interests of the major developed States, or because of the contraposition among the traditional development and the sustainable one; this one is that kind of development sensitive to preservation of the environment and the human health. Actually the art. 3 of the Rio Declaration on environment and development of 1992 caused a lot of rifts because it rules that "The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations" with a special responsibility of the developed Countries, strengthening existing partnership agreements and encouraging other ones with developing Countries in order to reduce the divergences of interests; it is clear how in poorer Nations the environmental protection is sacrificed in favour of the economic development , generating contrasts with richer Countries. This is why the responsibility of the pursuing of the sustainable development is on the most developed richest States, that are more sensitive to this matter and in possession of the major technologies. From the 60s onward, the General Assembly started to adopt the ten years framework of programs that provide the goals for the next decade. These programs were replaced by the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and by the Sustainable development goals. These goals are parts of a larger and ambitious project that combines the economic and environmental development and the human development, as human being, student and worker; it isn't accidental that the first goals is "No Poverty" that concerns with the end of global poverty. The next two goals are "Good health and well-being" and "Quality education" that are also some of the universally recognised human rights. Thereafter there are other goals concerned with food security, waters quality, the creation of urban spaces of inclusion in order to reduce the inequalities; to this multitude of goals we have to add the plans proposed by the member States and approved by the UNDP. The Paris agreements, signed in 2015, and later abandoned by the USA, are the crowning of this ambitious proposal.
Human and economic development only the background of the maintenance of the global security of whose UN are responsible; for this reason the UNDP, in a 1994 report, introduced the notion of "Human Security". The traditional definition of National Security is placed side by side with a larger concept that includes not only the defence of the borders, the defence of the citizens from the villains but also other kinds of threats: the terrorism, the pollution, the unemployment and the food safety, painting a new portrait of the Security into the national legal systems and eroding the reserved domain. In order to induce the member States to achieve these goals and uphold the commitments made, the United Nation have engaged a lot of non-compliance procedures against those Countries that, several times, committed gross violations of the international law.
In conclusion some essential questions stand: how we can enforce these agreements? What is the status of the United Nations pursuing the human and economic development?
To answer to the second question we have to refer to the Charter of the United Nations, art. 10: "The General Assembly [...] may make recommendations to the member States [..]"; the bodies of whose we talked about are subsidiary bodies of the General Assembly, so their decisions aren't binding, but their political and moral strength is very strong. There is still a lot of work to do in the economic and human development domain, but a lot of passes forward were made thanks to these declarations and the UNDP programs. However the UN bodies themselves are a bit unbelieving about the goals: the 2030 Agenda was often defined as an utopian project, difficult to realise because a lot of Countries agree only for propaganda and in order to enhance their public image; the USA withdrawal from the Paris Agreements is another sign of difficulty, especially because of their responsibility to encourage the sustainable development as one of the more developed Country; lots of States signed these agreements but systematically infringe the human rights; there is also another pathological matter that concerns the continuous lack of financial supports for these projects, because of the voluntariness of the same, even though today the praxis of the subscription of the costs in the budget is spreading.
So the most of the progress depends on the member States and the United Nations themselves, and the best proposal is that the sensibility to the matter becomes higher and higher in all the Countries that have contributed in a less significant way to the economic and human development.