For over 35 years since the right to development gained formal recognition as a human right, it has remained the subject of a highly politicised debate. Unfortunately, as former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay noted on the occasion of the commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development in 2011, the politicised debate ‘has done little to free the right to development from the conceptual mud and political quicksand in which it has been mired all these years’. Conceptually, the right to development entails concrete action to ensure its realisation. Following the universal recognition of the right to development in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action in 1993 and the undertakings under other international instruments to make its realisation a reality, it is crucial to determine to what extend these commitments have been actualised.

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2nd International Conference on the Right to Development
Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa
15 – 17 August 2018
Conference Theme:  Insights into Policies and Practices on the Right to Development

Concept Note – Call for Abstracts

On the basis of this background information, we plan to have the 2nd International Conference at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria to explore Insights into Policies and Practices on the Right to Development from a multidisciplinary point of view.The conference is intended to bring together legal experts, scholars and emerging researchers, development practitioners and well as policy makers in the areas of human rights and development and related disciplines to share knowledge on measures relating to the implementation of the right to development across the world. We anticipate the conference to provide the opportunity for collaboration and networking to advance the debate on the right to development globally.

Contributions are expected to focus on the following issues around which panel discussions will be organised: (1) Realisation/implementation of the right to development; (2) Sustainable Development Goals and the right to development; and (3) The impact of climate change on the realisation of the right to development.

The three-day conference, which is scheduled to take place from 26 to 28 September 2018, will feature individual presentations of conference papers, panel discussions on selected topics among other side events. Selected contributions shall be published in a peer-reviewed edited book (compilation of chapters) and others (if need be) in a special edition of an accredited journal. Selection of papers for the book publication will be based on the academic quality and relevance of the subject to the conference theme. Final submissions will also be subject to peer review before publication. The review and editing of the final collection will be done under the auspices of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria in collaboration with the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute and the American Society of International Law.

The project is planned to run according to the following timelines:

  • 15 February 2018
    Deadline for receiving abstracts
  • 28 February 2018
    Notification of accepted abstracts
  • 30 June 2018
    Cut-off date for completed draft papers
  • 15 – 17 August 2018
  • 1 July – 31 August 2018
    Peer-review and selection of papers for publication
  • 1 September – 30 November 2018
    Editing and compilation of chapters.
  • 1 – 31 December 2018

Abstracts of between 300 to 500 words should be sent to Carol: Carol.Ngang@up.ac.za on or before 15 February 2018. Selection of papers for the conference will be subject to a preliminary peer-review of the abstracts received.


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