Right of Everyone to an Adequate Standard of Living

United Nations World Conference Documents

ICPD para 3.16 – to raise the quality of life for all people through appropriate population and development policies and programmes aimed at achieving poverty eradication, sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development and sustainable patterns of consumption and production, human resource development and the guarantee of all human rights, including the right to development as a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of fundamental human rights.

ICPD+5 para 15 – Governments should (a) Intensify efforts to equip planners and decision makers with a better understanding of the relationships among population, poverty, gender inequity and inequality, health, education . . . ; para. 21 – Governments should (a) continue to examine the economic and social implications of demographic change and how they relate to development planning concerns and the needs of individuals; (c)Governments should: Support research and develop comprehensive strategies at the national, regional and local levels to meet, where appropriate, the challenges of population ageing. Invest more resources in gender-sensitive research as well as in training and capacity-building in social policies and health care of older persons, especially the elderly poor, paying special attention to the economic and social security of older persons, in particular older women; affordable, accessible and appropriate health care services; the human rights and dignity of older persons and the productive and useful roles that they can play in society; support systems to enhance the ability of families and communities to care for older family members; the ability of the elderly to care for family members and community victims of HIV/AIDS; and generational solidarity with the goal of maintaining and improving social cohesion.

ICPD para. 6.25 – Governments and other important institutions in society should recognize the distinct perspective of indigenous people on aspects of populations and development…. should address their specific needs, including needs for primary health care and reproductive health services.

Beijing para. 58 c. – Pursue and implement sound and stable macroeconomic and sectoral policies that are designed and monitored with the full and equal participation of women, encourage broad-based sustained economic growth, address the structural causes of poverty and are geared towards eradicating poverty and reducing gender-based inequality within the overall framework of achieving people-centred sustainable development; para. 60 a. – Mobilize all parties involved in the development process, including academic institutions, non-governmental organizations and grass-roots and women's groups, to improve the effectiveness of anti-poverty programmes directed towards the poorest and most disadvantaged groups of women, such as rural and indigenous women, female heads of household, young women and older women, refugees and migrant women and women with disabilities, recognizing that social development is primarily the responsibility of Governments.

WSSD(1) II 6 (f) – Deliver basic health services for all and reduce environmental health threats, taking into account the special needs of children and the linkages between poverty, health and environment, with provision of financial resources, technical assistance and knowledge transfer to developing countries and countries with economies in transition; para 47. – Strengthen the capacity of health-care systems to deliver basic health services to all, in an efficient, accessible and affordable manner aimed at preventing, controlling and treating diseases, and to reduce environmental health threats, in conformity with human rights and fundamental freedoms and consistent with national laws and cultural and religious values, taking into account the reports of relevant United Nations conferences and summits and of special sessions of the General Assembly. This would include actions at all levels to: (a) Integrate the health concerns, including those of the most vulnerable populations, into strategies, policies and programmes for poverty eradication and sustainable development;

WCAR(2) POA para. 33 – Recommends that host countries of migrants consider the provision of adequate social services, in particular in the areas of health, education and adequate housing, as a matter of priority, in cooperation with the United Nations agencies, the regional organizations and international financial bodies; also requests that these agencies provide an adequate response to requests for such services.


CEDAW(3) article 3 – States Parties shall take in all fields . . . all appropriate measures, including legislation, to ensure the full development and advancement of women, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms on a basis of equality with men;
article 10 – equal rights in the field of education; article 11 – equal rights in the field of employment; equal rights in the field of health; article 14 (2) – States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in rural areas . . . in particular, shall ensure to such women the right (h) To enjoy adequate living conditions, particularly in relation to housing, sanitation, electricity and water supply, transport and communications.

CESCR(4) article 3 – States Parties to ensure the the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights set forth in the present Covenant; article 6 (2) . . . technical and vocational guidance and training programmes, policies and techniques to achieve steady economic, social and cultural development . . .; article 7 – the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and favorable conditions of work . . . article 9 – States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the to social security, including social insurance; article 11 (1) – States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. . . ; article 12 … the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; article 13 – the right of everyone to education

CCPR(5) article 3 – The States parties to the present Covenant undertake to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights set forth in the present Covenant.

CRC(6) article 6 (1) – States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life; (2) States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child; article 27 – States recognize the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.


1. WSSD: World Summit on Sustainable Development

2. WCAR: World Conference Against Racism

3. CEDAW: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

4. CESCR: International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

5. CCPR: Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

6. CRC: Convention on the Rights of the Child