Guidance Note for Applying a Human Rights-Based Approach to Programming in UNFPA

No. of pages: 48

Publication date: 2020-12-10

Author: UNFPA

Publisher: UNFPA

Elevating Rights and Choices for All: Guidance Note for Applying a Human Rights Based Approach to Programming provides a road map for institutionalizing a human rights-based approach in the work of UNFPA. 

It responds to the key challenges and opportunities for advancing the rights-based dimensions of the ICPD today. In doing so, the Guidance Note also supports UNFPA's response to the Secretary-General's 2020 “Call to Action for Human Rights”, which calls for human rights to permeate the work of all the UN system.

Built around three key components for action: i) Equality & Non-discrimination, ii) Quality and iii) Accountability, the Guidance Note provides UNFPA with a clear, strategic, and comprehensive direction for its efforts to elevate the centrality of rights and choices and achieve the transformative rights-based vision of the ICPD.

The Guidance Note provides an explanation of each one of these components, how they relate to UNFPA’s mandate, and outlines key programming steps that can be taken to advance them. It also provides illustrative examples of applying a HRBA across UNFPA’s three transformative results: zero unmet need for contraception; zero preventable maternal deaths; and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices. 

It aims to inspire and guide UNFPA staff in their efforts to operatioalise the human rights based vision of the ICPD.


Three core components of the HRBA to Programming in UNFPA:

1. Equality and Non-Discrimination: Dr. Joia Crear Perry & Global Team, National Birth Equity Collaborative


2. Quality: Melissa Upreti, Vice-Chair of the UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women


3. Accountability: Emilie Filmer-Wilson, Human Rights Adviser, UNFPA


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