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The Activities

The UN Inter-Agency Asia-Pacific Lessons Learned Project (LLP) on the Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) to Development was housed in the South East Asia Regional Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Bangkok, Thailand during Stages One, Two, Three, and during the first year of Stage Four. The Project is currently hosted by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. 

Stage One 

Stage Two
of the Project, which began in October 2004, sought to provide practical examples of how the HRBA has been applied in practice in the Asia-Pacific region and to write up the lessons learned in the form of country-specific case studies. The resulting case studies have come from the work of the UN, development cooperation agencies, NGOs and civil society organisations (CSOs) in nine countries from within the Asia-Pacific region.

of the Project saw the convening of a Practitioners’ Forum, which first met in March 2003. The forum meets quarterly and brings together development practitioners from UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), development cooperation agencies and diplomatic offices with the  objective of exploring the relationship between development and human rights and to provide space for the exchange of practical experiences on integrating human rights into development programmes. 

The convening of a regional consultation in September 2005, involving 100 UN agencies, development cooperation agencies, NGOs and other local development partners, was at the core of Stage Three. The consultation took stock of HRBA programmes and experiences in the region and presented the lessons identified from the case studies conducted in Stage Two. It also identified knowledge and capacity gaps that are still hindering the integration of the HRBA into the UN’s development work in the region, and suggested ways forward to address such capacity gaps.

In 2006, the Project entered Stage Four. Six pilot projects were chosen and the impact of the introduction of HRBA into these pre-existing programmes was documented. The lessons learned from implementing these pilots helped ascertain the challenges and benefits of adopting a HRBA, thus continuing the advancement of a deeper practical understanding of the operationalization of  human rights  in development practice.

The six projects selected, included:

  1. Access to Justice of Vulnerable Groups in Afghanistan – undertaken by UNDP Afghanistan
  2. Developing Capacities of Fijian Women to Access Adequate Housing and Land Rights –  undertaken by the Regional Resources and Rights Team (RRRT) Project in collaboration with the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (a Fijian national NGO)
  3. Building Capacities of Duty-bearers and Claim-Holders in Implementing Rights-Based Approaches in the Water and Environmental Sanitation Programme in Lao PDR – undertaken by UNICEF Lao PDR in collaboration with the Laos Ministry of Environmental Health and Sanitation
  4. Building Capacities of Displaced Herder Groups in Mongolia – undertaken by EV-ARON (a Mongolian NGO) in collaboration with the Mongolian National Human Rights Commission and UNDP Mongolia
  5. Building Capacities of Duty-Bearers and Claim-Holders in Select Community Learning Centers in Northern Thailand via UNESCO/UNICEF Interventions – undertaken by UNESCO Thailand in collaboration with UNICEF Thailand
  6. Communicating Human Rights in Viet Nam: A Pilot Project on Human Rights- Based Approaches (HRBA) in the Training of Journalists – undertaken by the Vietnamese Institute for Human Rights (VIHR) in collaboration with UNESCO Viet Nam.

Actual implementation of the pilot projects started in June/July 2006 and were completed by June 2008.


Stakeholders Workshop

Undertaking a Human Rights-Based Approach: Lessons Learned from the Asia Pacific Region , 8-9 September 2008, Bangkok, Thailand 

This workshop was designed to consolidate and discuss the findings of the various projects; the lessons learned, challenges and outcomes in adopting a Human Rights-Based Approach to Development. Participants included key project stakeholders from the six countries as well as an expert advisory group who shared and explored the lessons learned from the process. This workshop significantly informed the final report of the Lessons Learned Project to be completed by October 2008. Read more.

For more information about the Project, please contact:

Johan Lindeberg , Associate Expert in Education and Human Rights,  Asia Pacific Programme of Education for All (APPEAL), UNESCO, Bangkok. Tel:  +66... ext 312; Fax: +66 2 391 0866; Email: