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Collaborative research agenda on human rights NGOs and adoption of ESC rights with Prof. Paul Nelson, University of Pittsburgh

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On Nov. 10, 2009, Prof. Paul Nelson of the University of Pittsburgh and well-known scholar on Rights Based Approaches in development visited the Transnational NGO Initiative. He is the author, among others, of New Rights Advocacy (Georgetown University Press, 2008), while his current research agenda focuses among others on linkages between the Millenium Development Goals and human rights-driven approaches. Prof. Nelson is also well-known for his earlier publications on civil society influence vis-a-vis the World Bank and other forms of intergovernmental organizations.


Jointly, we developed a collaborative research agenda on human rights NGOs and Economic, Social and Cultural (ESC) right adoption, in which we will endeavor to examine the following questions:

  1. What are the motivations as well as barriers to adoption of ESC rights among human rights NGOs?
  2. How does implementation and 'mainstreaming' of ESC rights happen within these NGOs? What are some of the organizational incentives and constraints in such adoption? What are some of the organizational change dimensions ?
  3. To what extent are human rights NGOs attempting to assess the early impacts of ESC advocacy? What methods are used to do so? What are early signs of outcomes?
  4. What are the implications of ESC adoption for the need for NGOs to strengthen their citizen constituency?

We hope to start to address this research agenda in 2010, and aim to consult ESC practitioners within the NGO community about its scope and questions as well as about its outcomes, as they emerge.

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