Implementing the Technical Guidance

Workshop in Malawi Draws Key Players

Stakeholders gather in Malawi for meeting on HRBAs.
Stakeholders gather in Malawi for meeting on HRBAs.

November 2013 — The Technical Guidance on a Rights-Based Approach to Maternal Mortality and Morbidity, drafted by FXB faculty member Alicia Ely Yamin, was featured at a recent workshop in Malawi organized by various UN agencies as a step in a multi-part project dedicated to developing the tools to operationalize and evaluate implementation of human rights-based approaches (HRBA) to health. The objective of the meeting was to train and mobilize in-country health policymakers and representatives of national human rights institutions on HRBAs to maternal and child health, including issues of sexual and reproductive health. Yamin and FXB Program Coordinator Rebecca Cantor participated in the meeting, and facilitated sessions on accountability and how to use the Guidance.

The FXB Center is a consultant on the project and will provide a range of stakeholders with specific operational tools to implement their obligations under the Technical Guidance, which will not only relate to rights-based approaches to sexual and reproductive health, but also to the prevention of child mortality.

In 2012, Yamin drafted the Technical Guidance for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which is the first such concrete guidance on a human rights-based approach (HRBA) to be adopted by resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The Technical Guidance sets a landmark precedent in terms of operationalizing HRBAs with implications that go far beyond maternal and sexual and reproductive health. The UN Human Rights Council called for a report on implementation activities after two years, marking a historic shift from its emphasis on maternal morbidity and mortality as a human rights concern to a focus on the actual blueprint for putting HRBAs into practice. While preceding reports highlighted the link between maternal morbidity and mortality and human rights, the Technical Guidance goes further by providing detailed assistance to policymakers on how to combat maternal deaths and illnesses in accordance with human rights standards.

Yamin is the Director of the Health Rights of Women and Children Program at the FXB Center. Read more about the program and dissemination activities related to the Technical Guidance here.