Original Research

Human rights as a new development paradigm: A think piece on implications for monitoring and evaluation

Mahesh Patel
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 6, No 1 | a263 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v6i1.263 | © 2018 Mahesh Patel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 August 2017 | Published: 23 May 2018

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Mahesh Patel, African Evaluation Association, Chautauqua Institution, United States

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In the 1960s, development paradigms considered only economic growth. In the 1980s and the 1990s, development paradigms added social development and then human development. This set the tone for the types of goals later embodied in the Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals. A third change is now taking place. Human Rights Instruments have generally recognised that a modern developed society also needs political processes that are transparent and participatory, good governance, a belief that justice will be served, and requires that all forms of discrimination should be recognised and eliminated.

International Human Rights Instruments, such as the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child require regular reporting on progress to independent monitoring bodies in Geneva. Currently, there is low awareness, and low participation, of evaluators in these reporting processes.

This article flags some of the conceptual and operational differences between the human rights approach and a ‘development goals’ approach. In each area of difference, it identifies some of the subjects of analysis that will require evaluators to develop new methods, new allies and even new conceptual frameworks to operate in this new paradigm.


Evaluation; Monitoring; Planning; Development; SDGs; MDGs; Logframe; Human Rights


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