This text introduces the UK chapter of the Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2017 international report, with other contributions from Social Watch, Third World Network, the Global Policy Forum and the Center for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, among others.
“While the Sustainable Development Goals themselves are not framed explicitly in the language of human rights, virtually all of the Goals correspond to the contents of key economic, social and cultural rights.”—UN Secretary-General, December 2016
This report examines the progressive realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and economic and social rights in the UK. Specifically, it focuses on three issues: a) the impact of welfare reforms on the right to an adequate standard of living; b) substantive equality; and c) human rights-based accountability for the implementation of the SDGs.
The present and future of economic and social rights in the UK will depend considerably on the legal and policy consequences of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. In March, the UK communicated formally its intention to leave the EU, and the negotiations only began in late June. What follows will therefore frame economic and social rights in the context of the uncertainty derived from Brexit.