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The Concept of “Equity” as a Component of the Right to Development

Toremalm, Rebecka LU (2013) JURM02 20131
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Rätten till utveckling antogs år 1986 och är idag en ”soft law” norm som syftar till att integrera mänskliga rättigheter och utveckling. Rättigheten har alltsedan den antogs varit en kontroversiell del i systemet om mänskliga rättigheter och har blivit hårt kritiserad på grund av dess vaga formulering. Även om den rådande uppfattningen fortfarande är att rätten till utveckling inte är avsedd för rättslig tillämpning har den allmänna diskussionen alltmer förflyttas till att utveckla konkreta åtgärder för att realisera rättighetens olika komponenter. Ett av de mest centrala begreppen i rätten till utveckling anses ofta vara grundtanken om en rättvisekomponent (equity), vilket också är en av rättighetens mest otydliga beståndsdelar som... (More)
Rätten till utveckling antogs år 1986 och är idag en ”soft law” norm som syftar till att integrera mänskliga rättigheter och utveckling. Rättigheten har alltsedan den antogs varit en kontroversiell del i systemet om mänskliga rättigheter och har blivit hårt kritiserad på grund av dess vaga formulering. Även om den rådande uppfattningen fortfarande är att rätten till utveckling inte är avsedd för rättslig tillämpning har den allmänna diskussionen alltmer förflyttas till att utveckla konkreta åtgärder för att realisera rättighetens olika komponenter. Ett av de mest centrala begreppen i rätten till utveckling anses ofta vara grundtanken om en rättvisekomponent (equity), vilket också är en av rättighetens mest otydliga beståndsdelar som hitintills inte har blivit tillräckligt definierad. Begreppet härstammar från ett krav framfört av utvecklingsländer i början av 1970-talet som innebar upprättande av en mer rättvis ekonomisk världsordning och beskrivs ofta som ett normativt kon- cept som skall genomsyra verkställandet av rätten till utveckling. Konceptet “equity” definieras dock sällan i litteraturen, i vilken det ofta används utan distinktion från andra jämförbara termer som ”justice” och ”fairness”, varför det i nuläget inte finns någon tydlig definition för vad det betyder.
Syftet med denna uppsats är att utreda betydelsen av ”equity” i diskursen om rätten till utveckling. Studien omfattar två huvuddelar, vari den första handlar om att undersöka betydelsen av ”equity” i den specifika kontexten av rätten till utveckling. I brist på en tydlig definition av begreppet har fokus varit att identifiera diskussioner kring den begreppsmässiga utgångspunkten för ”equity” som skulle kunna ligga till grund för utvecklandet av metoder för framtida verkställighet. Eftersom diskussionerna kring ”equity” är mycket begränsade inom diskursen om rätten till utveckling, angrips problemet även från ett tvärvetenskapligt perspektiv. Den andra delen av studien analyserat hur ”equity” skildras i två andra akademiska discipliner, internationell rätt och utvecklingsdiskurs, inom vilka ”equity” beskrivs som en grundläggande princip med stor praktisk betydelse.
Den generella slutsats som kan dras från undersökningen är att ”equity” är ett komplext begrepp med olika betydelser beroende av sammanhanget. Dock har två huvudsakliga uppfattningar kunnat konstateras. I internationell rätt används ”equity” främst som en form av kompensatorisk rättvisa som tillämpas i det specifika fallet när en strikt tillämpning av lagen skulle ge en oskälig utgång. Den andra betydelsen av ”equity” uttrycks som en distributiv rättvisa och gäller fördelningen av resurser i samhället. Detta är också den typ av rättvisa som främst återspeglas i nutida rättviseteorier och som även utgör utgångspunkten för diskussioner om ”equity” i utvecklings- diskursen. Med utgångspunkt från resultatet av denna studie är ”equity”, i relation till rätten till utveckling, bäst definierat som en form av distributiv rättvisa som syftar till att tillförsäkra alla människor lika möjligheter och en proportionerlig del i fördelningen av samhällsresurser. Diskussionen kring ”equity” inom rätten till utveckling är dock inte tillräckligt omfattande för att kunna dra några långtgående slutsatser, utan för att rätten till utveckling ska kunna bli verkställd i framtiden krävs fortsatt arbete med att konkretisera komponenten om ”equity”. (Less)
Abstract
The Right to Development (RtD) was adopted in 1986 and is today a soft law norm that seeks to integrate human rights and development. Since its adoption the RtD has been surrounded by much controversy in the human rights framework and has been widely criticized for being too vague on its most basic concepts. Although the dominant view is still that the RtD is unsuitable for legal implementation, the general discussion has shifted towards elaborating concrete measures in order to realize the different elements of the right. What is commonly referred to as one of the most central features of the RtD is the concept of equity, which is also identified as one of the most ambiguous elements of the right that, so far, has not been adequately... (More)
The Right to Development (RtD) was adopted in 1986 and is today a soft law norm that seeks to integrate human rights and development. Since its adoption the RtD has been surrounded by much controversy in the human rights framework and has been widely criticized for being too vague on its most basic concepts. Although the dominant view is still that the RtD is unsuitable for legal implementation, the general discussion has shifted towards elaborating concrete measures in order to realize the different elements of the right. What is commonly referred to as one of the most central features of the RtD is the concept of equity, which is also identified as one of the most ambiguous elements of the right that, so far, has not been adequately defined. Originating from a claim made by developing countries in the early 1970s to establish a more equitable international economic order, the notion of equity is often portrayed as a general normative concept that should permeate the process of implementing the RtD. However, the concept of equity is rarely explained in the literature, wherein it is often used interchangeably with other analogous concepts, such as ‘justice’ and ‘fairness’, failing to express any clear definition on what it means.
The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the meaning of equity in RtD discourse. The study consists of two main parts, where the first is concerned with examining the meaning of equity in the specific context of the RtD. In lack of one coherent definition of the concept, the primary focus has been to identify discussions on the conceptual basis of equity that can serve as the foundation for elaborating future means of implementation. Considering the fact that equity has been given limited attention in relation to the RtD, the second part of the study approaches the issue of equity from an inter- disciplinary perspective by reviewing how equity is portrayed in the context of international law and development discourse, in both of which equity is considered an important principle with significant practical implications.
The general conclusion that can be drawn from this investigation is that equity is a complex concept with different connotations depending on the context in which it appears. However, two main understandings of equity have been identified in the study. The notion of corrective equity has been widely adopted in international law in which equitable principles are applied to the specific case when a strict application of the law would result in an unfair outcome. The second perception is the distributive equity concerned with the distribution of advantages between different members of society. Equity as a form of distributive justice reflects the main concern of contem- porary philosophical justice theory and is also the form of equity found in discussions in development discourse. Based on the findings in this thesis, equity in relation to the RtD is best understood as a form of distributive justice aiming to ensure equality of opportunity for all and a proportionate share in the distribution of social goods. However, the discussion on equity in the RtD is not extensive enough to draw any far-reaching conclusions, and in order for the RtD to be legally implemented in the future there needs to be continued efforts in concretizing the element of equity. (Less)
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author
Toremalm, Rebecka LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20131
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Public international law
language
English
id
3802693
date added to LUP
2013-06-19 08:21:46
date last changed
2014-09-23 13:38:19
@misc{3802693,
  abstract     = {The Right to Development (RtD) was adopted in 1986 and is today a soft law norm that seeks to integrate human rights and development. Since its adoption the RtD has been surrounded by much controversy in the human rights framework and has been widely criticized for being too vague on its most basic concepts. Although the dominant view is still that the RtD is unsuitable for legal implementation, the general discussion has shifted towards elaborating concrete measures in order to realize the different elements of the right. What is commonly referred to as one of the most central features of the RtD is the concept of equity, which is also identified as one of the most ambiguous elements of the right that, so far, has not been adequately defined. Originating from a claim made by developing countries in the early 1970s to establish a more equitable international economic order, the notion of equity is often portrayed as a general normative concept that should permeate the process of implementing the RtD. However, the concept of equity is rarely explained in the literature, wherein it is often used interchangeably with other analogous concepts, such as ‘justice’ and ‘fairness’, failing to express any clear definition on what it means.
The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the meaning of equity in RtD discourse. The study consists of two main parts, where the first is concerned with examining the meaning of equity in the specific context of the RtD. In lack of one coherent definition of the concept, the primary focus has been to identify discussions on the conceptual basis of equity that can serve as the foundation for elaborating future means of implementation. Considering the fact that equity has been given limited attention in relation to the RtD, the second part of the study approaches the issue of equity from an inter- disciplinary perspective by reviewing how equity is portrayed in the context of international law and development discourse, in both of which equity is considered an important principle with significant practical implications.
The general conclusion that can be drawn from this investigation is that equity is a complex concept with different connotations depending on the context in which it appears. However, two main understandings of equity have been identified in the study. The notion of corrective equity has been widely adopted in international law in which equitable principles are applied to the specific case when a strict application of the law would result in an unfair outcome. The second perception is the distributive equity concerned with the distribution of advantages between different members of society. Equity as a form of distributive justice reflects the main concern of contem- porary philosophical justice theory and is also the form of equity found in discussions in development discourse. Based on the findings in this thesis, equity in relation to the RtD is best understood as a form of distributive justice aiming to ensure equality of opportunity for all and a proportionate share in the distribution of social goods. However, the discussion on equity in the RtD is not extensive enough to draw any far-reaching conclusions, and in order for the RtD to be legally implemented in the future there needs to be continued efforts in concretizing the element of equity.},
  author       = {Toremalm, Rebecka},
  keyword      = {Public international law},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Concept of “Equity” as a Component of the Right to Development},
  year         = {2013},
}