Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA)



SDC institutionalized a Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) to development in 2006 and reconfirmed its commitment to human rights through the adoption of the SDC Guidance on Human Rights in 2019.​ This platform explains what the HRBA is about, how it is applied in Project Cycle Management (PCM), and it highlights experiences by SDC colleagues.

Why a Human Rights Based Approach to development ?

Discrimination and exclusion with regards to access to resources and decision-making are often root causes for poverty and may contribute to tensions and violent conflicts. During t​he past two decades, human rights have been increasingly incorporated into the development agenda, including through the adoption of a Human Rights Based Approach. SDC institutionalized a HRBA through its 2006 Human Rights Policy: Towards a Life in Dignity – Realizing Rights for Poor People. SDC reconfirmed its human rights commitment through the adoption of the SDC Guidance on Human Rights (2019)​.

The HRBA seeks to analyze discrimination and inequalities that lie at the heart of development problems and to transform these practices and the underlying power dynamics. The HRBA is a paradigm shift in that it shifts the notion of development away from charity to one based on rights and corresponding obligations.

By integrating a HRBA, development programs are guided by the following human rights principles and norms:

- Equality and non-discrimination

- Participation and empowerment

- Accountability

- Indivisibility and universality of human rights 

HRBA in Project Cycle Management (PCM)

One of our key commitments with regard to the integration of human rights into development is "to endeavour to apply a human rights-based approach to all our interventions as part of project cycle management" (SDC Guidance on Human Rights (2019), p.9).

To ensure this, it is key to apply the HRBA to every project cycle [eg. context analysis and planning; implementation; M&E]. The document "HRBA to PCM (2022)​" provides extensive advice and key elements to take into account in every cycle. It shall support SDC colleagues in our partner countries as well as at HQ to concretely apply the HRBA in programming. The document can be used for programming as well as for the elaboration of new country programs and/or for human rights context analysis at different levels.