Doc. 14 rev. 1

19 July 2008

Original:  Spanish
















           A.         Equality


           B.         Access to justice


           C.         Access to information and participation




            A.         Right to Social Security


            B.         Right to Health




A.       Considerations to bear in Mind Based on the Experience of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights


B.       Participatory Procedure in the Preparation of Reports


C.       Monitoring Phases


D.       Design of Indicators in Accordance with Local Problems and Determination of Regional Needs and Priorities


E.       Presentation of Reports to the Working Group and their Evaluation.
Need for a Tripartite Working Group





1.                  The Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (hereinafter "the Protocol of San Salvador" (PSS) or "the Protocol") entered into force on November 16, 1999. Article 19 of the Protocol provides that pursuant to the provisions of that article and the corresponding rules to be formulated for this purpose by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), states parties undertake, in accordance to submit periodic reports on the progressive measures they have taken to ensure due respect for the rights set forth in the Protocol. All reports are to be submitted to the Secretary General of the OAS, who shall transmit them to the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the IACHR" or "the Commission"),[1] so that they may examine them.


2.                  On June 7, 2005, the General Assembly of the OAS, by resolution AG/RES. 2074 (XXXV-O/05), adopted "Standards for the Preparation of Periodic Reports pursuant to the Protocol of San Salvador" (hereinafter "the Standards")[2]. This resolution instructed the Permanent Council to make proposals, through the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, on the composition and functioning of a Working Group to examine the national reports, and requested the IACHR "to propose to the Permanent Council for possible adoption […] the progress indicators to be used for each group of protected rights on which information is to be provided, taking into account, among other things, the contributions of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights."


3.                  The Standards do not provide detailed criteria for the IACHR to follow in preparing proposals for a progress indicators model.  In that regard, the Standards only mention that the system of progress indicators should make it possible “to determine, with a reasonable degree of objectivity, distances between the actual situation and the standard or desired goal.”[3]


4.                  In order to move forward with implementation of this mandate, the IACHR convened a meeting of experts that was held on October 25, 2005, in the framework of its 123rd regular session. Among its objectives it was intended that the “Meeting of Experts on Strengthening the Activities of the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,” should make it possible i) to receive input on how the work of the IACHR might best contribute to the advancement of economic, social, and cultural rights in the region without duplicating the regular efforts of other intergovernmental agencies; and, ii) to make suggestions to the Commission on how best to complete the mandate that the General Assembly assigned to it in resolution AG/RES. 2074 (XXXV-O/05).[4]


5.                  This document contains guidelines developed by the Commission for the evaluation and monitoring of economic, social, and cultural rights (hereinafter ESCR or social rights) provided in the Protocol of San Salvador. The aim in so doing is to provide states parties, other agencies of the Inter-American system, and civil society organizations with a tool that serves not only as a basis for the presentation of reports under the Protocol, but also for the design of a permanent internal evaluation mechanism for each State party.  These are methodological guidelines that are not intended to be exhaustive but sufficiently extensive and open to permit the inclusion of adjustments and variations to cater to different local and regional contexts. The aim is to make indicators and qualitative signs of progress consistent with different realities in a context of broad participation and rigorous methodological transparency. 


6.                  The document is divided into six parts. The first describes possible strategies to increase the effectiveness of the standards on economic, social, and cultural rights contained in the Protocol and includes a number of general observations and comments on the reporting system. The second part draws a conceptual distinction between socioeconomic indicators and indicators on rights, in order to make clear the extent to which this proposal does not seek to duplicate the efforts of other specialized agencies that already generate indicators in the region.


7.                  The third part sets out a methodological proposal for quantitative indicators and qualitative signs of progress. It defines and describes three types of indicators and signs: i) structural indicators; ii) process indicators; and, iii) outcome indicators. It also describes three analytical levels or categories by which to organize relevant information: i) incorporation of the right; ii) state capabilities; and, iii) financial context and budgetary commitment.


8.                  The fourth part, in keeping with the recommendations of the Standards, sets out crosscutting issues that make it possible to gauge if favorable conditions exist for persons to access the social rights recognized in the Protocol, as well as the effectiveness of institutional guarantees and domestic protection mechanisms for the rights enshrined in the instrument.  In particular, the document develops three crosscutting issues that would be measured by means of indicators and signs of progress: i) equality; ii) access to justice; and, iii) access to information and to participation.


9.                  In the fifth part, the Commission presents a set of quantitative indicators and qualitative signs of progress on a number of rights recognized in the Protocol using a variety of reference sources, including the guidelines for submitting reports to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other committees of the universal system of protection; as well as the work of special rapporteurs and independent experts. The proposed guidelines are applied at this first stage to the right to social security and the right to health (Arts. 9 and 10 of the Protocol). The aim is to show, using these rights as examples, how this methodology, which is clearly applicable to all the rights set forth in the Protocol, works. 


10.              In the sixth part of the document, the Commission offers a number of suggestions on the procedure to follow in the preparation, presentation, and evaluation of reports under the Protocol, in whose framework the indicators proposed should be applied.


11.              The IACHR considers that these methodological guidelines for the evaluation and monitoring of economic, social and cultural rights are merely the first step in a gradual process that should encompass all the rights protected in the Protocol.  The IACHR believes it necessary to create a discussion and consensus-building forum to stimulate the reporting process, the participation of states and civil society, and, at the same time, the design of permanent domestic monitoring mechanisms in each State party, as well as encouraging them to formulate individual national strategies to ensure realization of the social rights contained in the Protocol.


[1] The Protocol originally provided that all reports should be submitted to the Inter-American Economic and Social Council and the Inter-American Council for Education, Science and Culture. By amendment to the Charter of the OAS, those Councils were merged into the Inter-American Council for Integral Development in 1996.

[2] The process for submission and evaluation of reports is as follows: States should submit progress reports every three years. Analysis of each report shall commence within 60 days after its receipt, with the participation of all the organs or agencies of the inter-American system mentioned in Article 19 of the Protocol of San Salvador. The written reports of CIDI, the IACHR, and other organs and agencies shall be conveyed to the Working Group charged with examining the reports sufficiently in advance for them to be included in its activities. The Working Group shall present its preliminary conclusions to each state party. Following receipt of those preliminary conclusions, each State party shall have 60 days to make additional comments on said preliminary conclusions. The Working Group shall adopt final conclusions on the analyzed reports by consensus. Those conclusions shall be notified to the State party in a written communication and at a meeting with the accredited permanent representative to the Organization of American States.

[3] Ibid, Standard 5.2.

[4] The subject matter of the seminar is of great interest to the users and actors of the inter-American system.  Thus, at the meeting a number of ideas were presented on measurement, at the international level, of progressive observance of economic, social, and cultural rights.  These ideas could be harnessed by the Commission, states, other national and international agencies, and civil society organizations to create a monitoring and evaluation system that includes a range of indicators, including progress indicators, in the area of observance of social rights.  Discussions centered in particular on the need to develop a procedure that meets the specific needs of the region.