Human rights, health policy-making and programming – A call for case study proposals

This entry was posted in Equity, Gender, Human rights by Editor Equity/Equidad - CG.


A human rights-based approach (HRBA) aims to support better and more sustainable development outcomes by analyzing and addressing the inequalities, discriminatory practices and unjust power relations which are often at the heart of development problems irrespective of the level of economic development of countries. The HRBA anchors development in a system of rights and corresponding State obligations established by international law with civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights providing a guiding framework for plans, policies and processes. In the context of UN inter-agency collaboration, the UN Common Understanding on a HRBA1 was agreed upon in 2003. A HRBA to health specifically aims at realizing the right to health and other health-related human rights. Health policy-making and programming are to be guided by human rights standards and principles and aim at developing capacity of duty bearers to meet their obligations and empowering rights-holders to effectively claim their health rights.

Through the 12th General Program of Work (GPW)2, Member States have committed the World Health Organization (WHO) to mainstream gender, equity and human rights and to establish an accountability mechanism to monitor the effectiveness of the mainstreaming process. Mainstreaming means that all health policy-making and programming by Member States and the Secretariat should integrate gender, equity and human rights. In order to contribute to the development of the accountability mechanisms with respect to human rights, a call for case study proposals is made.

Eligible case study proposals will be on application of human rights standards and principles to health policy-making and / or programming that are deemed by the proposing team to have accomplished their objectives and for which evidence for success-factors and challenges of implementation as well as achievements can feasibly be documented and analyzed within a relatively short timeframe.

Hands-on implementers and researchers alike are encouraged to submit proposals that address real-life, on the ground practical experiences and examples of applying human rights standards and principles to health policy making and programming in various socio-politico-economic, cultural, programmatic and administrative settings. The criteria for assessing and selecting case studies for financing are given below.

Expected results

  • Phase One – covered by this call – up to 15 case studies will be supported each to produce a report of 20 to 25 pages (excluding annexes). A synthesis of these reports will be made for internal WHO use, drawing lessons learned and providing guidance for refinement of existing and development of new tools for mainstreaming of human rights together with equity and gender in WHO’s work, in particular with respect to country level monitoring and evaluation instruments and measures for the 2016-2017 biennium.
  • Phase Two, a select number of the study teams will be invited to further refine their case studies and to participate in a publication for external consumption.


Language of proposal and report

Proposals and reports should be submitted in English


Submission of proposals

Should be submitted electronically to as one PDF-document. Proposals that are incomplete, exceed the above number of pages or that consist of more than one document will not be accepted.

Keywords: Gender; health equity; inequalities, human rights, World Health Organization (WHO).

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