This work builds on existing studies of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by reviewing the challenges to implementation posed by the evolving global macroeconomic environment. The inter-disciplinary focus adopted highlights the limits to a purely legal approach to this instrument at both a theoretical and practical level: issues such as the justiciability debate and the difficulties which the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights have experienced in applying the ICESCR to States parties' economic policy choices are reviewed from a macroeconomic perspective and it is argued that only once the economic de-contextualisation of this instrument has been addressed will the guarantees in the ICESCR be fully actualised. In this vein it is proposed that reform of the existing supervisory architecture to incorporate economic expertise would be a more positive step forward for the ICESCR than the adoption of the proposed optional protocol. This work is aimed at those working within the sphere of socio-economic rights as well as human rights specialists interested in the implications of global economic integration for the international human rights system as well as the possibility of new paradigms in international human rights methodology.
Table of Contents
Abstract; Table of Abbreviations; Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction; 2. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Theory and Problems; A. Issues of Legal Quality; B. Layers of Obligation in the ICESCR: i. Aspects of Immediate Obligation; ii. Minimum Core Content/Minimum Threshold; iii. Obligations to Respect/Protect/Fulfil; C. Residual Problems; D. Conclusion; 3. Article 2(1) ICESCR: Economic Parameters of State Obligations; A. ‘to take steps … by all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures’; B. ‘to the maximum of its available resources’; C. ‘to achieve progressively the full realization of the rights’; D. Towards a More Comprehensive Paradigm of State Obligations; E. Conclusion; 4. CESCR Practice – an Economic Deficit?; A. Defining the Parameters of Available Resources: i. Hong Kong’s Financial Reserves; ii. The Covenant and Congo’s Catastrophe; B. Globalisation and Developing Countries; i. Trade Liberalisation: Mexico and NAFTA; ii. Argentina: Structural Reform and Financial Crisis; C. Corruption; D. The Minimum Wage;E. Future Directions for the Covenant in Advanced Economies: i. European Unemployment; ii. Welfare Reform; F. Conclusion; 5. Contextualising the Covenant: Aspects of the Evolving Global Economic Framework; A. Trans-National Corporations and the Global Re-Organisation of Production; B. The Deregulation of Financial Markets; C. Conclusion; 6. Future Directions for the Covenant?; A. Structural Reform: i. Reform Possibilities Within the Existing Committee Structure; ii. Enhancing Co-operation with the Specialised Agencies; iii. An Optional Protocol to the ICESCR; iv. More Radical Reform Options; B. Methodological Reform: i. Focused Questioning; ii. Integrity of Concluding Observations; C. Conclusion; 7. Conclusion; Bibliography.