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International Partnerships
News announcement5 July 2021Directorate-General for International Partnerships1 min read

Taking forward the commitment to reducing inequalities: Human Rights Based Approach Toolbox adopted


The EU has updated its 2014 Toolbox on the rights based approach (RBA) in line with its commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals and to reducing all forms of inequalities, including gender inequality.

The renewed human rights based approach (HRBA) will help make interventions more inclusive and sustainable. It applies to the programming, design and implementation of all sectors of EU external action, as also called for by NDICI–Global Europe, the new financing instrument for 2021-2027.

Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen said: “The EU is strongly committed to applying all human rights for all to ensure equity, non-discrimination, transparency and accountability in all our external action. We also want to ensure that everyone, including young people and people living in vulnerable situations, can participate in decisions affecting their lives, leaving no-one behind.”

The approach focuses on the individuals and communities that the EU strives to lift out of poverty, marginalisation and discrimination – the rights holders – aiming to strengthen their capacity to claim their rights.

It also supports governments and institutional actors – the duty bearers – in fulfilling their human rights obligations and commitments, in line with the principles of aid effectiveness and national ownership.

The approach is translated into practice by the updated Toolbox, which puts forward five working principles, equally relevant for both the processes and aims of EU external action:

  • Applying all human rights for all;
  • Meaningful and inclusive participation and access to decision-making;
  • Non-discrimination and equality;
  • Accountability and rule of law for all;
  • Transparency and access to information supported by disaggregated data.

Gender equality should be mainstreamed throughout.

The Toolbox builds upon lessons learnt over the past seven years, draws on EU Member States’ practices and methodologies, and can be used by the Member States as well as partners. It is part of the implementation of the Commission’s Union of Equality ambitions.

Complementary online tools and resources developed by the European Commission and Member States can soon be found on the EU International Partnerships Academy.

The new Toolbox will be presented in detail at an International Partnerships InfoPoint conference on 16 September, during the Democracy week.

8 MARCH 2022
Applying the Human Rights Based Approach to international partnerships - Toolbox 30.6.2021


Publication date
5 July 2021
Directorate-General for International Partnerships