Law, rights and policy

This law, rights and policy support toolkit guides country stakeholders and implementing partners on how to reduce inequalities, promote human rights, and create enabling legal, regulatory and policy environments for universal health coverage, to reach those left behind.

Who is it for?

This Legal, rights and policy support section of the Capacity Development Toolkit has been developed for country stakeholders and implementing partners—national governments and policymakers, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, vulnerable and key populations whose health is at risk—such as key populations affected by HIV, TB and malaria—Global Fund Principal and sub-Recipients—as well as Global Fund and UNDP staff and their health and development partners.

What does it do?

The resource gives guidance on how to reduce inequalities, promote human rights and gender equality and develop enabling law, rights and policy environments for inclusive governance for health, including for vulnerable populations and key populations, to protect the right to health, achieve universal health coverage and provide access to safe, affordable medicines and vaccines for all.
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It aligns with UNDP’s Strategic Plan 2018-2021 and UNDP’s HIV, Health and Development Strategy 2016-2021, as well as partnership agreements with and the strategies of key partners, such as the UNAIDS 2016-2021 Strategy and the Global Fund Strategy 2017-2022.

There is growing evidence of the unique and inter-related ways in which the legal, regulatory and policy environment, poverty and inequality impact on health, particularly on vulnerable and key populations.

This resource aims to strengthen the capacity of partners to reduce the inequalities and social exclusion that impair health, by integrating work on human rights and gender equality, challenging harmful gender norms and eliminating gender-based violence and empowering vulnerable and key populations, when developing and implementing initiatives such as:

  • national health, HIV, TB, malaria, human rights and development strategies, plans, policies and programmes
  • global Fund and other donor funding requests
  • advocacy campaigns, action plans and strategic litigation for health and related law and policy review and reform, strengthened access to justice and improved law enforcement
What is rights-based and gender-transformative programming?

The World Health Organization promotes a rights-based approach to global health aimed at “integrating human rights principles in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of health-related programmes”. A rights-based approach understands the impact of human rights on health and the ways in which inequality creates health risks and barriers to health care. It seeks to address the social, economic and environmental determinants of health to promote human rights and achieve universal health coverage.

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A rights-based approach includes principles of:

  • equality, dignity and non-discrimination
  • participation
  • transparency and accountability, and
  • empowerment of vulnerable populations, and
  • making health systems accessible to all.

A gender-transformative approach recognizes the impact of gender inequality, harmful gender norms and gender-based violence on health.

A gender-transformative approach seeks to find ways to address gender inequality, harmful gender norms and gender-based violence that affect health. This empowers and increases the capacity of women and girls—as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex populations—to participate in the design, development, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of programmes to protect their health and access health services.

What is included?

The Toolkit explains why human rights, gender equality and enabling legal, regulatory and policy frameworks are important to the work of the UNDP, UNAIDS, the World Health Organization, UN partners, the Global Fund, and country stakeholders.
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It gives guidance and information on to answer key questions:

  • who are vulnerable and key populations in the context of specific health issues?
  • what are their legal, human rights and gender equality barriers to health?
  • how can we reduce inequalities, create an enabling legal, regulatory and policy environments and empower populations to promote strengthened health responses—including HIV, TB and malaria responses—that reach the most hard-to-reach, vulnerable and key populations?

It also contains step-by-step guidance, examples, case studies, guidelines, resources and tools on how to identify human rights barriers, including those faced by key populations, and how to develop effective plans and programmes to protect and promote human rights and gender equality and strengthen law, rights and policy frameworks for health.

Key resources

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