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Law, Rights and Policy Frameworks

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Law, Rights and Policy

This Legal and Policy Support Toolkit guides country stakeholders and implementing partners on how to reduce inequalities, promote human rights, gender equality and create enabling legal, regulatory and policy environments for universal health coverage, to reach those left behind.

Who is it for?

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has developed this Legal and Policy Support section of the Capacity Development for Health Toolkit for country stakeholders and implementing partners including national governments and policy-makers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs). It can also be used by vulnerable and key populations whose health is at risk, such as populations affected by HIV, TB and malaria. In addition it is relevant for Global Fund Principal and Sub-Recipients and health and development partners, as well as UNDP staff and consultants.

What does it do?

The resource gives guidance on how to reduce inequalities, promote human rights and gender equality and develop enabling legal 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 for vulnerable and key populations.

This resource aims to strengthen the capacity of partners to reduce inequalities and social exclusion that drive health, by integrating work on human rights and gender equality, challenging harmful gender norms, 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 & 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 which inequality creates health risks and barriers to access 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 recognises 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 impact on 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, protect their health and access health services.

What is included?

It includes step-by-step guidance, examples, case studies, guidelines, resources and tools. 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 Organisation, UN partners, the Global Fund, and country stakeholders.
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It gives guidance and information 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 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 legal and policy frameworks for health.

Key Resources