The North Korean government submitted the first Voluntary National Review (VNR) and participated in the 2021 High-Level Political Forum, showing promising development in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through efforts toward the SDGs, the North Korean regime grasps an opportunity to guarantee the welfare of its people as it takes a human rights-based approach. The SDGs are a transformational roadmap for peace, prosperity, people, and the Earth, requiring commitments and partnerships among various stakeholders, including North Korea. The following recommendations, in particular, require greater cooperation for 2030 Agenda with 17 SDGs.

We urge the North Korean government, the South Korean government, and the international community operating inside and outside North Korea to make more efficient efforts in monitoring and evaluation to ensure the effective implementation of SDGs to "leave no one behind." 

Recommendation to North Korea 

  • Carry out research and release statistical and other data that will allow for monitoring, reporting and evaluating. The DPRK government should strengthen the data ecosystem by generating data and sufficient data and having a robust mechanism to timely report progress for course correction. 
  • Create an enabling environment for civil society organizations that are independent from the government by engaging with regional CSOs and granting access to organizations working on human rights issues. 
  • Encourage and facilitate the participation and agency of vulnerable groups at all levels of governance and in all processes to ensure that no one is left behind. 
  • Ensure international agencies’ free and unimpeded access to the population and provide data disaggregated by sex and age, and any other variable necessary to identify the most vulnerable. 
  • Guarantee access to all special procedure mandate holders, in particular the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. 
  • Submit the required documents to the global COVAX sharing programme and engage in the consultations on vaccines to begin COVID-19 inoculations for all citizens. 
  • Abide by period reporting and international human rights commitments under conventions and implement its obligations under the human rights instruments to which it is a party. 
  • Participate in inter-governmental discussions such as, but not limited to, IMO, IAO, UNESCAP, UNESCO and UN’s Funds and Programmes. 
  • Facilitate awareness-raising activities and training programmes on human rights and the global goals. 
  • Undertake a nationwide census with funding and guidance from the UN Population Fund. Recommendations to the ROK Government. 

Recommendations to the ROK Government 

  • Ensure that a human rights-based approach is applied to all humanitarian assistance and development cooperation projects in North Korea.  
  • Incorporate human rights terminology in all dialogue with the DPRK government to implement international norms and standards. Recommendations to CSOs and INGOs working in the DPRK.  

Recommendations to CSOs and INGOs working in the DRPK

  • Monitor the implementation process of projects as per the enhanced humanitarian programme cycle methodology. 
  • Train DPRK officials and institutions in the implementation of international norms and standards with a human rights-based approach to the SDGs. 
  • Support the DPRK in fulfilling its commitments to implement the Universal Periodic Review recommendations and its reporting. 
  • Share and transfer international principles and values, standards and know-how to the DPRK. 
  • Reinforce national efforts to improve the well-being of the vulnerable groups. 
  • Ensure that all assistance and projects support the most vulnerable groups in North Korea. 

Recommendations to the International Community 

  • Provide funding to the international agencies that apply a human rights-based approach in the implementation of their humanitarian assistance and development programmes. 
  • Continue to call for the DPRK government to engage in genuine dialogue with the Human Rights Council, OHCHR and United Nations mechanisms and allow for the unhindered access of independent human rights monitors in the country. 
  • Support efforts to promote accountability in DPRK through the work of OHCHR and civil society organizations on accountability issues. 

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