GovErning humaN rights through partnErShIpS: investigating the normative and operational interface of international law and multistakeholder governance (GENESIS)

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals hail multistakeholder partnerships (MSPs) as key actors in achieving sustainable development. MSPs that bring together states, businesses, philanthropy and civil society are increasingly in the frontlines of providing public goods that are human rights such as food, health, education and water. In these domains, partnerships are spearheading the continued expansion of multistakeholder governance into international law, including human rights law. This expansion has been taking place without critical appraisal with respect to its effectiveness and consequences. GENESIS breaks new ground by exploring the normative and operational implications of this shift, both at the system-level and at the level of specific global partnering initiatives and individual multistakeholder partnerships. GENESIS investigates the interface of international law and multistakeholder governance in the realisation of human rights. It analyses how the paradigms of multilateralism and multi-stakeholderism diverge or converge as they simultaneously govern the domains of food, health, education and water through human rights law and multistakeholder partnerships, respectively.

GENESIS has three main objectives that will generate high research and policy gains. First, GENESIS will uncover and understand how norms that govern human rights through multistakeholder partnerships are made in the post-2015 era in the governance of food (SDG 2), health (SDG 3), education (SDG 4) and water (SDG 6). Second, GENESIS will investigate how multistakeholder partnerships impact the way human rights are operationalised. Third, GENESIS will identify pathways to an effective uptake of human rights legal standards by multistakeholder partnerships. In doing so, GENESIS will derive insights on whether and how international law and multistakeholder governance can generate common ground when governing public goods that are human rights.