The United Nations, from its inception, has acknowledged social welfare, human progress and development as a basic human right either implicitly or explicitly.
Through Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, the right to development was confirmed by United Nations. The Article states that “everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized”. Along with this, the Universal Declaration also recognizes the rights to work, to education and to an adequate standard of living. The covenant stressed the essential importance of international cooperation in realizing this right.
This UN commitment was made more explicit in the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The UN necessitated its member states to recognize every individual’s right to an adequate standard of living; which included provisions for access to adequate food, clothing and housing, and the continuous improvement of living conditions.
The 1969 Declaration on Social Progress and Development of the United Nations stated that all peoples and all human beings shall have the right to enjoy the fruits of social progress and they should, on their part, contribute towards that goal.
In 1986, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Right to Development, which described the right to development as an inalienable human right by virtue of which each person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized. The Declaration proclaims that the human person is the central subject of development and should be the participant and beneficiary of the right to development; all human beings have a responsibility for development; and that the States have the primary responsibility for creating national and international conditions that will allow the realization of the right to development.
The Declaration recognizes the right to development as both an individual and a collective right; a right of every human person and all peoples; and adds that equality of opportunity for development is a prerogative both of nations and of individuals.
For realizing the human welfare, progress and development objectives, the United Nations passed some significant declarations such as the Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition and Declaration on the use of scientific and technological progress in the Interests of Peace and for the Benefit of Mankind; Declaration on the Rights of Peoples to Peace and Universal Declarations on the Human genome and Human rights and on Cultural diversity.