Economic and Social
21 September 2007
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL
AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
30 April – 18 May 2007
AN EVALUATION OF THE OBLIGATION TO TAKE STEPS
TO THE “MAXIMUM OF AVAILABLE RESOURCES”
UNDER AN OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE COVENANT
The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights welcomes the decision of the
Human Rights Council to draft an optional protocol to the Covenant. Such a protocol granting it
authority to consider individual and collective communications will assist the Committee in
monitoring the implementation of the Covenant by complementing the periodic review of
reports, thus strengthening the Committee’s interpretation of the Covenant.
The Committee is aware of States parties’ interest in obtaining further clarification as to
how it would apply the obligation under article 2, paragraph 1, “to take steps … to the maximum
of its available resources” to achieve progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in
the Covenant.1 Of particular relevance is how the Committee would examine communications
concerning this obligation, while fully respecting the authority vested in relevant State organs to
adopt what it considers to be its most appropriate policies and to allocate resources accordingly.
On the basis of its practice under the periodic reporting process, the Committee in this present
statement seeks to clarify how it might consider States parties’ obligations under article 2,
paragraph 1, in the context of an individual communications procedure.
Having already examined the terms of article 2, paragraph 1, in its General Comment No.
3, the Committee reiterates that in order to achieve progressively the full realization of the
Covenant, States parties must take deliberate, concrete and targeted steps within a reasonably
Article 2, paragraph 1, provides that “Each State party to the present Covenant undertakes to
take steps, individually and through international assistance and cooperation, especially
economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving
progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Covenant by all
appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures”.