The Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies (GGS) is coordinating a major, four-year, FP7-funded project on the European Union’s internal and external human rights policies. The consortium comprises more than 100 researchers from 17 countries. It will study the factors, actors and policies involved in the EU’s human rights promotion efforts and ultimately seek to formulate practical recommendations and tools to enhance the coherence and effectiveness of EU human rights policy.
The project, which carries the acronym FRAME (Fostering Human Rights Among European (External and Internal) Policies), is the largest FP7-funded project in the humanities and social sciences ever coordinated by KU Leuven. ‘FP7’ refers to the Seventh Framework Programme, the European Commission’s highly competitive fund for research and technological development.
The project will be articulated around four clusters of research: factors, actors, policies, and tools. Those clusters group together the different types of issues which condition the impact of the EU’s internal and external human rights promotion efforts.
‘Factors’ include for instance diverging cultural views on human rights and the increasing challenging of the EU’s universal conception of human rights; or the difficulties in human rights promotion caused by the different levels (global, regional, national and local) of competence on human rights.
‘Actors’ include those entities whose activities positively or negatively impact on the promotion of human rights worldwide, such as international organizations (regional or universal, specialized or general), non-state actors (e.g. NGOs or revolutionary movements) or multinational corporations.
‘Policies’ are the different EU internal and external policies that play a role in the promotion of international human rights. This potentially includes the whole EU action, but will focus on anti-terrorism, migration and border control policies, action relative to domestic and international conflicts, development and trade policies, and the EU’s dedicated ‘Human Rights and Democratisation policy.’
‘Tools’ are policy innovations put forward by FRAME to help the EU enhance its positive impact on international human rights. To that end the project will for example develop indicators to measure such impact, or a ‘policy toolbox’ operationalizing best human rights practices in the EU context.
On top of coordination duties, GGS Director and Jean Monnet Chair Jan Wouters and his team will also be involved in research. They will notably lead a work package on how the EU’s trade and development partnerships can be used as ‘smart incentives’ to alleviate the erosion of basic rights such as access to food, health, water and clean air in at-risk countries. This study will be supported by a number of case studies.
FRAME members will regularly communicate their progress during open workshops and through policy briefs and academic publications. The consortium will deliver its recommendations and tools in a report to the European Commission at the end the project. An international conference and five outreach events on four continents are also planned.
The FRAME consortium consists of 19 leading European and international institutions from 17 countries.