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The Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) was created in 2020 and is a newly merged division of the Pacific Community (SPC), the region’s scientific and technical organisation, bringing together the previous Social Development Programme (SDP) and Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT).

The merger arose out of a recognition that the mandates of both the former divisions overlapped to some extent and that coming together would create greater efficiencies and effectiveness in delivering technical assistance to our members, as well in our internal work mainstreaming a people-centred approach to development here at SPC. 

The former SDP was focused on gender equality, youth development and culture development and worked to ensure that Pacific people are empowered to attain their development potential and improve their wellbeing, through progressing gender programming and operations. SDP played a key role in SPC’s multi-sectoral work to support the achievement of development goals for Pacific communities. SPC has been supporting the promotion of gender equality, youth development and culture for over 30 years, first with the women’s bureau, the youth bureau, and the culture bureau, which then merged into the Human Development Programme in 2008. SDP had existed under this name between 2016 and 2020.

On the other hand, RRRT was the human rights programme of SPC and the pioneer of Pacific human rights capacity development and lead in human rights technical assistance. RRRT worked with SPC member states and civil society to build a culture of human rights, and to assist Pacific Governments to commit to, and observe, international human rights and good governance commitments, obligations and standards. SPC Regional Rights Resource Team was established in 1995.

Both SDP and RRRT - as separate programmes - built credibility for their work in partnership with SPC members, civil society and other partners.

With the newly merged division, HRSD’s staff spread throughout the Pacific will work to achieve better development outcomes and greater impacts for SPC’s members in the areas of human rights, good governance, culture, youth, gender equality and social inclusion.

The new division’s mandate includes supporting and ensuring that SPC puts people at the centre of its work, whether in the fisheries sector, in the geoscience sector, in the land resources sector, or in any of the other areas in which SPC serves its members.