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This short paper, delivered at the American Society of International Law’s 107th Annual Meeting in 2013, summarizes for the international lawyer the recent legal repositioning of economic and social rights. Three trends – of the new wave of constitutionalism, new models of adjudication, and innovations from the Global South – are described, as precursors to the entry into force of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The conceptual map concludes with the difficult prognosis of measuring the success of experiments in economic and social rights advocacy and reform.