The obligation of ‘progressive realization’ under the International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights is often interpreted in light of available resources - this chapter examines, instead, the variable of time. Noting that delay of rights is akin to denial of rights, Young explores the various ways in which accountability models, at the international level, have elaborated on concrete, and temporal, benchmarks. These include the minimum core, and non-retrogression doctrines, and the exercises in comparative rankings. These are important sources of accountability, especially for positive obligations. And yet with the promise of rights, law nevertheless structures the expectations of rights-holders. This chapter examples how 'waiting' for rights may be an especially passive, disempowering, and anti-solidaristic experience and in so doing reveals greater insight on a tension with underlies the recognition of fundamental material interests as rights.
Katharine G. Young. "Waiting for Rights: Progressive Realization and Lost Time." The Future of Economic and Social Rights, Katharine G. Young, ed., Cambridge University Press (2019).