At the dawn of the new millennium, human rights and development are at a crossroads. On the one hand, the congruence between human rights and development theory has never been more striking. Poverty and inequities between and within countries are now the gravest human rights concerns that we face. As the Secretary-General underscored in his 2005 reform report “In larger freedom”, the challenges of human rights, development and security are so closely entwined that none can be tackled effectively in isolation. United Nations agencies have gone a considerable way towards reflecting these realities in practice, including through defining a common understanding of a human rights-based approach to development cooperation, embodied within the United Nations common programming guidelines. And at the World Summit in September 2005, United Nations Member States gave an unprecedented political imprimatur and impetus to the Organization’s efforts to bring human rights to the front and centre of all its work, a shared commitment that through my 2005 “Plan of action” I am determined to support. Yet there remains a chasm between theory and practice, ensuring that the objectives, policies and processes of development are channelled more directly and effectively towards human rights goals. There are, of course, many reasons why this is so, including continuing gaps in knowledge and skills, and difficulties in translating human rights norms into concrete programming guidance applicable in diverse policy contexts and national circumstances. This is the principal gap that this publication aims to fill, with United Nations development practitioners as the primary audience. A collective and multifaceted effort is required of human rights and development practitioners, now more so than ever. Filling gaps in knowledge, skills and capacities will be meaningless without renewed leadership, commitment and attention to our own internal accountability systems and incentive structures. The valuable contributions brought to this publication from our United Nations development partners are testimony to the kind of collaboration that should be further encouraged. While a modest contribution on its own, I hope that this publication will succeed in advancing our shared understanding about how the goals of human rights and development can be achieved through more effective development cooperation, within wider strategies and coalitions for change.