On 4 December 1986, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Right to Development.1 In doing so, it affirmed some of the fundamental principles articulated in the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: international peace and secu rity; international cooperation for development; the recognition that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that all have the right to a standard of living adequate for their well-being; the right to self determination of peoples; and the right to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration can be fully realized for all people everywhere without discrimination. Through the Declaration, the General Assembly recognized development as a compre hensive economic, social, cultural and political process aimed at the constant improvement of the well-being of all individuals and peoples, on the basis of their participation in development and in the fair distribution of its benefits. Divergent understandings of the terms “development” and “right to develop ment” have contributed to delaying progress in the implementation of the right to development. Historically, development has been understood as a primarily economic process measured by growth in gross national product. This understanding continues to be the basis for the dominant economic model worldwide. Yet the benefits of the economic growth in the second half of the twentieth century were not equitably distributed among all na tions, peoples and individuals, and this inequality is increasingly the subject of debate, criticism and social unrest. Rising poverty, growing inequalities, and unprecedented economic, social, cultural, political, environmental and climate crises make the right to development more relevant today than ever before. The right to development with its emphasis on economic, social, cultural and political development with people at its centre presents a more balanced approach. Despite its high relevance to the greatest challenges that face all societies and the international community at large, the promise of the right to develop ment has remained unfulfilled. In fact, over the years, progress in translating the Declaration into practice has been undermined by misunderstanding, criticism and even rejection. This Fact Sheet aims to demystify the right to development and to respond to some of the most commonly asked questions about this much misunderstood fundamental human right. While it is as sumed that readers will already have basic knowledge about human rights, the Fact Sheet is intended to be accessible to a general audience.