In contexts affected by crisis and conflict, establishing and maintaining the rule of law is essential for sustainable peace and for preventing outbreaks and the recurrence of conflict. To this end, UNDP engages with political leaders and national partners to strengthen the rule of law and human rights, and provides technical assistance and comprehensive programming. UNDP’s support is dependant on the will of political leaders and stakeholders, and therefore political engagement enables UNDP to pursue our objectives of increased accountability, public participation, and adherence to the rule of law.
Global Focal Point for Rule of Law
Establishing a functioning rule of law system underpinned by a human rights-based approach is essential to preventing outbreaks of conflict, particularly with regard to recurring conflicts located within contexts with a history of political upheaval and complex political transitions. In this regard, UNDP’s political engagement is crucial in assisting the will of political leadership to strengthen rule of law systems.
The Global Focal Point for Rule of Law (GFP) – co-chaired by UNDP and DPO – contributes to the prevention and peace agenda by strengthening the system-wide provision of rule of law assistance to address violent conflict, protect human rights and restore justice and security for conflict-affected people. The GFP is a coordinating platform that delivers technical support to member states, UN peace operations and UN Country Teams, through planning, programming and joint assessments. Since its establishment in 2012 the Global Focal Point has supported rule of law efforts in 24 fragile or conflict afflicted countries. In 2019 the GFP increased its level of deployments and assessments to the following countries: Burkina Faso, CAR, Gabon, Haiti, Cameroon, Mali, Malawi, Sudan, Libya, Liberia, and Sao Tome and Principe. Additionally, the GFP participated in the delivery of the pilot training on Fundamentals of Corrections Leadership – A Workshop for Correctional Leaders and Managers in Freetown, Sierra Leone in March 2019. The training was developed by Corrections Service Canada in close partnership with UNDP and DPO to promote better management and direction of national corrections facilities in coherence with applicable international standards.
The collaborative approach of the GFP is particularly impactful in transition settings. In Darfur, the joint UN African Union Mission, UNAMID, partnered with multiple organisations including UNDP, UNICEF, UN-Habitat and UNFPA to support the implementation of critical priorities with regard to the rule of law, human rights, durable solutions and immediate service delivery through the establishment of the innovative State Liaison Functions. As a result, four justice confidence centres have been established, 10 police stations have been constructed and four community policing centres, 13 district and children courts, three child prosecutor’s offices, and three prisons. In addition, the GFP supported on targeted trainings and workshops, where 375 police, judges, prosecutors and prison officials have improved capacity to deliver criminal justice services including in community policing, the application of fair trial standards, investigation and prosecution of serious crimes, including gender-based violence and conflict-related crimes, juvenile justice, prison management and humane detention, policy and decision-making, and sexual and gender-based violence interventions and protection mechanisms.
In Haiti, through GFP assistance a judicial affairs expert advised the UN Resident Coordinator’s office on rule of law and peacebuilding programming. In the context of the MINUJUSTH-BINUH transition, in September 2019 a mission was tasked with identifying strategic entry points, revision of the UNDAF, and reviewing UN programmatic positioning. These initiatives have assisted in supporting an integrated approach to rule of law activities between BINUH and the UNCT. GFP partners also participated in the visioning exercise to develop one joint UN plan for future UN rule of law engagement in the country and are currently involved in its design.
These approaches by the GFP illustrate how joint programming can lead to tangible results, and how important lessons can be learned from these efforts which can be replicated elsewhere in that context, or in another fragile or conflict setting.
"In times of increased global instability, where the risk for social and armed conflict is heightened, we remain steadfast in joining our capacities and resources, reaffirming the centrality of the rule of law, and leveraging the GFP to deliver well-coordinated support”.
ASG Alexander Zouev (DPO, OROLSI)