As prepared for delivery.
Excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen,
Let me start by thanking our distinguished speakers for their continued efforts to strengthen the rule of law and human rights, and for their willingness to share their experiences with us today. It’s a pleasure to be here with you at this year’s Annual Rule of Law and Human Rights Meeting.
As a community of governments, practitioners, think-tanks and UN entities, we have spent nearly ten years investing in and learning from our efforts to strengthen the rule of law in countries hardest-hit by crisis. I am very happy that UNDP continues to play a pivotal role in this work and in bringing stakeholders together.
This meeting provides us with an important opportunity to review the results that we have achieved together in 2017 and to shape our collective priorities for the years to come, especially in the context of UN reforms.
The international community currently faces challenges unprecedented in their complexity - mass displacement, protracted and complex conflicts, climate change, violent extremism. These challenges pose risks to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in many countries and undermine efforts to support those who are furthest behind.
Establishing inclusive, effective, and responsive justice and security institutions remains a key priority in all development settings, and particularly so in crises settings. The Recent UN-World Bank Study Pathways for Peace confirmed that these institutions are critical for preventing outbreaks of violence and conflict and are among the main foundations for sustaining peace.
UNDP’s Global Programme on Strengthening the Rule of Law and Human Rights for Sustaining Peace and Fostering Development aims to focus our efforts, providing technically-sound and politically-relevant support throughout the decisive moments in a country’s trajectory from crisis towards sustainable development. We support national partners in fostering a rule of law culture – in which people experience greater peace and security and can exercise their rights, advance their livelihoods, and protect those of future generations.
This work is carried out under the leadership of our national partners and in close collaboration with UN sister agencies. The ability to work across the UN system to achieve the vision set forth in the 2030 Agenda requires a collective UN effort in line with the UN Secretary-General’s reforms - and the mobilization of all our talents to get us there.
Partnerships have become the modus operandi in the UN. I am proud that the Global Programme has played a strong role in driving this change to ensure the system can deliver, in a unified manner, informed by a common analysis and common rule of law strategy, and led by UN leadership on the ground. This support to DSRSGs and RCs is buttressed by UNDP's programme delivery and represents the future I see for UNDP.
Since 2012, the Global Programme has worked hand in hand through the Global Focal Point for Police, Justice, and Corrections, convened by UNDP and DPKO, to leverage expertise from across the UN system and deliver coordinated rule of law assistance in crisis-affected settings around the world. It has been recognised by the Secretary-General as a flagship effort for joint engagement in the field and at headquarters to achieve the Sustaining Peace and the SDG agendas.
The Global Programme also supports the Global Alliance for Reporting Progress on Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies to mobilize Member States, the private sector and civil society around SDG16. And, we maintain robust partnerships with OHCHR, the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions and UNHCR to adequately support refugees and host communities. Dynamic partnerships such as these have helped shape the Global Programme into the strong platform of comprehensive support to Member States it is today. And I wish to extend my gratitude to all these partners present here today.
The 2017 Annual Report of the Global Programme highlights the key results we have achieved together. Allow me to share a few examples:
In The Gambia, UNDP, together with OHCHR, has been a key convener of government officials, justice service providers, civil society organizations, the public, and the international community to discuss issues around truth, reconciliation, and reparations. Nation-wide consultations took place in all seven regions of the country, providing a rare space for justice providers to engage with communities on the mechanisms to address their grievances and aspirations. As a result, a Truth and Reconciliation and Reparations Commission was established in December 2017, in compliance with the Paris Principles.
In El Salvador, with support from the Peacebuilding Fund, UNDP’s community security efforts have contributed to a significant decline in violence, with 60 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017 compared to 103 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2015. In 2017, UNDP provided support to the technical secretariat of the National Council for Citizen Security and Coexistence and built the capacity of security institutions to implement the ‘El Salvador Seguro’ national policy in 26 municipalities.
In Nepal, UNDP, in partnership with UN Women, helped the National Judicial Academy develop the Gender and Social Inclusion Strategy and corresponding training manual for the judiciary. The manuals were then utilized in 10 trainings, increasing the knowledge on gender and social inclusion of 400 judges, public prosecutors, police, court officers, and court personnel. In addition, we supported the Women’s Committee of the National Bar Association in reviewing 10 laws on gender and social inclusion.
In Liberia, the UNDP - UNMIL Joint Programme on the Rule of Law, developed under the auspices of the Global Focal Point, has been successful in facilitating the transition from peacekeeping towards sustainable development. Together with the Liberia National Law Enforcement Association, the joint programme set up five regional offices to oversee the work of the security councils in the different regions and strengthen their prevention efforts by collaborating with the National Security Council and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Early Warning Centre in Monrovia.
These results represent important milestones within each specific country context towards creating more just, peaceful, and inclusive societies. Thanks to the Global Programme and its partners, UNDP now assists in strengthening the rule of law and promoting human rights in nearly 40 crisis-affected countries around the world. In 2017 alone, 28 countries expanded the geographical reach of their justice and security services and 19 countries established or improved mechanisms to prevent and address sexual and gender-based violence.
Through the Global Programme, UNDP and our UN partners also have a unique opportunity to capture the lessons learned across a wide-range of development contexts, which has helped to inform global processes and ongoing UN reforms.
Setting Priorities for the Future
UNDP remains committed to ensuring the Global Programme is at the service of the UN system and is contributing to the Secretary-General’s efforts on prevention and the 2030 Agenda. Let me share three points for reflection on the way forward:
• First, we see great opportunity for providing support to the empowered Resident Coordinator system within the sustaining peace agenda. We will be exploring the idea of deploying Rule of Law Advisers to RCs based on the existing model of security sector reform (SSR) advisers. Together with DPKO and the Peacebuilding Fund we already support three SSR advisers in Burkina Faso, Gambia and Guinea.
• Second, we can leverage the Global Focal Point arrangement to sustain progress on the rule of law during peace mission transitions and in situations of protracted displacement.
• Third, I also see much potential in using the Global Programme to build on Member States’ commitments in the Universal Periodic Review process, to accelerate implementation of the Agenda 2030.
Finally, I remain committed to growing UNDP’s rule of law engagement in our policy realignment reinforcing our focus on peace, justice, inclusion as well as the rights of the most vulnerable as an essential component of our support to the 2030 Agenda. In doing so, we aim to work with our national partners to foster a rule of law culture that does not only exist on paper, but that permeates the actions and aspirations of every person and every public and private institution.
By coming together in partnerships like the Global Focal Point, – each with our unique strengths and experiences – we hope to make this “living rule of law” a reality for the benefit of people, planet, peace and prosperity.