Citizen Participation and Engagement of Civil Society
UNDP supports initiatives to strengthen engagement between state and citizens to ensure the voices of the communities are considered and there is meaningful participation in political processes for a strengthened and collaborative governance system. There is a great focus on strengthening the linkages between three key groups; public service providers, individual citizens and oversight bodies which are the foundation for strong resilient institutions that enjoy public confidence and contribute to democratic consolidation. In this regard, UNDP engages with civil society as crucial stakeholders in the democratic process; as primary entry points for civic participation for youth, women and vulnerable groups, enhancing their capacity and creating multiple various frameworks and processes for their engagement in the democratic discourse.
Representation and Participation of Women in the Public Sphere
The Maldives Constitution guarantees women and men equal rights in all aspects of public life and is an integral component to democratic consolidation in the country. While Maldives has achieved considerable progress towards gender equality especially in the area of education and health, there are still significant barriers to women’s representation and participation at the decision-making level. UNDP focuses on creating an enabling environment for women to engage in the political arena including facilitating change in public perception and creating numerous streams to improve access for women to engage in the political sphere through political parties, CSOs and the media.
Access to Justice and Protection of Human Rights
UNDP conducted the first ever Legal and Justice Sector Baseline Study in 2014. The report highlighted structural and individual barriers to accessing justice sector services including low level of public confidence, lack of awareness of the roles, functions and procedures of the legal and justice sector agencies and the lack of affordability for legal assistance. Access to justice is most difficult for members of vulnerable and marginalized groups in both urban and rural settings across the Maldives. In this area, UNDP supports the development and implementation of an effective legal aid mechanism, strengthened functions and capacity of justice sector institutions.