Impact by Regions, Countries & Territories
UNDP’s Global Programme supports crisis-affected contexts across all regions to strengthen the rule of law and human rights. In this section, we present five regional overviews, detailing our priorities and approach depending on the context, as well as feature select country and territory results from 2021.
Five contexts from the list (Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Mali and Yemen) illustrate the achievements of the Global Focal Point for the Rule of Law (GFP). In peacekeeping missions and transition settings, UNDP’s Global Programme works through the GFP to deliver integrated assistance with our UN partners.
GFP Global Focal Point Highlights
The rule of law is essential for sustainable peace and resilient economies, as well as for the prevention or recurrence of conflict. To prevent or address injustice, inequalities or democratic deficits, UNDP works with multiple stakeholders to operate in a way that is consistent with the rule of law and creates opportunities for all individuals to exercise their rights and access justice.
The importance of strong institutions is more evident than ever as countries and communities respond to disruption, whether because of public health restrictions, climate change or political upheaval. Limitations on public gatherings and travel have revealed the need for institutions that are resilient to disruption.
2021 was a pivotal year that saw various developments affecting peace and security around the world. Civic space continued to shrink and the social contract between states and citizens was increasingly challenged, particularly during and after the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Facing distressing consequences of climate change, states and communities are forced to manage more cross-border conflicts, triggered by the displacement of people seeking increasingly scarce resources.
The scope of human rights challenges is widening, from eroded public trust and shrinking civic space to ongoing inequality and human rights impacts in the socio-economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, and emerging risks in the digital sphere. National human rights institutions (NHRIs), along with other human rights defenders, are facing rising and sophisticated forms of reprisals for carrying out their work.
Sustainable Development Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) of the 2030 Agenda highlights the importance of access to justice for all for the development of peaceful and inclusive societies. Meaningful access to justice can only be achieved when people know their rights, have the opportunities, agency and capacities to claim them, and have access to independent, inclusive and people-centred justice systems that will respond in a timely, fair and effective manner.
Without justice, there can be no lasting peace. In post-conflict, crisis-affected and fragile contexts, truth-seeking initiatives and reconciliation efforts are essential to bring peace to affected communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down transitional processes as states prioritized their response to the health crisis and measures to support the economy.
In 2021, the continued erosion of democracy and the spread of authoritarian trends in politics in many parts of the world contributed to a backlash against women’s rights. The COVID-19 crisis has reversed some of the hard-won gender parity gains by exacerbating pre-existing inequalities and power imbalances. It has also caused a dramatic increase in sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). All these challenges have been particularly acute in conflict, fragile and crisis-affected settings.
New ideas and new strategies are critical to building sustainable and effective development approaches that really meet people’s needs. Technologies and globalization raise new human rights concerns and threaten the rule of law. Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to limit people’s access to basic services. UNDP connected expertise across the globe to learn and adapt. Creating a culture of curiosity and experimentation, these efforts ensured that local needs and expertise were combined with emerging models to bring strategic thinking to people-centred development goals.
- Arab States
- Europe & Central Asia
- Latin America &
In Burundi, UNDP supported mobile courts and legal aid services that enabled access to justice for approximately 17,000 individuals (including 5,000 women) living in remote places, survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), and returnees. In addition, UNDP provided technical and expert support to a Special Court on Land and Other Properties established in Burundi to consider land disputes fueled by socio-political conflicts that were sparking in the country since its independence. The Special Court considers the claims of returnees to help them reinstall their rights to land and property.
The network of community leaders and paralegals was established in Burundi with UNDP’s support, based on the understanding of the local context and needs, and with an ambition to reach the most vulnerable groups and individuals. Over 19,700 people in conflict situations, including 7,904 women, used the services of community leaders or paralegals. With their help, 8,158 cases were settled outside formal justice domain, contributing to a 41 percent reduction in cases introduced into the judicial circuit.
UNDP facilitated capacity building activities for 96 magistrates and police officers, including 37 women, that resulted in their improved knowledge on dealing with SGBV cases. Special hearings were introduced for SGBV-related cases. This innovation, along with the improved capacities of judicial actors, led to the faster and more efficient processing of SGBV cases. In 2021, the time taken to process SGBV cases was reduced by 35.8 percent.
UNDP supported the Inspection Department of the Ministry of Justice to conduct inspection and assessment visits to prisons. Joint advocacy campaign supported by civil society and other partners contributed to the conditional release of detainees and the 22 percent decrease in the number of individuals in pre-trial detention in 11 prisons throughout the country.
Key Results: Burundi
17,000 individuals (including 5,000 women) living in remote places, survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, and returnees received access to justice through UNDP-supported mobile courts and legal aid services.
Over 19,700 (including 7,904 women) used the services of community leaders or paralegals. 8,158 cases were settled outside formal justice domain.
Judicial backlog in land matters reduced by 41% percent in five provinces.
The number of individuals held in pre-trial detention reduced by 22% in 11 prisons throughout the country.