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 &
The issue of indebted women – gharimat – in Jordan became acute in 2017. While international human rights standards advise against this provision, Jordan remains one of the few countries that criminalizes debt. Since 2019, the deteriorating economic situation made the numbers of people in debt rise exponentially, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation even further. In 2021, the Minister of Justice reported that around 60,000 women were indebted, of which 23,000 were wanted for failure to repay loans not exceeding the equivalent of US$1,410.
UNDP supported women living in poverty in Amman and Irbid, enabling them to have improved access to and control over legal and financial resources addressing their socio-economic vulnerabilities. In 2021, the UNDP-implemented project “Gender justice to increase women’s economic opportunities and income” contributed to advancing SDG16+ and its key targets such as the improved access to justice, reduction of all forms of violence and building inclusive institutions.
To capacitate women, equip them with resilience tools and to prevent their imprisonment for unpaid debts, UNDP provided financial and legal assistance and advice to both women debtors and applicants for the microloans through two legal and financial counselling hubs based in Irbid and Amman. Forty women (30 Jordanians and 10 Syrians) reached out to the hubs to seek counselling for loans they had already contracted or to inform themselves about potential implications of the loan process. Twentynine women received information and counselling on loan policies in the hubs, while the eleven women in more complex situations were referred to legal service providers to get support with their existing loans.
Through the network of partners, UNDP collected the baseline data about the indebted women defaulting on loans and identified preventive strategies to avoid imprisonment for failure to repay debts. Having assessed the barriers to financial inclusion of women and vulnerable groups, UNDP identified pathways to unlock inclusive local economic development and increase socioeconomic resilience in Jordan. These include (i) leveraging social entrepreneurship through innovation and technology to advance women’s economic empowerment; (ii) developing a toolkit to support capacity development of women beneficiaries and loan officers on the small claims process in Jordan; (iii) supporting a national outreach campaign to advocate self-regulation best practices and innovative gender friendly financing products; and (iv) introducing inclusive community-based saving schemes.
- 1 SDG16+ includes 12 targets from SDG16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and 24 targets from seven other goals that directly measure an aspect of peace, justice and inclusion.
Key Results: Jordan
40 women (30 Jordanians and 10 Syrians) received counselling for their loan situation in the two legal and financial counseling hubs in Amman and Irbid.
11 community organizers from two community-based organizations were capacitated to provide guidance and support to women willing to obtain a microfinance loan or those already indebted on the nature and legal implication of such loans.
164 women living in poverty received knowledge on legal and financial tools for their economic empowerment during an Open Day held by UNDP in Irbid to raise awareness on the financial and legal implications of microcredit loans.