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 Afghanistan, UNDP implemented its rule of law programming until mid-August 2021. After the collapse of the Government and Taliban takeover, many activities were terminated or frozen in the absence of a recognized government. Certain initiatives had to be adjusted, though with insufficient funding, to close acute justice gaps amidst the crisis.
Between the start of the year and 15 August 2021, UNDP supported the Ministry of Interior Affairs (MoIA) and ensured the timely payment of monthly salaries to 121,000 Afghan National Police (ANP) officers and officers from the General Directorate for Prisons and Detention Centres in all 34 provinces. The 600 ANP officers, including 250 women, received their first training on social and behaviour change communication to enable consultations between the police and community members in 19 districts in Kabul. In mid-August, training facilities at the MoIA and ANP ceased their operations. UNDP closed its projects supported by the Law-and-Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA) as per the LOTFA Steering Committee decision.
A laboratory testing facility and five new hospitals in five provinces were set up through UNDP’s support which, prior to 15 August, treated 2,354 police personnel (eight percent women) diagnosed with COVID-19. Personal protection and medical equipment, medications and hygiene kits were delivered to 109 police stations in 24 districts of 16 provinces.
UNDP established six legal clinics in the universities of Kandahar, Khost, Paktiya, Kapisa and Faryab. The 316 law students (including 70 female) enrolled in these clinics provided free legal aid to 238 people living in poverty and organized legal awareness campaigns to reach the wider public in six provinces. These community-based activities improved the quality of paralegal networks and enhanced access to justice services for the poor. The legal clinics were one of the UNDP-supported avenues for providing legal support in Afghanistan along with the other activities, such as furthering government and civil society initiatives. In total, 5,803 beneficiaries (1,183 women) in 22 provinces received legal services in 2021.
UNDP supported the Supreme Court in developing its strategic plan for 2022-2024. In addition, six courts in six provinces received technical support in establishing an online trial system to conduct virtual hearings. The system, however, could not be rolled out due to the dramatic political shift in the country.
Prior to the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan had demonstrated progress in ensuring public oversight and accountability for corruption. UNDP contributed to these developments by providing training for 4,024 community members (640 women), 1,500 volunteer community monitors and civil society partners who created an enabling environment at the local level to tackle corruption through investigative media stories, monitoring of health facilities, conducting social audits of service delivery and community-based dispute resolution in 21 provinces. Civil society organizations enabled community members to monitor services of 129 health facilities in five provinces identifying 188 problems. As of the end of 2021, 72 out of 188 cases were resolved through coordination between relevant authorities and 15 health shuras (committees) established by civil society.
Based on the needs assessment conducted in March, UNDP strengthened the capacities of the Anti-Corruption Justice Center and organized trainings on investigative techniques, leadership and computer skills for 133 judges, prosecutors and administrative staff (118 men and 15 women). Those that participated in the training later contributed to the successful investigation of 422 cases of corruption. In the aftermath of Taliban takeover, donors requested to stop the project activities.
Due to the rapid political transformation in the country and lack of sufficient funding, the project “Access to Quality Justice Services” (AQJS) was closed.
Key Results: Afghanistan
121,000 Afghan National Police (ANP) officers had their salaries paid in all 34 provinces up to 15 August 2021. 600 ANP officers, including 250 women, received their first training on social and behaviour change communication to reach 1,900 community and police council members in 19 districts in Kabul.
5,803 beneficiaries (1,183 women) in 22 provinces received legal aid in 2021, including 2,897 most vulnerable individuals (599 women) who benefitted from legal services through UNDP-supported government initiatives.
Trainings were provided for 4,024 community members (640 women), 1,500 volunteer community monitors and civil society grantees who created an enabling environment at the local level to fight corruption.