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 Sri Lanka, building on rapid assistance to the justice sector during the pandemic, UNDP continued to ensure access to justice through digital solutions. UNDP contributed to remote court hearings, which were initially available for hearing bail applications in the Magistrates Courts. This was scaled up in 2021 to include e-bail applications in the Colombo High Courts as well, through a joint intervention between the Judicial Services Commission, the Ministry of Justice and UNDP. Over 950 e-bail applications were filed in 2021, of which 694 cases were concluded through the digital support offered by UNDP. These successful results also led to a new law reform, including the adoption of the Corona Virus Disease (2019) (Temporary Provisions) No. 17 of 2021, which specifically provided for the conduct of court proceedings, using remote communication technology. These provisions further validate and strengthen the continued use of digital solutions for expeditious justice delivery, thereby contributing to protecting the fundamental right to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention.
Substantive technical assistance was provided to the law reform committees amending the Children and Young Persons Ordinance (CYPO) and developing a special law on “Protection and Assistance of Child Victims of Crime and Witnesses”. UNDP’s membership in the committees resulted in international standards on the subject being incorporated into the draft amended law.
Access to justice for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) was facilitated in line with the National Plan of Action (NPoA) to address SGBV. UNDP’s strategy is to reach the most vulnerable through a two-pronged approach, targeting the policy level transformation as well as provision of victim-centric services to SGBV survivors. UNDP’s support, through the network of civil society organizations (CSOs) , reached 15 districts. Support was extended in the form of legal assistance, shelter and counselling, thereby reaching more than 11,050 SGBV survivors in 2021, with some receiving family counselling for domestic violence. Interventions to address SGBV require services that do not re-victimize survivors. A safe space was provided through the support to eight shelters housing 350 girls. The finalization of the National Shelter Guidelines enabled quality standards and COVID-19 safeguards to be implemented across all shelters. The shelters were also equipped to provide work therapy, livelihood training and civil documentation support (a need in former conflict areas). UNDP facilitated a partnership with the Department of Probation and Childcare, which has now set up a dedicated shelter for abused girls in Kalmunai.
Key Results: Sri Lanka
Over 950 e-bail applications were filed in 2021, of which 694 cases were concluded through the digital support offered by UNDP, thereby enabling the exercise of the fundamental rights of approximately 700 persons who would have otherwise been subjected to protracted deprivation of liberty.
UNDP’s support, through a CSO network, reached 15 districts. Support was extended in the form of legal assistance, shelter and counselling, thereby reaching more than 11,050 SGBV survivors in 2021, with some receiving family counselling for domestic violence.
UNDP supported eight shelters housing 350 girls who are SGBV survivors.