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 region continued to be shaped by complex governance and peace challenges. The lack of effective state responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the introduction of emergency laws and related rights restrictions, has weakened the rule of law and led to the overall decline in trust, revealing pre-existing fragility of the social contract and deepening inequalities in the region. The civic space in many countries and territories was constrained, partly due to the COVID-19 emergency measures, but also through legislative restrictions that targeted civic activism, media freedoms, and a range of civil rights, often under the pretext of fighting misinformation and hate speech. In a few countries1 the longstanding political grievances led to mass protests and large-scale arbitrary detentions by law enforcement agencies. These challenges were exacerbated by the impact of protracted conflicts and political crises in the region, highlighting the persistence of inter-ethnic, social, and political tensions.

Furthermore, the rising economic, social and gender inequalities contributed to massive outward migration. For example, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Moldova, Serbia, and Ukraine were among the ten fastest shrinking populations worldwide in 2021. In addition, the region continued to face the inflow of refugees and migrants, who, in some instances, were stranded at the borders without adequate access to shelters and essential services, and were not being allowed to seek asylum and other protection under international human rights law.2

Against this background, UNDP's primary focus was to strengthen cross-border and regional cooperation mechanisms that promote the rule of law, security and peacebuilding. For example, through its regional initiatives, UNDP continued addressing the legacies of the conflicts in the Western Balkans. In partnership with the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), UNDP supported cooperation among national prosecutors in enhancing their capacities in processing cases of war crimes. Its programming was also aimed at reducing the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in partnership with the Regional Cooperation Council and the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC).

In 11 countries and territories in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, UNDP provided expert and technical support to align national capacities and frameworks with the international standards on human rights, the rule of law, security, and justice.

UNDP sustained its efforts to raise awareness of the governments, civil society, and private companies in the region on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). In 2021, UNDP co-organized the 2nd UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Eastern Europe and Central Asia in collaboration with the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR), UN Women, International Labour Organization (ILO), International Organization of Employers, and Global Business Initiative. Finally, UNDP launched the scoping study on the status of the implementation of the UNGPs in the region to be released in 2022.