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 Ukraine, UNDP played a key role in supporting and advancing human rights at the policy level, through technical advice and advocacy. In 2021, the National Strategy for Promoting the Barrier-Free Environment in Ukraine and the National Human Rights Strategy were adopted, both developed with UNDP’s support and included wide consultations and promoting recommendations from civil society. By providing technical inputs to the implementation plan of the Human Rights Strategy, UNDP ensured that business and human rights theme was integrated into the strategy for the first time.
UNDP’s continuous support to the Office of the Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, Ukraine’s National Human Rights Institution (NHRI), resulted in its improved capacities and increased levels of public trust. For the second year in a row, the number of complaints addressed to the Office increased by over 25 percent. Over 4,000 people (1,978 women and 2,036 men) received human rights consultations through the NHRI’s regional network which expanded in 2021 due to UNDP’s expert support and capacity development. 70 percent of Ukrainian districts were covered with monitoring and legal counselling activities.
Civil society organizations (CSOs) received support for their communications campaigns and initiatives to protect vulnerable groups and respond to the spike of gender-based violence (GBV) and domestic violence triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions. As a result of the CSOs advocacy efforts, five local policies were adopted to counteract GBV at the level of territorial communities. At regional and national levels, the effectiveness of gender policy was strengthened through monitoring of the implementation of the State Social Programme for Equal Rights and Opportunities for Women and Men until 2021, and the National Action Plan for the implementation of concluding recommendations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Supporting enhanced community security and access to justice services for conflict-affected populations, UNDP contributed to the establishment of alternative forms of legal assistance, including mobile local Administrative Service Centers (ASCs). In 2021, 40,000 conflict-affected people (62.6 percent women) received quality legal aid through the UNDP-supported network of Free Legal Aid Service (FLAS). In addition, UNDP supported the development of a digital application “eCourt” to ensure equal access to justice services for all individuals, including residents of remote and non-government-controlled areas. The application allows individuals to submit a claim to a court and receive real-time information about the status of cases.
Capacities of the free legal aid providers have been enhanced on mediation so that more women and men, especially the vulnerable and marginalized, could resolve disputes and protect their rights. 150 FLAS employees were equipped with specialized knowledge on mediation services and obtained professional mediation skills.
Key Results: Ukraine
40,000 conflict-affected people (62.6% women) received quality legal aid through the UNDP-supported network of Free Legal Aid Service.
Over 1,000 awareness-raising events on access to public information were conducted by the Ombudsperson’s Office and its regional network.
Five specialized centers for the survivors of gender-based and domestic violence were opened in local communities in conflict-affected Donetsk and Luhansk regions.