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.
In Pakistan, through the Global Programme, UNDP scaled up a programme on women’s access to protection and justice initiated in 2018 and originally focusing on establishing mobile Gender Desks in the Newly Merged Districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, a post-conflict area where stabilization and human rights assistance is not accessible to other development partners. In 2020, the Global Programme’s support allowed the Country Office to expand the programme to the rest of Pakistan, establishing five new Gender Desks covering all four provinces to reach out to vulnerable women and girls.
UNDP’s network of 12 desks, comprised of women lawyers and civil society activists, provided referral services and ensured that the needs and the rights of women were considered in decision-making at the local level. The Gender Desks created a much-needed link between the existing protection services, human rights institutions and the communities.
The Gender Desks officers provided referral, legal awareness, counselling and aid services to 2,350 community members, including 1,953 women, 275 men and 122 transgender persons.
To sustain the positive impact that the Gender Desks have on women’s lives, UNDP is working to institutionalize these mechanisms within various governmental setups, ensuring their local ownership.
The mobile desks also became a model for UNDP to access marginalized communities. For example, UNDP is currently establishing new Gender Desks in the provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to reach out to vulnerable populations, including Afghan refugees and their host communities, and provide them with legal aid and psycho-social support.