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


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.

Realizing that justice, including transitional justice, should not be put on hold, UNDP strengthened its strategic partnerships with the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), Global Focal Point for the Rule of Law (GFP), the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) and UN Women, amongst others, to maintain and expand support on the ground as well as to develop new policy frameworks and suggest innovative approaches to respond to the latest challenges.

Within the framework of the Global Programme, UNDP promoted people-centred approach as the cornerstone for transitional justice initiatives and supported transitional justice processes through a development lens.

Women’s meaningful participation in transitional justice processes

Effective and accessible transitional justice mechanisms are prerequisites to sustainable peace, reconciliation and development. In 2021, through the Global Programme, UNDP continued to provide support on the ground and at the policy level, focusing on such critical issues as reintegration, inclusive recovery and human rights protection. Projects were implemented to further embed people-centred approach in transitional justice initiatives and ensure that transitional justice mechanisms are linked to development.

For example, in Guatemala, UNDP implemented innovative post-crisis recovery initiatives with the purpose of guaranteeing non-recurrence and to allow victims of the internal armed confrontation to fully exercise their civil, political, social and economic rights.

In The Gambia, UNDP supported the Government, the National Assembly and civil society to implement credible transitional justice and human rights mechanisms that promote reconciliation and sustainable peace. The project has been instrumental in encouraging the involvement of The Gambian civil society organizations, particularly victims’ associations, media professionals, women and youth groups to fulfil their role of justice service providers. To promote a gender focus in transitional justice processes, UNDP and UN Women, under the Global Focal Point for the Rule of Law, supported gender sensitive transitional justice efforts benefiting more than 3,500 women in Mali, South Sudan and Tunisia. In 2021, UNDP and UN Women reinforced their partnership and prepared the ground to launch their joint Gender Justice Platform.

Women’s meaningful participation

Within this partnership, UNDP and UN Women published a joint report and a policy brief “Women’s Meaningful Participation in Transitional Justice: Advancing Gender Equality and Building Sustainable Peace”. It highlighted the importance of women’s participation in transitional justice and underlined that women's engagement in peacebuilding processes paves the way for transformational societal changes, creative solutions and lasting social contract.

One of the purposes of the report is to trigger the UN and the international community to rethink its approach to women’s participation in transitional justice, both at the policy and programme levels. It spotlights vital issues and brings new elements to the conversation, embedding these issues into a wider discourse of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This report has also been developed as a contribution towards the wider UN process to review and update the 2010 Guidance Note of the UN Secretary-General: United Nations Approach to Transitional Justice. The publication defines women’s meaningful participation in transitional justice and presents various types of women stakeholders and their roles, suggesting a series of key lessons and best practices.

Women’s meaningful participation is more than having women in the room. In addition to having a seat at the table, women need space to express themselves, be heard, listened to, and to possess the tools and powers necessary to influence the process. The report highlighted the following requirements for women’s meaningful participation in transitional justice processes:

  • Diversified women’s access to justice systems and spaces, safely and without obstacles.
  • Women’s continuous presence, in order to seize opportunities.
  • Women’s ability to influence outcomes by representing their diverse interests.

With case studies from The Gambia, Guatemala, Sri Lanka and Tunisia, the report provided a roadmap for the UN to promote women leadership in transitional justice. It concluded that women’s participation in transitional justice is a human right which can ultimately contribute to more inclusive transitional justice processes for everyone.

The next step for UNDP, UN Women and other partners is to bring the recommendations into practice and to invest in stronger joint efforts to close the justice gap for women and girls in complex contexts. The role of women in shaping peaceful and inclusive societies, including through their meaningful participation in transitional justice processes, must be acknowledged and strengthened to ensure sustainable peace and a more just future for all.

Western Balkans regional war crimes (RWC) project

In 2021, the final year of the implementation of the UK-funded Regional War Crimes (RWC) project in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia, UNDP continued addressing legacies of the conflicts in the Western Balkans through the means of rule of law and transitional justice and by supporting peacebuilding, reconciliation and social cohesion. In partnership with the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), UNDP facilitated cooperation among the national prosecutors of BiH and Serbia which advanced in 2021. For example, an agreement was reached on transferring more than 25 cases from Serbia to BiH, de-escalating tensions between the two countries and the conflict of jurisdictions, while a number of other war crimes cases, including complex ones, became the subject of gradually increasing evidence sharing, case transfers and other forms of mutual assistance and cooperation.

Legal and institutional frameworks were improved through UNDP’s support to several legislative and policy interventions. A new five-year Serbian National War Crimes Strategy, the state’s benchmark document for the war crimes and accountability issues, was drafted and adopted. Also in Serbia, the first law on the rights of families of missing persons was drafted. In Montenegro, criminal legislation was amended to introduce admissibility of evidence from the IRMCT allowing for more efficient handling of transferred cases. In Montenegro and Serbia, strategic litigation was used to streamline the reparations payments for victims and their families in line with international standards. Finally, a model protocol on cross-border cooperation in victim and witness support for the sub-region was developed.
In BiH, investigators of the state-level police (28 women and 42 men) were trained to investigate conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV), including to identify and investigate CRSV against men. Infrastructure of judicial victim and witness support services (VWSS) in BiH was upgraded, and skills of the VWSS judicial staff, local civil society organizations and victims’ associations were strengthened to engage in psychosocial support and advocacy. In addition, in partnership with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), over 20 local journalists were trained to report on war crimes trials which had not had sufficient media coverage.

The RWC project continued to empower new opinion leaders and agents of change for promoting accountability and reconciliation in the sub-region. Over 100 students and 40 peacebuilding advocates received training on the use of transitional justice mechanisms and social cohesion. In addition, 24 young history researchers and scholars from Serbia were extensively trained and coached in using war crimes judgments and other evidence gathered through transitional justice mechanisms as reliable sources for history writing. The first university curriculum on transitional justice was piloted at a state-owned and a private university in Serbia. In Montenegro, 18 high- and elementary school professors (10 women and 8 men) designed methodology and materials for Teaching controversial history of the 1990s which is expected to be certified as official additional school teaching material by 2023.