Without the ability to gather in person this year – we hope this discussion room enables us to still have those important informal discussions where we can get down to how this all works in practice. So, bring your own coffee, get to know each other, and share your thoughts on what you heard during the Annual Meeting and how we can take things forward. 

Please introduce yourself and offer your perspective.


Guiding Questions

  1. What key points from the various discussions held at the Annual Meeting stand out as important for your work?
  2. Is there anything you or your organization would like to contribute to this community or to a future meeting?
  3. Please contribute on any of the topics discussed: COVID19 response, the Global Focal Point for the Rule of Law, Business and Human Rights, digitization, securing the social contract.
  4. In light of your work, what are the main challenges and opportunities posed by the Covid-19 pandemic?
  5. In light of your work, what are the main challenges and opportunities posed by the calls for justice in the context of racism and inequality?
  6. What ideas, approaches, partnerships can you/your organisation propose to help fill gaps that were identified during the Annual Meeting?
  7. Do you wish the Annual Meeting covered another topic? Start the conversation here!



Objective: To provide an informal space for participants of the Annual Meeting to engage with each other and build alliances to take forward the conversations in an actionable way.

Outcome: A summary of discussions will feed into UNDP’s policy and programme formulation on the Future We Want to See: Reimagining the Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights for Security and the Inclusive Social Contract.

    Comments (18)

    Andrea Ernudd Moderator

    Week Four Summary

    Dear friends, and colleagues, 

    Thank you for your valuable contributions and comments over the past weeks. The discussion ranged from useful country examples (CAR, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone etc.), to the need for enhanced protection of human rights defenders. We have now reached the end of the discussion in this room, but rooms two and three will remain open for another week. So see you there!   

    Jason Gluck Moderator

    Welcome everyone!  My name is Jason Gluck.  Sungeun Choi, Kenta Inagaki, Chelsea Shelton and I will be your moderators for this networking and discussion lounge.  Without the ability to gather in person for the UNDP RoLSHR Annual Meeting this year – we hope this discussion room enables us to still have the important informal discussions outside the formal sessions where we can get down to how this the rule of law, security, and human rights fields work in practice.

    We really appreciate your interest and participation in this consultation, which will build upon the Annual Meeting sessions and help UNDP and the greater rule of law community better understand how the issues and challenges we’re collectively working to address can be more effectively and efficiently managed, especially in light of the on-going COVID-19 crisis.

    The questions we hope to explore in this consultation are above and can be broadly grouped into two categories:  (1) your thoughts and reactions to the Annual Meeting sessions themselves; and (2) your own experiences working in the rule of law field and the challenges you’ve encountered along the way. 

    The discussion room will remain open for four weeks and UNDP RoLSHR will produce a synopsis of the discussion at the end.  So please feel free to weigh in with comments, questions, reflections on the Annual Meeting sessions, or reflections on your own experiences working in the rule of law.   And please use this opportunity to build your network and connect with other experts on rule of law, security, and human rights around the world! We look forward to hearing from you!

    Andranik Israyelyan

    In response to Jason's opening statement, a few remarks on behalf of Ms. Kristine Grigoryan, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Republic of Armenia.


    The COVID-19 pandemic brought many challenges for us in all spheres of our life. It revealed a lot of lacunas in our legislation, operations, connections and even inter-personal relations. From the very first day when the emergency situation was declared in Armenia, the Ministry of Justice is doing an extensive legislative work - amending number of laws, codes and procedural norms, adapting practices to the emergency. Under the lockdown the issue of ensuring the rule of law and guarantees for protection of human rights became important priorities with due respect of extraordinary measures that the fight against pandemic objectively requires. Our “normal” life was disappeared, hence the democratic reform agenda needed essential readjustments, our priorities had to be changed to address the overarching needs of our public through the tailored and targeted state support programs to some social groups, unemployed persons, small and medium businesses as well as to ensure unhindered access to justice and public services. 


    Another remarkable challenge under the COVID-19 was the organization and secure management of public service under the limited capacity of staff as well as the difficulties connected to the remote operations of the state institutions. The pandemic revealed the rigidity of our legislation regulating the public service as well. Through some legislative amendments as well as different adaptation mechanisms and modalities (electronic platforms, remote communication means, tools of distance management etc.) we learned how efficient the public service could be even with greater load, decreased connectivity and difficulties of transformation from “normal to lockdown” and from “lockdown to normal”.


    One evident conclusion for us was that the pandemic brought also opportunities on how we can more efficiently use the human talent, new business opportunities as well the public resources, how we can work in a more transparent, accountable and effective way through the use of technologies and innovation and importantly, we learned how with lesser connectivity we can be more united.  

    Thank you

    Jason Gluck Moderator

    Thank you, Andranik.  The post above on COVID-related challenges and opportunities and ways Armenia is addressing them is a wonderful encapsulation of the Deputy Minister's remarks during the opening session.  We are grateful for her contribution to Session 1 of the Annual Meeting, as well as the contribution to this virtual discussion.

    Sharmeela Rassool

    I am Sharmeela Rassool, and I work as the Justice and Human Rights Advisor with UNDP, Bangladesh.

    I absolutely agree with  HE. Anisul Huq, Honorable Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, of Bangladesh, that every crisis every disruption creates opportunities. Similarly, Dr Deepika Udagama Chair of the National Human Rights Commission, Sri Lanka mentioned that there is a silver lining behind the dark clouds cast by the pandemic. The vital question here is the ‘HOW’? How do we as the human race endeavour to seize opportunities in full, particularly when our social, economic and cultural structures are shaken to the core. Did countries with more robust social contracts do well? Did countries who followed and respected the rule of law do well? Or did countries who placed the people at the centre of their response, remaining true to the human right do well? It was a  combination of all these essential factors perhaps in different proportions. I hope the 2020 UNDP Annual Meeting, Strengthening the Rule of Law and Human Rights for Sustaining Peace and Fostering Development conference on the ‘the future we want to see – the rule of law and human right – securing the social contract will help us explore answers!

    This said I want to share how Bangladesh has seized the opportunity to address the hurdles the pandemic has created in accessing justice. The virtual court made operational in 239 courts across the country has brought about remarkable results. Virtual courts from 11th May to 28th July ( till yesterday ) received  101,411 bail applications and enlarged 54,558 persons on bail, setting a record in the history of Bangladesh. And most importantly, it has reduced the prison population by 62% in just six weeks. Although the primary objective of virtual courts was to provide access to crucial justice needs, it carries with it the strong potential to reform the aged old justice systems in the country. It has unleashed, much-needed novel thinking and has created a wave of motivation within the judiciary. Digitalizing court proceeding accompanied by business process simplification has led to eliminating few complicated and cumbersome practices which had no added value in delivering justice. It has enhanced transparency, efficiency and procedures now made more tamper-proof. Also, the national legal aid service organization to have taken steps to provide services around the clock and within eight weeks reached 8448beneficiaries.  As a practitioner, I look forward to maintaining and sustaining the momentum gained during this period and explore avenues which can reinforce these efforts through our programming partnerships with the government of Bangladesh.

    Kenta Inagaki Moderator

    Hi Sharmeela Rassool   Thank you so much for your words of expectation to this consultation and sharing examples from Bangladesh. I was particularly impressed by the fact that Bangladesh could reduce the prison population by 62% in just six weeks. I’m interested in hearing more about the background of this remarkable change. I assume that the government was trying to solve the prison overcrowding to prevent the virus outbreak in prisons, but what exactly made this change possible? Is it by an extraordinary legislation enacted under the state of emergency? If it was possible without taking any legislative measures, why the country couldn’t reduce the prison population until the pandemic? And, how is the government coping with people’s security concern?

    I totally agree with your view that we should seize opportunities for transformative change arising during the current crisis. Thanks!

    Antje Kraft

    Hi all, nice to meet you.

    I am Antje, CTA on Rule of Law at UNDP in CAR and managing the joint programme with MINUSCA.

    Following the intervention of CAR partners and the DSRSG/RC during the GFP session just now, I wanted to share the link to our video:

    Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts about the video, our partners, or our work on justice, security, SGBV, corrections and transitional justice !

    Sungeun Choi Moderator

    As UNDP Administrator, Mr. Achim Steiner, mentioned in this morning during his keynote speech, the world is experiencing unprecedented challenges from the pandemic and seeing searing divisions in the political discourse, racism and exclusion, and the erosion of trust. Now moving forward to the socioeconomic recovery, it is very clear that transformation we would like to make should be for people and the planet. Rule of law and human rights is key to achieve the transformational change we need – based on principles of trust, accountability, and justice. This ultimately means forging a new, more inclusive social contract.

    UNDP, as an accelerator of the 2030 Agenda to support people-centered justice, reduce violence and build inclusive and effective institutions, is continuing to strengthen national human rights system and also committed to supporting the rule of law and sustaining peace efforts through the Global Focal Point for the Rule of Law with the Department of Peace Operations.  UNDP is bringing innovation to our supports including using digital technology in the rule of law and human rights arenas by ensuring such new system are based on human-rights and taking privacy considerations into account.

    We would like to further hear from UNDP’s partners from UN partners to national institutions to civil societies how UNDP can make this tipping point that transform our planet and our societies for better and advanced for new social contract fully based on accountability, trust, and justice!

    Please do share your reflections from annual meeting sessions!

    Sarah Rattray

    Thanks for sharing the key note remarks from the UNDP Administrator Sungeun Choi 

    I think another important point the UNDP Administrator made in his closing remarks related to the situation of human rights defenders and the important work that they are doing globally often at great risk to themselves.

    Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in the number of human rights defenders who have faced reprisals in recent years - and in some cases loss of life. The Human Rights Council has addressed this last year in 2 landmark resolutions including one on environmental human rights defenders specifically and the UN has a special mandate on this when HRDs face reprisals for cooperating with the UN but unfortunately this negative trend goes far beyond that engagement.  In the context of COVID-19 responses where restrictions on human rights have related to many aspects of how HRDs engage, including freedom of association, this is also a highly pertinent topic we should be cognizant of.

    The Global Programme has supported strategically National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) who are frontline human rights defenders. As we look to the Future We Want and the new offer in the next GP we should more explicitly consider the support needed for HRDs. I will post more info and suggestions on this in Discussion Group 3. 






    Juliet Solomon

    Hi All, I am Juliet Solomon, Citizen Security and Rule of Law Specialist in the Panama Regional Hub. I am not sure if this is the correct forum for my question but: I was extremely interested in the presentation on the Sierra Leone justice app and I was wondering whether and where the presentations will be shared and also how to get more information on the development, costs, and M&E of the initiative.




    Jason Gluck Moderator

    Hi Juliet Solomon.  Thank you for your message.  All of the Annual Meeting presentations will be uploaded on the event website as soon as possible.  Please check https://www.undpruleoflaw4peace.org in a few days.  We can also provide you with more information about the initiative in Sierra Leone.  

    Clement Hamon

    Hi Juliet Solomon ,

    Please find attached the piece on the App that will feature in this year’s Annual Report as well as the ppt used by Sierra Leone’s RR in his presentation on Innovation at the Annual Meeting.

    Our two colleagues implementing the programme in the CO: @Walter Neba walter.neba@undp.org and Claire Flynn-Byrne may want to complement my reply.

    Take care and all the best,


    Essouma Thierry Nicaise

    Bonjour à tout le panel et aux nombreux participants. la première opportunité est cette plateforme virtuel, qui donne l'opportunité au petites mains de la société civil d'apprendre auprès d'experts. Merci au PNUD et à son programme SparkBlue. Je suis Essouma Thierry Nicaise Volontaire en charge de l'environnement et du Développement Durable de l'association à caractère sociale et à but non lucratif dénommé Association Alter Ego Cameroun... Si il y a un constat que nous avons pu faire au sein de notre association avec la survenue de la pandémie de la COVID-19. C'est la fragilité des personnes dites vulnérables (populations villageoise, femmes, enfants, personnes des faibles revenus etc.), cela met en lumière l'inégalité sociale, et la marginalisation de certains au profis des autres ce qui est un facteur de conflits et donc d'injustices. Il est urgent d'impliquer tous les acteurs de paix et de justice, de les former et les accompagner dans une démarche de sensibilisation permanente, de création d'activités surle vivre ensemble et l'acceptation de l'autre peu importe ses origines, sa tribut, ses orientations religieuses, sociales, et culturelles. pour un développent durable et l'atteinte des ODD il est primordiale que nous agissons maintenant et de façon coordoné.

    Jason Gluck Moderator

    Week One Summary

    Many thanks to everyone who contributed to this discussion over the last week.  Through this forum we have been able to build off discussions that took place during the UNDP RoLSHR Annual Meeting and continue to reflect on the issues, opportunities and challenges related to strengthening the rule of law, especially in light of the on-going COVID-19 crisis.

    Over the remaining three weeks we encourage to you continue to reflect on what we learned during the Annual Meeting, as well as share your own experiences relating to the main challenges and opportunities posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the main challenges and opportunities posed by the calls for justice in the context of racism and inequality.

    We look forward to hearing from you!

    Kenta Inagaki Moderator

    Week Two Summary and Week Three Welcome


    Dear colleagues,

    Many thanks to those of you contributed to this discussion in the first two weeks, and welcome to the third week of the consultation!

    My name is Kenta Inagaki, Rule of Law, Justice, Security and Human Rights Specialist of UNDP ROLSHR team. Chelsea Shelton and I will be your moderators for this week.

    Below is a brief summary of contributions we received during the first two weeks.

    • The Annual Meeting kicked off with the keynote speech by UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. These posts by ROLSHR team are highlighting some of the key points in his speech and you can read the full speech here.
    • Covid-19 is posing both challenges and opportunities for the justice sector. Reflections from Armenia and Bangladesh were provided.
    • During the Annual Meeting, many country examples were showcased. In this discussion, an excellent video about how UN partners are addressing impunity and insecurity in Central African Republic and a PPT of the Justice App in Sierra Leone were shared.
    • The importance of addressing inequality and injustice to achieve sustainable development was highlighted by a colleague in Cameroon.

    For those of you who missed the Annual Meeting, you can access full recordings of Day 1 and Day 2 on Youtube.

    The concept notes and agendas of the Annual Meeting including the Tri-Partite Partnership (TPP) Meeting and 2019 Rule of Law Annual Report Highlights are all uploaded on the Annual Meeting website.

    Please continue to engage with the discussion here as well as other two discussions in the next two weeks. We look forward to hearing from you!

    Best regards,

    Glaucia Boyer

    This was the first Annual Meeting I attended after my brief exposure to UNDP’s work on rule of law and human rights in the course of 2019. Clearly the Annual Meeting was held at very challenging times, where global, regional, national and local responses to the pandemic continue to test the legitimacy and capacities of governance, justice and peace around the world.  We are all witnesses to this reality: rule of law and human rights-based leadership in the response has strengthened citizen’s trust in institutions and increased social cohesion to collectively face COVID-19; whereas the lack of timely, coherent and integrated action has led to abuse of power during emergency and the exacerbation of inequalities among vulnerable and marginalized groups in the respose. Unfortunately, leadership deficits are still causing avoidable loss of life in too many countries.

    As a newcomer, still absorbing the very rich country experiences shared, the breadth and depth of UNDP’s work across rule of law and human rights stand out, along with the work needed to achieve people-centered security as highlighted in the contribution from the Central Africa Republic during the meeting or the results of the Global Programme’s work in Burkina Faso, Colombia and Democratic Republic of Congo  in the Annual Report. The challenge remains to achieve a more coherent articulation of the role of security in UNDP’s work to advance our ‘collective commitment to address the rule of law and human rights’ in the words of the UNDP Administrator.

    UNDP’s integrated structure reconfigured into the Global Policy Network and the Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights Team contrasts with the siloed actions of many partners. We are after all positioned to generate comprehensive and integrated responses, cutting across the rule of law, security and human rights areas with for sustaining peace as well as sustainable development. These should not be only a collection of actions; they should be based on integrated assessments that deepen initial identification and analysis in Common Country Assessments (CCA) and UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks (UNSDCF) leading to strategic and comprehensive responses for long-lasting impact. The common thread that unifies these areas of work needs to be better understood, acted upon and communicated.

    An annual meeting held in extraordinary times cannot be taken as ‘business as usual’; it is more than a reason to pause from our hectic routine full of smaller and fragmented meetings to reflect on UNDP’s work on Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights. I had not realized how close these areas of work are to UNDP’s core mandate of reducing poverty. Many of us take for granted the expansive development mandate we have. Surely such the rule of law, security and human rights work is inseparable from our efforts to support governance and peace, but how do they inter-connect or support poverty reduction? The answer is simple and the current times make us remember what Bryan Stevenson had already put forward: “the opposite of poverty is not wealth; it is justice.” Justice is already reflected in Sustainable Development Goal 16, but communicating it more effectively as the common thread underpinning Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights work supported by a development organization aiming to reduce poverty seems fundamental.

    Kenta Inagaki Moderator

    Hi Glaucia Boyer , thank you very much for your message.

    As a member who joined UNDP from outside the UN in the last few years, I very much agree with your thoughts. I was aware of UNDP's leading role in the rule of law and human rights work at the UN, but when I became directly involved in its work, I was surprised to realize how important its mission is.

    Our world today is much different than it was in 2008, when the Global Programme was launched. The importance of demonstrating our commitment to fundamental values such as the rule of law, human rights and justice has never been greater. I am proud to support the work of the Global Programme in this challenging times.

    Best regards,

    Kenta Inagaki Moderator

    Week Three Summary and Week Four Welcome

    Dear colleagues,

    Thank you very much for your continuous engagement with the online consultation, and welcome to the final week (Week 4) of this consultation.

    During this week, Andrea Ernudd and I will be your moderators in this room.

    In Week 3, we received a very insightful comment from a colleague in ROLSHR team, who highlighted:

    • the importance to achieve a more coherent articulation of the role of security in UNDP’s work
    • the link between UNDP’s integrated responses and analysis in Common Country Assessments (CCA) and UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks (UNSDCF)
    • that UNDP needs to communicate the value of justice more effectively as the common thread underpinning its rule of law, security and human rights work

    For those of you who missed the Annual Meeting, you can now access its full recordings through the Annual Meeting website.

    The concept notes and agendas of the Annual Meeting including the Tri-Partite Partnership (TPP) Meeting and 2019 Rule of Law Annual Report Highlights are also uploaded on the same website.

    Please join the discussion here again as well as other two discussions in the final week. We look forward to hearing from you!

    Best regards,