Our world is rapidly changing, and justice and human rights concerns are at the forefront of many of the challenges we are facing today – from public health, inequality and public safety to climate change and digital transformations. Whether you are a current partner, donor, or an independent civil society activist, thematic expert, journalist or academic specializing in rule of law and human rights and advocating for security or justice reform, we want to hear what areas of work you think are important challenges, opportunities and adaptations for the rule of law, security and human rights community to engage in over the next 5 years.

Please introduce yourself and offer your perspective.


Guiding Questions:

Identifying current and emerging trends on the rule of law and human rights:

  1. UNDP’s Current thematic areas of focus are Political Engagement, Institution Building, Community Security, Access to Justice, Human Rights Systems, Transitional Justice, and Gender Justice. How should UNDP’s thematic focus areas evolve within the Rule of Law and Human Rights sphere? What needs to change? What are the trends and policy evolutions which inform your view?
  2. What trends related to the rule of law, security and human rights are you seeing in your current context and what trends do you see coming up on the horizon? What opportunities do you see for advancing the rule of law, security and human rights over the next 5 years taking into account demands for integrity and transparency; climate justice, digital transformations, addressing inequality and insecurity/violence and supporting risk informed development?
  3. What trends related to DDR, small arms and armed violence reduction are you seeing? Do you think that these are being adequately addressed by the international community?
  4. Constitutions provide the overarching legal framework which sets out the basis of the social contract between a state and its people affecting all aspects of policy and society. What can we do better in our support to constitutional reform?
  5. What is the level and type of demands for justice, security, and human rights in your context? Are there specific areas of work you are seeing more or less of a need for?
  6. How can the UN Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights and agenda for protection assist the rule of law, security and human rights at national level?
  7. What challenges are you currently experiencing and foresee in advancing the rule of law, security and human rights over the next 5 years?  What key actions could be taken to initiative transformative change?



Objective: To crowdsource ideas, trends and priorities in the Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights fields and reflect on how to achieve transformational impact and positive change in the next decade.

Outcome: A summary of the 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 and the Inclusive Social Contract. Your insights will also inform the next phase of UNDP’s Global Programme on the Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights.

Comments (101)

Andrea Ernudd Moderator

Week Five Summary - final week

Dear friends and colleagues,

We have now reached the end of this exceptional consultation and wish to thank you all for your thought-provoking and valuable contributions. The discussion this past week focused on the role of education in strengthening the rule of law, by highlighting the Doha declaration and commitments made by Member States. And, the fact that UNODC recently announced that the postponed 14th Crime Congress will be hosted on 7 to 12 March 2021. So please keep an eye out for that 😊as it promises to be an excellent opportunity to further deepen the discussion around creating a “culture of lawfulness” in the context of the 2030 Agenda.

Other important contributions were received from colleagues in Kosovo (thank you @Magda!) who offered detailed information about National Monitoring Reporting and Follow-up Mechanisms (NMRF), and the need to strengthen these. Some of the key advantages mentioned were:

- Create and mobilize in-country networks and alliances on core human rights, sustainable development and peace and security issues between State entities, civil society actors and other relevant stakeholders such as national human rights institutions, trade unions, or the media.

- Showcase the links between human rights recommendations and the 2030 Agenda. Advocate for addressing human rights challenges and the SDGs in a holistic way, as a way to accelerate progress on both agendas and leaving no one behind.

Big thank you again, stay connected and stay safe everyone!

Ainura Bekkoenova Moderator

We are happy to welcome you to the opening of important global public discussion on “Re-imagining paths towards Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights for a better future” that will be held during 29th of June - 24th of July 2020.

We are curious to hear your insights and visions of what’s possible in re-imagining our paths and ways towards societies that implement inclusive social contract, rule of law, justice and human rights. We believe that by collating your different, alternative and inspiring visions of future, we will be able to shape a common narrative, that will speak to the whole of society. Therefore, we are inviting to the discussion practitioners, experts and thinkers from various fields (not only from UNDP) and the wide range of partner organizations, including civil society, think tanks and governments.

As the experts in your fields, please share with us 2-3 key suggestions on your vision of the future paths towards Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights for a better future, including the opportunities, challenges and priorities that you foresee.

Your thoughts and ideas will feed the design of the new programme of UNDP  - Future We Want to See: Reimagining the Rule of Law, Security and Human and the Inclusive Social Contract.

Together with my colleagues Tim Heine Livio Sarandrea Sungeun Choi Lara Deramaix Leanne McKay Glaucia Boyer Clement Hamon Yagiz Oztepe Polina Korotkikh , we will moderate this discussion. 

I am working as Human Rights & Rule of Law Expert @ UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Please feel free to check some of my views & opinions of emerging trends in human rights and rule of law, including on how COVID-19 digital surveillance impacts privacy and the need for human rights based approach to artificial intelligence.

Looking forward to our discussions, brainstorming and exchange of views, ideas!

Ivan Honcharuk

Dear colleagues,

Greetings from Ukraine.

My name is Ivan Honcharuk, I work as Rule of Law and Access to Justice Specialist, UNDP Ukraine. I work with the National Free of Charge Legal Aid System, National Courts (local ones, mostly) and the civil society organizations who work on the local / national level in sphere of the access to justice.

I joined UNDP in late 2016, since that time my work is focused on capacity building of the above-listed institutions and spread of information about them.

From my experience I can say that one of the main challenges is a poor knowledge of vast majority of the local population about justice / governmental institution, their role, functions and often about their existence. As a result, this lack of knowledge negatively affects the level of the exercise of people’s legal rights. The impact of this lack of knowledge is especially seen in the armed conflict context which Ukraine is facing from 2014 (e.g., the exercise of the legal rights of the internally displaced persons and other conflict-affected population).

Also, the overall level of trust to the state authorities is also at the low level, to my opinion this is a result of lack of knowledge of these authorities' functions.

The possible way to improve this situation, to my opinion, is to integrate some limited legal education to schools with a focus on description of functions of the various local/regional/national level authorities and self-governance bodies including information on how to reach them and how they can help. This might be close to the education of paralegals to some extent, the difference, however, is in the expected result: first of all, these knowledges will be used for the private life and personal usage. Increase of the level of understanding of functions of these authorities also might increase the level of trust to these institutions.

This project, obviously, won't give the fast outcome, however, it might be one the most sustainable.

Maybe some similar projects or education processes exist in some countries, it would be great to know about this experience.

Thank you.

Best regards,

Ivan Honcharuk

Ainura Bekkoenova Moderator

Thank you Ivan Honcharuk for sharing your valuable suggestion on making available the education programmes that can improve the knowledge and understanding of people about the nature and functioning of public institutions, including locally governed bodies. This can definitely enhance trust to the authorities, subject to their proportional effort to meet demands of people and overall the social contract. We have seen similar to your suggestion UNDP legal empowerment projects and programmes that have been helpful in especially in fragile/conflict affected areas. Nicholas Booth Simone Boneschi  grateful if you share with us your views on how these legal empowerment initiatives impacted social cohesion and confidence in institutions in your countries. Many thanks! Olena Ursu @Rustam Pulatov 

Nicholas Booth

Thanks Ivan Honcharuk  for your contribution with which I strongly agree.  The social contract can only work when everyone knows about it, understands its rationale and how the institutions of society have evolved to serve it.  My impression is that while some systems teach children about their responsibilities as citizens, not as many focus on their rights, or on the role of the justice system to hold the state accountable.  Inspired by the concept of a "culture of lawfulness" in the Doha Declaration, UN agencies like UNDP, UNESCO and UNODC have been increasing the focus on justice education at different levels - I hope Elodie Beth will share a UNESCO perspective.  In Bhutan, for instance, with UNDP's support, the Bhutan National Legal Institute has been running "law and democracy" clubs in high schools where students get to learn to debate policy issues, meet judges and understand more about their young democracy and legal system. 

Equally important is the role law faculties and law schools need to play in raising awareness of law students that law needs to work for the empowerment of everyone, especially those left behind, but that lack of access to justice and disempowerment often restrict the benefits of law to a small powerful and rich elite.  Clinical legal education (CLE) programmes, such as those which UNDP has supported in Viet Nam, Thailand, India, Nepal, Maldives, Palestine and elsewhere, expose students to the reality of the legal issues faced by survivors of domestic and sexual violence, migrant workers, people living with HIV/AIDS, people with disabilities and others, and help them to become more aware about social justice, even as they help those communities themselves learn more about law and justice.  I hope my friends in the CLE world will contribute their perspectives.


Elodie Beth

Dear Ivan and colleagues,

Greetings from UNESCO (and hello to previous colleagues from UNDP), my name is Elodie Beth.

I agree with you that the lack of understanding of government institutions, including justice institutions, is an issue that undermines public trust. Young people should also know their rights and uphold governments to account when these rights are abused. This is important at a time when  UN Secretary General has warned that the current health crisis could become a human right crisis if the emergency measures to contain the pandemic are applied beyond what is strictly necessary.

To respond to this, UNESCO is working on a global programme on education for justice, which aims to empower children and young people to know and exercise their rights as well as prepare them to become champions for fair societies. Our programme, which is conducted jointly with UNODC aims to:

  1.         Place human rights at the centre of education: We help countries to deliver educational programmes and resources that empower children and youth to understand and exercise their rights.
  2.        Build bridges between changemakers in the education and justice sectors: We provide strategies for policy-makers to institutionalise this, building on the guide for policymakers on Strengthening the rule of law through education.
  3.       Build the capacities of teachers, educators and community members with the help of resources such as the handbooks on Empowering students for just societies. The handbooks, which are designed for primary and secondary school teachers help teach children about their rights and empower them to become engaged citizens who build just societies for the future.

As you rightly said, education is a long term investment!

All the best,



Kenta Inagaki

I was pleased to see a discussion by colleagues of UNDP and UNESCO about the role of education in strengthening the rule of law.

As Nicholas Booth has rightly pointed out, the role of education is currently receiving a lot of attention at the UN in the context of an agenda, called “culture of lawfulness,” which is being discussed in the UN’s crime prevention and criminal justice field.

In the UN, the concept of “culture of lawfulness” first appeared in the UN Guidelines for the Prevention of Crime, adopted by the ECOSOC in 2002, but hasn’t received much attention for many years. “The Doha Declaration”, adopted at the 13th UN Crime Congress in Doha, Qatar in 2015 (the Crime Congress is the largest UN conference in crime prevention and criminal justice field, held every 5 years.), included this notion in 2 paragraphs, and highlighted its importance for the rule of law to prevail throughout the society. Although the concept is still evolving and has various definitions, the Member States reached a general understanding that it means “approaches taken by the governments towards the general public to promote trust and respect for the law and its enforcement.” “Education for Justice” is one of the four main pillars of the UNODC’s Doha Declaration Global Programme, launched after the Doha Congress.

The 14th Crime Congress was originally scheduled to take place in Kyoto, Japan in April 2020, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, just today, it was announced by UNODC that the new date for the 14th Crime Congress has been recommended by the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice as 7 to 12 March 2021. It is still being scheduled to take place in Kyoto, but there’s a possibility to use virtual platforms.  

Whatever the format, the next Congress will be an excellent opportunity to further deepen the discussion around “culture of lawfulness” in the context of the 2030 Agenda. UNDP is looking forward to contributing the discussion!

Marta Gazideda

Dear Ainura, colleagues,

I am glad to share some thoughts, from our experience in UNDP Kosovo, on the subject, courtesy of the project manager (Ardian) who was inspired by the 2019 training on HR:

 Strengthen the functioning of National Monitoring Reporting and Follow-up Mechanisms (NMRF) including the linking of the human rights instruments / policies / plans to the SDG plans should be one of the main priorities. Basically an institutionalization of what what can be found in other places, a type of inter-ministerial coordination structure, moving away from ad hoc to something more stable and long-term to allow for follow-up and implementation of recommendations addressed to institutional actors.

Such mechanisms or structures are mandated to coordinate and prepare reports to and engage with international and regional human rights mechanisms, and to coordinate and track national follow-up and implementation of the treaty obligations and the recommendations stemming from these mechanisms; with the hundreds of recommendations made by HRM and targets set under the SDGs, it can only be helpful for Governments if implementation of all, data collection in this regard, monitoring and reporting are coordinated well and allow for meaningful participation by all, including the most marginalized- instead of having duplicate and parallel processes.

An NMRF performs these functions in coordination with ministries, specialized institutional bodies (such as the National Statistics Office), SDG implementation focal point (agency/ministry), Parliament and the judiciary, as well as in consultation with the national human rights institution(s), civil society including the most marginalized groups. In addition, if we want to look closer at further inter-linkages it is worthwhile looking at the four key capacities an NMRF should have to effectively function:

The four capacities:

ENGAGEMENT CAPACITY: institutional capacity to engage and liaise with international and regional human rights bodies and organize and centrally facilitate the preparation of reports and responses to international and regional human rights mechanisms.This may include:

- A dedicated capacity and knowledge (e.g. through the establishment of a permanent Executive Secretariat for such purposes with trained staff knowing about each international human rights mechanism);

- Ministerial focal points;

- The establishment of standardized internal reporting guidelines and procedures or checklists to organize Special Procedures visits.

COORDINATION CAPACITY: The capacity and authority to disseminate information, and to organize and coordinate information gathering and data collection from government entities, but also other State actors such as the National Statistics Office, SDG implementation focal point “agency/Ministry”, Parliament and the judiciary, for reporting and follow-up to recommendations. his may include:

- A solid mandate, terms of reference, and annual work plans engaging all relevant ministries, the National Statistics Office and SDG focal point (lead agency/ministry);

- Email lists and regular coordination meetings;

- Use of templates for collecting information;

- Standing procedures for coordination with Parliament.

CONSULTATION CAPACITY: The capacity to foster and lead consultations with the country’s NHRI(s) and civil society including most marginalized groups.This may include:

- A dedicated focal point for liaising with other stakeholders;

- Establishing a mailing list;

- Regular consultations with different stakeholders;

- Participation of stakeholders in selected meetings (observer).

INFORMATION MANAGEMENT CAPACITY: The capacity of a NMRF to: track the issuance of recommendations and decisions by the international and regional human rights mechanisms; systematically capture and thematically cluster (including against SDGs) these recommendations and decisions in a user-friendly spread sheet or database; identify responsible Government ministries and/or agencies for their implementation; develop HRM recommendations implementation plans, including time-lines, with relevant ministries to facilitate such implementation, which can feed into NHRAP or SDG plans; and manage information regarding the implementation of treaty provisions and recommendations, including with a view to preparing the next periodic report.

In summary, the NMRF provides the following opportunities for UNDP:

- Assess the realities of people’s lives on a regular basis, identifying root causes of access to justice, conflict and violence and groups (at risk of) being left behind.

- Engage in dialogue on sensitive issues that may otherwise be delicate to raise

- Create and mobilize in-country networks and alliances on key human rights, sustainable development and peace and security issues between State entities, civil society and other relevant stakeholders such as national human rights institutions, trade unions, or the media

- Raise more awareness around human rights and inequalities in society.

- Showcase the links between human rights recommendations and the 2030 Agenda. Advocate for addressing human rights challenges and the 17 SDGs in a holistic way, as a way to accelerate progress on both agendas and leaving no one behind. Ensure that this approach flows from the CDP/ Cooperation Framework and results in tailored support for the implementation of national development plans and other relevant policy and programming frameworks and documents.

Rgs, Marta

Juan Pablo Gordillo

Hi, I´m Juan Pablo Gordillo from the RSCLAC Hub, UNDP-Infosegura regional Project. About ¿What trends related to the rule of law, security and human rights are you seeing in your current context and what trends do you see coming up on the horizon?, I think that Rule of Law, Security and HHRR should continue focusing on an integral prevention strategy.

For example, under Citizen Security and Peaceful Coexistence approach, we´ve seen for more tan 15 years a prevention comprehensive strategy, seeing Justice as a prevention matter. Citizens voice helps to prevent conflict uprise, quality of security services and confidence also does, early conflict detection and gender based sensitive approach also does, evidence based policies and well informated strategies are also on the prevention basis.

Under LAC and Infosegura strategy we´ve seen a trend of more complex crisis, citizens lack of trust in key RoL institutions, and socioeconomic pression that leads to social unrest . Data shows that Homicide trends are lower tan 10 years ago, but conflicts upscaling, and lack of voice and polarization is clear in the region. Also Gender based violence and policies focused on preventable deaths among those who had been left behind still need a lot of improvement (women, child, migrant, displaced, ancestral communities, LGBTIQ+, Elderly).

Stronger evidence, Knowledge Management and broader diffusion of acceleration strategies and policies on RoL and Citizen Security must be disseminated. Processes such as UNDP-Infosegura, SIGOB, CariSecure provide first steps on this.

Please visit some resources on our work on RoL, Citizen Security, peacebuilding and HHRR:

Ainura Bekkoenova Moderator

Hi Juan Pablo Gordillo - I sincerely appreciate your insights on prevention strategies, following your extensive knowledge and evidenced based experience with processes such as UNDP-Infosegura, SIGOB, CariSecure in Latin America, working together with Juliet Solomon Lorena MELLADO Gloria Manzotti. We will look closely at the acceleration strategies and evidence in the resources you have shared. I was wondering if you have also been looking at the role of social media in peaceful co-existence your region. We have just published a blog post - Using social media to advocate for sustainable change through protest and it would be good to hear your views on this as well.  

Jessica Young

Dear colleagues, I am Jessica Young, Country Programme Manager for Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development in Panama Country Office. ¿What trends related to the rule of law, security and human rights are you seeing in your current context and what trends do you see coming up on the horizon? I see the Escazú Agreement that aims to guarantee the rights of all people to a healthy environment and to their participation in the decisions that affect their lives and surroundings. It is the first binding multilateral treaty that protects the rights of access to information, public participation and justice in areas such as the sustainable use of natural resources, biodiversity conservation, the fight against deforestation and climate change, and water and air quality. In practice, it is a legal instrument to guarantee a basic human right: the right to enjoy a healthy ecological environment as a requirement for the full enjoyment of other human rights, such as the right to a dignified life, health, housing, food, water and sanitation.

The regional treaty is the result of four years of negotiations and was signed on March 4, 2018 in the Costa Rican town of Escazú, and puts into practice Principle 10 of the Rio de Janeiro Declaration adopted at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012, which established the rights of access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters for all people as the best way to deal with environmental issues.

Escazu is a second-generation environmental agreement that guarantees fundamental procedural rights to adequately implement the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and its 17 Goals (ODS) and to follow up on other international agreements such as the Paris Agreement (2015) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (1993). 

The Escazú Agreement brings benefits that are important to highlight:

(i) it promotes multilateralism since it proposes symmetrical solutions to common problems throughout the Latin American region. It proposes regional standards, exchange of experiences among countries, as well as South-South cooperation, and a regional platform with tools at hand to improve capacities and promote better public policies.

(ii) promotes governance, as it is a "powerful tool to prevent conflicts, ensure that decisions are taken in an informed, participatory and inclusive manner and improve accountability, transparency and good governance" in line with ODS 16 which promotes a rights-based approach and lays the foundation for democracy, citizenship and institutionalism in environmental matters.

(iii) calls for the protection of human rights defenders in environmental matters. Crucially, the treaty includes the world's first binding provision on human rights defenders in environmental matters so that they can operate without threats, restrictions and insecurity.

(iv) leaving no one behind, the Escazú Agreement incorporates provisions to address asymmetries in power relations, paying special attention to people in conditions of greater vulnerability such as indigenous peoples, afro-descendants, women, children and youth, people with disabilities, the elderly, and people with lower incomes.

(v) promotes the use of technology and therefore innovation to provide access to useful information, in a timely manner and to facilitate participation, with open data for example Technology should be used to bring closer together and reduce the gaps.

The Escazú Agreement opens the opportunity to begin a new stage in our region of a virtuous relationship between the defense of the environment and the advancement of human rights. We know that without a healthy environment there can be no economic and social development. Escazú shows us the way: more environmental rights and of greater rank and scope to build prosperous and inclusive societies that bring us closer to fulfilling Agenda 2030.

We are integrating Escazu Agreement in all of our SESP, and into the main topics to generate awareness and connect actual mechanisms of access with transparency and environmental democracy. 

Ainura Bekkoenova Moderator

Dear Jessica Young, many thanks for sharing this important piece of information about the adoption of the Escazú Agreement - the first environmental human rights treaty in Latin America and the Caribbean. Indeed, the Escazú Agreement incorporates several innovative elements that can be quite useful for replication in other regions.  Firstly, it has a specific provision on environmental human rights defenders (HRDs) that is unprecedented. Second, it enshrines a rights-based approach toward indigenous peoples and vulnerable populations, with provisions to favour access to information, participation and access to justice by these groups. Third, it also responds to the spirit of the United Nations’ (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights regarding companies’ specific obligations to respect human rights in the context of their activities. In addition, two key elements of the agreement are the use of translators into other languages and cost-free guarantees to ensure access to justice, which is essential in environmental conflicts.

It would be interesting to hear from you more about how UNDP is promoting ratification of this agreement in countries and supporting human rights defenders at risk of intimidation and reprisals. I am copying here my colleagues who can share more of their insights about how we can build further this stream of work that clearly links environmental protection and human rights - Sarah Rattray Livio Sarandrea Sungeun Choi Cansu Demir Doruk Ergun 

Sungeun Choi Moderator

Thank you Ainura Bekkoenova for tagging me in this important discussion. I trust Sarah Rattray can post more about reprisals against human rights defenders and national human rights institutions and suggestions, but here I want to underscore that environmental human rights defenders play an important role in supporting States to fulfill their obligations under the Paris Agreement and to realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the pledge that no one will be left behind and to reach the furthest behind first.

Please check a strong Human Rights Council resolution (HRC/RES/40/11) recognizing the crucial role of environment human rights defenders to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment adopted by consensus during the Human Rights Council 40th Session in March 2019. 

Sarah Rattray highlighted at the CoP E-consultation on Healthy Ecosystems and Human Rights that the numbers of reprisals against human rights defenders has been rising. We have seen increase in killings, violent acts, forced eviction and displacement of environmental human rights defenders by States and non-State actors, including indigenous and women human rights defenders, and human rights defenders addressing issues relating to land rights, their family members, communities, associates and legal representatives.

Environment human rights defenders must be ensured a safe and enabling environment to undertake their work free from hindrance and insecurity. Democracy and rule of law are essential components for the protection of human rights defenders and states must take measures to strengthen democratic institutions, safeguard civic space and combat impunity. Indigenous people as well as young people and children defending human rights relating to environment should be protected and also be able to have meaningful participation and decision makings to shape their now and future.

On 1st of July, the Human Rights Council 44th session held its annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child with two panel discussions on realizing the rights of the child through a healthy environment as a child right concern (panel1panel2). Two young activists from Côte d'Ivoire and Colombia were part of discussion and delivered powerful messages to the Council.  As  the High Commissioner for Human Rights  and the Special Reporter on Human Rights and  Environment stated during the discussions, we need global recognition of the human rights to a healthy environment, and this will lead to stronger policies, at all levels, to protect our planet and people especially our children now and in the future.  Check the Special Reporter’s report submitted to the Council in March with more than 500 good practices from 178 states. Practices range broadly from laws, policies, jurisprudence, strategies, programmes, projects to other measures that have contributed to decrease in adverse impacts on the environment.  

Finally, here I am sharing with you a young Colombian environment human rights defender Juliana’s strong video message shown to the Human Rights Council this week. Hope this inspires you. 😊 UNDP RoLSHR team will also listen to young voices, discuss further on how we frame our role of law and human rights support for the future, and act together  with wider teams within UNDP as well as our partners to build back better ensuring right-based healthy planet.

Nicholas Booth

Thanks Jessica Young , great post and wonderful to see the quick progress of the Escazu Agreement. 

And thank you in particular for raising the importance of environmental justice and accountability.   Surely, when we think about what needs to happen to build back "Beyond Recovery to 2030", this must be a crucial pillar.   It's great to see UNDP taking this on in ECLAC region and we should be learning from your good example. 

We in Asia-Pacific are jealous of Europe and Central Asia that have the Aarhus Convention, and now Latin America's Escazu Agreement.   When will access to information, public participation and environmental justice come to our region?    It's sorely needed.  What about those of you in Africa and Arab States - are there moves afoot to bring an Aarhus or Escazu convention in your regions?   In so many fields Asia-Pacific is a leader and first mover, but not when it comes to environmental justice and accountability.   What can we in the UNDP and the broader UN family do to raise the profile of this issue and encourage more action from member states to build access to environmental justice and accountability more strongly into their legal and human rights frameworks?

Rustam Pulatov

Hello! I am Rustam, and currently, I am in Ukraine with UN Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme. I manage a portfolio of projects, covering community security, social cohesion, rule of law and access to justice, community mobilization, ADR, peacebuilding, and mine action. 

The question posed is multi-dimensional and very complex. A few ideas (or loud-thinking) to this discussion is related to the evolution of all the thematic areas. What I have noticed in recent years, is that we produce less and less up-to-date pieces of research and analysis to back up our country-level work and advocacies. 

Let's take, for example, Community Security and Social Cohesion: Towards a UNDP Approach that was prepared back in 2009. It is a good piece of research and analysis, providing conceptual backup and evidence from the field (though might be updated for sure). This was evidence of thought leadership in this area (at least back in 2009:)).

We need to have more of this type of works, coordinated at the global level, with support from academia and research, CO work, bringing together all sides and making a proposed plan of development and advocating for change. And then such work is used at all levels to work with countries, donors, other organizations and trying to shift the views on development. So if, for instance, the donor countries (I can name a few), for some reason, think that access to justice is not part of stabilization (conflict and post-conflict), then we may need to do additional work and then advocate to change this position. Otherwise, it affects UNDP work in countries where we work, since respective donor stabilization programmes, simply don't have any reference to justice as part of the strategy. 

Some areas, as use of ICT and social media definitely need to be featured in all key pieces of research and analysis. Do we have a specific position, that's yet another question. For instance, video-surveillance and use of AI, becoming more and more prominent in rule of law or community security, Where is the balance between communal good and personal freedom and privacy? The development paradigm shift towards more security-driven policymaking is all evident in most countries, what is UNDP position/approach to that? Can we back up our approach with evidence and scientific research? 

All this doesn't somehow reduce the importance of pilots and practices applied in each country, but a simple collection of pilots doesn't constitute a UNDP approach. Or maybe we don't need any global one? :) 

Sofiene Bacha

Hi Rustam Pulatov and thank you very much for these insights on community security and stabilization.

I know that UNDP is doing excellent work in Ukraine on Community security, access to justice, and social cohesion. You can also see other examples of that type of work in the comments of Juan Pablo Gordillo on citizen security in Latin America and the Caribean (https://www.sparkblue.org/comment/24186) and the SEESAC project in South-Eastern Europe project where support to arms control is combined with community security and SSR.

I cannot agree more with you on the need to (re)shape our vision and update our policy on the support that UNDP is providing at the coutry and regional levels to the security sector. Actually, a deep dive on security and development is being undertaken, starting with a "thought paper", under development jointly with the Sweden’s Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA), to semantically clarify the concepts around the people-centred approach to security, such as human security, community security, urban security, citizen security, societal security, etc. and to explore the connection between people-centred security and the progress on SDG16+. At the same time, a mapping on UNDP support will be also launched very soon, to prepare the next phases of the discussion and the policy development/update itself, including the ICT and social media and the new challenges posed by COVID-19. You and other relevant colleagues in the region will receive information on that soon via Ainura Bekkoenova.

Thank you again and please keep following the conversation on SparkBlue.

Rustam Pulatov

Sofiene Bacha Thank you! Good to know and looking forward to hearing the news soon! :) We are ready to share our practices, piliots and lessons learned. 

Liviana Zorzi

Dear Ainura and Colleagues, I am Liviana Zorzi, Project Specialist on Transparency & Accountability at UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub, part of Nicholas Booth’s team. 

I would like to reflect on the key role of the judiciary in advancing the rule of law and embodying the implementation of justice. The judiciary has a primary responsibility to deliver justice for all and curb corruption, contributing to achieving two fundamentals targets of the Sustainable Development Goal 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. This can be made possible through initiatives fostering transparency, promoting integrity and increasing public trust without impeding the independence of the judiciary at the same time.

According to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2017, citizens around the world perceive the judiciary as one of the most corruption-prone sectors, with 30% of the respondents believing that most judges and magistrates are corrupt. The poorest and most marginalized are the ones who suffer most, as they are less likely to pay bribes and have limited access to influential networks. Besides hampering public confidence in the institutions and undermining stability in fragile contexts, corruption and lack of integrity in the judiciary also constitute a human rights violation.

UNDP is supporting judiciaries in ASEAN to promote transparency, integrity and accountability and to fulfil their obligations under article 11 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption through the Judicial Integrity Network in ASEAN, that was launched in 2018.

The current crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has its repercussions also on the justice systems, already affected by backlog of cases and a deficit of public trust. Since March 2020, the enforcement of lock-downs disrupted the routine operations of the courts. Nevertheless, the demand for justice has not decreased; on the contrary, the number of people’s justice problems is increasing rapidly as they lose jobs and run into difficulties paying bills and debts; a steep increase of business disputes related to bankruptcy and insolvency is expected, while domestic violence cases are already on the rise in several countries. Currently, the pandemic is worsening this justice gap, which will further exacerbate existing inequalities. For example, according to UN estimates, nearly half of the world population (46%) have no access to the internet. With courts turning to digital tools to make access to justice possible during the pandemic, those penalized by the digital divide may be left excluded.

COVID-19  however opened up avenues for “a new possible”, as I mentioned in my blog. This is the occasion for judiciaries around the world to adopt a people-centered approach to justice, to remove barriers to innovation and technologies and revolutionize the way in which justice is delivered, to establish open, inclusive, fair, and accountable justice systems that can rebuild trust in the institution.

Now more than ever, is the time for judges to reach out to each other across borders to share experiences, good practices and capacity, and to collaborate on innovation. The UNDP’s  Judicial Integrity Network in ASEAN aims precisely at facilitating this exchange at the regional level. The shifting from physical events to online meetings provides the opportunity to make this support available well beyond regional borders, therefore I invite you to have a look at our webpage and watch out for updates on upcoming webinars organized by the Network, as well as reach out to us for further information.

Tek Tamata

Dear Liviana, I can not agree more regarding judicial accountability would be one of the focused areas for new rule of law programming. The transparency, juridical democracy and democratization of justice system is always important to institutionalize rule of law and advance access to justice of poor and vulnerable.

Unless and until corruption and malpractices are rampant, neither the affordability nor accessibility of people to the justice system becomes possible. Even it affects the credibility and confidence of people. Hence it is necessary to have something robust in the programme to work on this sensitive but critical issue to work.

The best entry point could of self-assessment of judicial integrity. It has not only to cover judiciary but also all the key pillars of criminal justice system and law enforcement agencies. The assessment can help us to identify the areas of the support. Likewise modernization and e-judicial environment has to be established. In this regard, developing e-strategy for judicial service might be important to develop. Open judicial system helps to make the service more transparent.

There are mainly two approaches to be looked at. One could be support to introduce internal system to ensure zero-tolerance against corruption and ensure judicial disciple and secondly to work more on introducing system such as information centers, client centric citizen charter, judicial outreach programme to avoid malpractices.

Even the judiciary should also engage with CSOs and media to provide necessary information and work that they have been doing. To make sure these all, there would need a huge support to develop necessary systems and normative frameworks.

With regards,




Nicholas Booth

Thanks Tek Tamata for your good points about judicial accountability.  I remember we had some early discussions on supporting the judiciary in Nepal with self-assessment, did that initiative progress, and are there any lessons for us to learn?

Maria del Mar Perez

Thank you for Sharing! My name is María del Mar Pérez, from UNDP Dominican Republic's Governance Unit. We agree with your statement on COVID-19: It opens "a new possible". For our Judicial System, it actually enables its transformation to be executed faster. Since 2019, our Judicial System had a strategy plan that had to be executed in the next 7 years: it includes 3 main axis: 1) Justice for all, 2) Timely and efficient judicial service and 3) integrity for reliable justice. In all 3, the digitalization of the process, the documentation and the access was an essential part, which will have had to come as part of the transformation. Nevertheless,  at this moment, the digitalization is the catalyst for the transformation process. Even with all the emergency measures in place justice must be served, and justice will be soon an online accessible service. UNDP brings to the table all our global, regional and local knowledge and experiences, as well as an efficient operational support to the transformation. Yes, It's a matter of putting people at the center of the transformation process: change the culture, transform the Justice System, go online, sin dejar a nadie atrás.

Ainura Bekkoenova Moderator

Dear Liviana Zorzi 

Many thanks for sharing your insights and reflections on the role of judiciary in promoting rule of law, transparency and integrity, based on your very interesting work through the Judicial Integrity Network in ASEAN together with Nicholas Booth 

We will look more closely at the webpage of this initiative, which has been promoted as good example in ECIS by the way, as well as webinars! Irakli Kotetishvili 

As you mentioned in your blog, the justice gap is expected to increase due to pandemic and the impact of justice problems will be considerable, with large scale violence being a substantial risk in a number of countries. This is mentioned in the findings of the Delivering Justice in COVID-19 Crisis report of the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law that is based on survey of justice leaders and urges courts, police and other justice services to urgently adapt their services, focusing on interventions that are most likely to resolve or prevent an additional wave of justice problems. Just rendering decisions and imposing sanctions is unlikely to work. The situation asks for a richer and more accessible portfolio of interventions, delivered locally, online or in communities and developing innovative service delivery models is seen as the main way forward.

Lastly, I would also like to mention about the new deal about digitalization of access to justice in EU that can be also explored as an example for boosting further the cross border collaboration capacity of Judicial Integrity Network in ASEAN. It is  expected to make judicial cross-border co-operation between national courts more efficient through digitalization in civil and commercial matters.

Tek Tamata

Dealing the C-19 induced issues of human rights violations, violations of legal rights and vulnerability, the Supreme Court of Nepal has been playing a very good role making necessary orders and decisions. There are altogether 20 decisions made during three four months of lockdown in Nepal. The decisions have been made in resposne to the public interest litigation filed by the human rights defenders, lawyers and CSOs.

The decisions basically includes; no-civic documentation required to access to the relief and recover, special arrangement for women, and old citizens including PWD in the quarantine centers, ensuring basic health services, accountability of private sectors towards human rights, and rights of migrant workers and returnees.

In this regard, I see role of social action litigation. For which we either have to work with CSOs or with lawyers. Let me also share you that during this crisis, we have reached out about 20 district with more than 70 pro bono legal aid lawyers. They are involved in providing legal services remotely. They have established hotline and also apps to receive as well as  offer the services.

Besides that we have developed referral system with human rights networks and CSOs to make sure that immediate and essential services are provided to the needy and vulnerable.


Ainura Bekkoenova Moderator

Sharing here the comments submitted by email from our partner organization.

Dear colleagues at  UNDP,

We are contacting you on behalf of European Digital Rights (EDRi), a pan-European network of 44 European and international NGOs that promote and defend human rights in the online environment.

We wanted to share with you 3 key areas which could be interesting for you in the context of your online global discussion on“re-imagining paths towards Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights for a better future”:

1) Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a growing concern for all who care about digital and human rights. AI systems have the ability to exacerbate mass surveillance and intrusion into our personal lives, reflect and reinforce some of the deepest societal inequalities, fundamentally alter the delivery of public and essential services, undermine data protection legislation and disrupt the democratic process.

In Europe, we have already seen the negative impacts of automated systems at play at the borders, in predictive policing systems that only increase over-policing of racialised communities, in ‘fraud detection’ systems which target poor, working class and migrant areas, and countless more examples.

Therefore, EDRi calls to set clear red-lines for impermissible use, ensure democratic oversight, and include the strongest possible human rights protection for AI-based applications.

Read more here: https://edri.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/AI_EDRiExplainer.pdf

Michael Lund Daria Asmolova Niall McCann Tim Heine Tariq Malik 


Tariq Malik

Yes, I agree - there are benefits but there are real public policy concerns in using AI in public sector without proper regulations or policy guidelines. A lot of the enthusiasm for the AI comes from the belief that it has the power to revolutionize a wide range of areas within the Public Sector. For example in health sector there's a consistent chatter that AI helps in processes such as - from prevention, intake & triage, treatment, health management, R&D, resource process optimization, decision support and many others. There is an emphasize on AI reducing misdiagnosis, advancing precision medicine to delivering faster, better care to at-risk patient groups. True to some extent but there is evidence that not everyone is jumping on the AI bandwagon blindly for a reason. The fact of the matter is that many are also weighing issues like patient perception, privacy concerns (specially of vulnerable communities) and potential negative disruption. The technology caveat is still valid here -that tech systems are inevitably shaped by the biases of their creators -far from being impartial and fair, they are deeply entwined with the sticky complexities of politics and prejudice. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t use AI but the point I am driving home is that the risks and challenges associated should be addressed with regulations and governance mechanisms to protect the rights of the patients. Like health systems, I agree with the assessment that AI systems are very much capable to exacerbate mass surveillance and compromise privacy rights of the individuals, undermine safeguarding measures and disrupt democratic process. Hence more attention needs to be paid towards how safe are safeguarding measures, who will audit the algorithmic bias, and what are penalties under law (if any) for misuse or abuse of data.

Ainura Bekkoenova Moderator

Continued comments from European Digital Rights (EDRi):

2) Platform Regulation

Europe is aiming at modernising the rules on e-commerce, introducing new regulatory measures without breaking the internet ecosystem, and ensuring full respect for fundamental rights. Why is that a challenge? The rules will inevitably affect a number of fundamental rights, including the freedom of expression and access to information, freedom of thought, conscience and religion and other human rights.

This is why any upcoming legislation regulating online platforms should be very careful in its approach and mindful of international human rights standards. While doing so, it holds the potential to fix some major flaws of today’s hyper-centralised platform economy. If done right, legislation could help renew the internet’s original promise: to be a decentralised, open network that enables everybody to communicate, create and participate in freedom, rather than a collection of digital silos, locking-in users and trading their most intimate personal data

See our position paper here:


3) Biometrics and facial recognition

As of May 2020, at least 15 European countries have experimented with biometric technologies such as facial recognition in public spaces, for purposes which lead to mass surveillance. Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, contact-tracing apps and other proposals have been suggested to rapidly expand bodily and health surveillance systems under the guise of public health. However, there is a real risk that the damage caused by widening surveillance measures will last long after the pandemic is over.

Biometric mass surveillance systems can exacerbate structural inequalities, accelerate unlawful profiling, have a chilling effect on their freedoms of expression and assembly , and put limits on everyone’s ability to participate in public and social activities.

EDRi is therefore calling for an immediate and indefinite ban on biometric mass surveillance. See more in our paper here:


Niall McCann Minerva Novero Michael Lund Daria Asmolova Sarah Rattray 


Tariq Malik

Biometrics technology is good but using any personal data (even non-biometrics) for mass surveillance is bad - no doubt about that. Hence using the technology for mass surveillance can exacerbate structural inequalities and unlawful profile. Agreed.

Digital biometric technology has been central to accelerated rollout of ID systems in developing countries. It is revolutionary because it allows unique identies to be established even among very large population, within seconds, likely duplicate enrollments can be flagged for further manual examination to ensure each person is registered once - hence helpful in cases of identity fraud, voters fraud or rigging, tax evasion, witness protection, rolling out targeted basic entitlements and social safety net programs etc. It also allows for people to be authenticated with high accuracy against claimed identities. It has also ability to reduce reliance on extensive biographic documentation to identify a person. But it's use for mass surveillance must be stopped.

UNDP, along with UNICEF and the UN Dept for Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) , is Co-Chair of the ‘UN Legal Identity Agenda Task Force’, established by the UN Deputy-Secretary-General in 2019 to coordinate all of the UN system on the issue of civil registration and identity management, in pursuit of SDG target 16.9 – “legal identity for all, including birth registration, by 2030.” Essentially, the idea was to bring the entire UN together and develop both joint policy, and joint implementation, for countries requesting our assistance, of projects to expand civil registration systems (primarily birth and death registration) and ‘identity management’ systems such as national ID card schemes.

Of the main policy issues involved in civil registration and national ID schemes, two of the most important are privacy and data protection. These issues become even more important where governments roll out one mandatory national identity register, with all other government databases “interoperable” or “linked” to that identity register. While far more financially and institutionally sustainable, centralising all identity data in one identity register, under the control of a central government ministry such as an interior ministry (or worse, the police), facilitates primarily two significant risks: a) a possible ‘single point of failure’ in the state’s management of a person’s identity, if hacked, and b) surveillance and abuse of human rights by authoritaran regimes is made significantly easier when all identity data (including possibly ethnicity or religion data, etc.) is “under one roof.”

As UNDP is now the primary UN agency assisting UN Member States with rolling/increasing capacity of national ID schemes we have started working on establishing relationships with respected academic and other institutions that can advise us and partners  in this regard. Recently, we are exploring discussions and collaboration with Brussels based Privacy Hub. Niall is on it.

Livio Sarandrea Moderator

Colleagues of UNDP and beyond, warm greetings from Bangkok!  I will be the lead moderator of this group during this week together with Sungeun Choi .

It is encouraging to see a very rich discussion  already.

The opportunity which is given to all of us through this dialogue is unique: we can really help shaping the new 5 years of programming of UNDP in the field of Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights. I encourage you to think outside the box, come up with creative ideas on new areas of engagement.

We are open to every type of feedback. If you think there is something that you feel didn't work in the previous phases of the program or that you think could work better in the next, don't feel shy to also let us know.

Don't feel that you have to necessarily write long contributions to participate in the discussion. If you want to engage but can't find the time to prepare a super comprehensive note, feel free to answer only one of the questions we left in the introduction.  Or leave us a short comment.  Twitter taught us to say a lot with very short sentences. 

Send links to useful articles and blogs, Attach relevant pictures that will spring discussions. I look forward to your thoughts and ideas! 

Tariq Malik

Hi Colleagues, many thanks for sharing valuable comments. All the three topics: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Platform Regulation and Biometrics and facial recognition - are very important topics related to technological interventions. Like all technology interventions -there are pros and cons to these three as well. It is important that we maximize the benefits and optimal use, but at the same time explore the safeguarding mechanisms, policies, accountability measures and risk mitigation strategies to address the cons -instead of suggesting extreme measures like 'banning" the use etc. I recall, when cars were introduced, there was a widespread fear that people would ride on petrol bombs and it is a security hazard. This didn't stop auto-manufacturer to producing the cars but  deploy technology to raise the bar on safety standards.  

Alvaro Herrero

Thank you Tariq, this is very useful indeed!! In Argentina, there is growing concern about the potential harm of digital technologies on privacy and human rights.



Juliet Solomon

Hi colleagues, Juliet Solomon from Panama Hub again :). I am supporting Jamaica CO on developing a proposal on youth focused citizen security policy and would really like to hear of any innovative initiatives which can be adapted, bearing in mind a limited budget (around $35,000) and short implementation time (1 year). It would be great to do something catalytic that could possibly be scaled up thereafter. Any suggestions and examples very welcome!

Livio Sarandrea Moderator

Hi Juliet,Thank you for your previous comments and for your question. Let me signal the existence of the project Youth Co:Lab  https://www.youthcolab.org/ that has a lot of initiatives involving youth in Asia, some of which may involve security and possibly replicable  to LAC.

Simone Boneschi

Dear colleagues, I am Simone Boneschi, CTA for UNDP in the Kyrgyz Republic. Thanks a lot for giving me the chance to share few thoughts with you. Based on patterns noticed during design and implementation of rule of law, justice and human rights initiatives in a number of COs,  I would like to share three reflections on opportunities for a new phase of rule of law programming:

  1.  Practice of “ sectorization” of rule of law development assistance. Few days ago, I was going again through the 8 factors of the 2020 World Justice Project Rule of Law Index, an invaluable tool which we always refer to in all our project documents’ baselines. As in other rule of law programmes which I have previously supported, our current intervention in Kyrgyzstan focuses more or less on 7 factors associated with the performance of the national rule of law system, i.e. constraints on government powers, corruption, open government and fundamental rights, order and security, criminal and civil justice. However, we are not providing consistent  development assistance in relation to factor 6, i.e. regulatory enforcement, which measures if Government’s regulations are effectively enforced, administrative proceedings are conducted without unreasonable delay and in line with due process of law  by national and local authorities in issue areas such as the environment, taxes, labor, etc. Indeed, UNDP’s rule of law assistance has varied over time, but a traditional pattern is one where justice chain institutions receive a dominant part of the attention (e.g. justice and security institutions such as judiciary, prosecution, law enforcement and corrections) and our key focus is usually criminal and civil justice, with a strong focus on legislative and policy-making, capacity development, coordination, legal aid and legal awareness. Therefore, I believe we shall more globally and consistently extend our support in the rule of law sector beyond criminal justice to reach out rule of law in public administration as a key development area as this is critical to strengthen the social contract and promote constitutional rights which are often neglected and/or violated by state and private institutions. Indeed, public administration agencies are the principal interfaces between the state and the individual and the public and deal with matters of relevance for fundamental human rights. Within the framework of the SDG 16, a rule of law deficit in public administration is also troubling because administrative authorities can effectively influence the conditions for justice, social cohesion, peace, and security. Based on my professional experience for example in Somalia, Bangladesh and Myanmar, I have noticed that public administration reform and rule of law reform are promoted as separate endeavors, buttressed by different patterns: public administration reform is conceptualized to around a more agile, effective, efficient and free-from-corruption administration, while rule of law reform focuses on introducing and strengthening international standards, due process of law and human rights principles, vetting in general justice actors, police forces, and legal reforms but with limited guidance on how to approach rule of law issues in administrative agencies and integrate administrative justice as a whole into rule of law interventions.  While justice and security sector reforms are often undertaken on the basis of qualitative standards vis-à-vis reform efforts in the public administration field which mainly focus on quantitative matters such as transformation, innovation, organizational rearrangements, and human resource matters, I believe there is a need to fully integrate, as a part of rule of law development assistance, administrative institutions and actors as these are the main interfaces between the state and the citizens in all development sectors addressed by Agenda 2030 and therefore it is central to enhance the capacity of national and sub-national state agencies while at the same time ensuring that their performance also meets international human rights standards and rule of law principles. This is also critical so that rule of law programming also better facilitate and support delivery in other development areas under UNDP’s mandate, i.e. sustainable development, environment, climate change, women’s empowerment, etc.
  2.  Need for more integration of rule of law programming with the rest of UNDP development portfolio. Linked with the above reflection, I also believe to seriously look into promoting a more effective integration of UNDP rule of law programming with the rest of UNDP corporate development areas and comparative assets as I have noticed that rule of law clusters, portfolios, programmes and projects, usually stand alone with limited interface, internally,  with other UNDP development initiatives, thus undermining the great potential that our rule of law interventions could  play beyond the traditional rule of law sector and affecting the same “catalytic”, “enabling” and “accelerating functions” at country-specific level which SDG16 plays within the overall framework of Agenda 2030. Therefore, I would like to see more standardized global and in-country initiatives around less traditional interlinked-development area such as rule of law and environmental justice and governance for environmental sustainability; rule of law and public health (critical area under the current Covid-19 emergency); rule of law and social justice/social protection; Rule of law and climate change; rule of law and justice for sustainable business, labour and ethical trade (supplementing ongoing business and human rights actions). Against this backdrop, the Parliament is a critical platform for promoting integration and synergies within the national counterpart framework, while a stronger focus of rule of law programming in relation to public administration and administrative justice would also facilitate more UNDP internal and external integration across different portfolios.
  3. Increased strategic focus on technical cooperation areas for “administrative and judicial enforcement”. Again, linked to point 1 and 2, I believe there is a need for more focused rule of law technical assistance in the area of enforcement to balance majority of work conducted on legislative and policy-making. Indeed, at all these levels, advancing rule of law, human rights, justice and sustainable development necessitates proper legal and institutional frameworks, which provide not only clear and measurable rules and standards but also mechanisms for effective implementation, compliance and enforcement. A common pattern that I have identified while meeting national stakeholders and civil society partners in Kyrgyzstan is that while national laws may be perfectly formulated and/or cover the key problems (SGBV, inequality, discrimination) and normative gaps, still there remain huge challenges regarding their enforcement by the relevant national institutions, which often result in gaps to be addressed by the courts and in people not being able to fulfil their rights, notwithstanding for instance a favorable judicial adjudication. There is a striking similarity in the challenges related to the implementation of laws which I have bee noticing  in the various jurisdictions where I have worked. For example, a key aspect of our current rule of law programme is support to state-funded and civil society -supported legal aid. This has been also prioritized by some of the panelists during the recent Global Rule of Law Conference as a part of the new phase of rule of law programming. However, I believe while we are supporting efforts on legal aid we are also probably paying less focus on effective enforcement mechanisms as prompt execution of judicial judgments (achieved with legal aid benefits) are also fundamental. Thus, we report against number of legal aid clients, but at the end, are we certain that they have really obtained legal redress as adjudicated by a court of law? I have to say that traditional justice mechanisms have probably stronger enforcement mechanisms if compared to the formal justice system……
  4. Finally, against global trends which show rise in authoritarianism, populism, nationalism, digital control, xenophobia and negatively target human rights defenders, the media and civil society in general, also exacerbated by current COVID-19 pandemic, let’s constantly remind us how inclusive and civic engagement approach to rule of law development is critical, including for public inputs and monitoring of reform processes. Indeed, we (UNDP) are often embedded in Government’s structure, on the frontline of supporting governments’’ national agendas, which might also contradict civil society real demands’ for justice, participation, democratic governance; in this regard we often face the so-called human rights dilemma vis-à-vis our corporate mandate and commitment to support national authorities.


Livio Sarandrea Moderator

Dear Simone,

thank you for your very rich contribution which I invite everyone to read and comment on as it provides a lot of food for thoughts. Of the many good points you made let me pick up on two which I have found most relevant and worth stressing: 

1) The need to more consistently extend our support in the rule of law sector beyond criminal justice to reach out rule of law in public administration as a key development area. It is difficult to disagree on this as this is indeed critical to strengthen the social contract but one should also reflect on the reasons why we have traditionally been less able to attract the funding that is needed to carry out such work. Perhaps we should acknowledge that our resource mobilization work in the RoL field has targeted mostly donors interested in crisis or fragile scenarios, or the fact that these are the fields were larger portions of funding is available. There may be a need to build a well crafted narrative around the social contract and the  need to work with the justice system beyond the criminal one and approach those development partners that are more tuned into this narratives. I am sure that the points you made here will resonate with Jason Gluck who is our expert on Constitutional Law.

2) The need to work more with Civil Society and Human Rights Defenders against the global trends of authoritarianism. I am really interested in seeing the impact that the C19 Pandemic will have on the nationalistic and populistic trends. Perhaps counter-intuitively this crisis may contribute in lowering the enthusiasm for the "strong leaders" whose actions are showing in the recent weeks to have been less productive in countering the health emergency. Some civil movements seem reinvigorated recently and this may open up some space for greater interest from development partners in making people voices heard. It remains a fact that mobilizing resources for Human Rights and Civil Space is a big challenge. I hope the wind will change and we should try harder to approach those that are most supportive of this type of work, traditionally the Nordic Countries and some other countries in the EU.

I notice with great pleasure many comments in the direction of expanding our Human Rights work, I see greater support from our leadership to go in this direction but this has not translated yet into increased capacities and funding, with the exception perhaps of the work with do on NHRI and Business and Human Rights of which I will speak later.      

Nicholas Booth

I would like to echo Livio Sarandrea in applauding Simone Boneschi for his rich and thought-provoking contribution, with which I strongly agree.

On Rule of Law in Public Administration, UNDP made a determined effort to raise our game in this area in partnership with the Folke Bernadotte Academy - you can see an example of our collaboration here:  https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/democratic-governance/public_administration/toolkit-for-assessing-respect-for-rule-of-law-in-public-administ.html.  But I'm not sure that we got the traction we were seeking.  Maybe we need a new approach.

It also reminds me of the way UNDP Cambodia has been re-thinking the notion of "access to justice"  for people with disabilities - not limiting themselves to the court/dispute resolution system, but to the broader concept of the ability of PWD to claim their rights, including to social protection and other government services.  This wider concept of "access to justice"  is I think close to Simone Boneschi 's idea of focusing on ROL and justice in the public administration.   Maybe Mao Meas will tell us more about that.

On integrating ROL/A2J better into CO portfolios, this is an age-old problem.  How do we do it?  In reality, projects tend to create siloes despite our best efforts.  The best way to integrate justice/ROL into CO work is to build these elements into broader project/programmes and portfolios.   Does the response to COVID-19 provide an opportunity for this?  As we work with governments to strengthen social protection, green economy and climate adaptation, can we systematically build in accountability mechanisms to ensure that everyone can claim the social protection they are entitled to (and that it is accessible to PWD and marginalised groups by design) - that CSOs can effectively raise red flags to stop proposed new mining operations, hydropower dams and development projects which will damage the health, livelihoods and environmental rights of affected groups?   

A related question is on donor funding.  Do donors prefer to fund focused engagements on justice and/or human rights (as in the past) or would they also prefer a portfolio approach, perhaps based on SDG16+  which stresses the role of justice, participation and accountability as an enabler for broader sustainable development outcomes?  Which form of programme design will better suit their own programmatic and strategic vision in the years ahead?  I would love to hear people's views on these questions.

Leanne McKay Moderator

Nicholas Booth,  to build on the integration point you mention and that was flagged by Simone, in Tunisia the UNDP country office has been experimenting with using SDG16+ as a unifier to bring together a range of projects (including parliamentary support, good governance, A2J, PVE, social cohesion, gender equality, youth empowerment, community policing) to create a more coherent and integrated portfolio. The framing under SDG16+ has been well received by the donor and the national counterparts who have a strong national commitment to the SDGs. Hopefully the portfolio's coordinator, Eduardo Lopez-Mancisidor, can share more insights about the factors that supported this approach and how it has evolved over the last 2 years. 

Nicholas Booth

Thanks so much Leanne McKay, this is just the kind of initiative I meant, and I hope we can collect as much information about these as possible - I also look forward to hearing from Eduardo Lopez-Mancisidor and learning more about the lessons learned from this programme in Tunisia.   How can we collect together this knowledge and get a better understanding of the way we can best integrate justice and human rights into broader programmes?   Given UNDP's focus on supporting governments in a joined up Beyond Recovery towards 2030 it's really important to identify justice, human rights and security within this framework.

Eduardo Lopez-Mancisidor

Nicholas Booth 

Many thanks to Leanne McKay for referring to the Tunisia SDG16+ Portfolio. The Portfolio was launched in December 2018 and, as mentioned by Leanne, it includes projects and interventions on parliamentary development, anti-corruption, support to decentralization, access to justice, community security, PVE and social cohesion among other.

  1. In sum, the factors that have enabled the SDG16+ Portfolio approach in Tunisia are the Country Office’s willingness to allow for integration of projects and breaking silos in order to maximize impact especially at local level; the possibility to bring multiple national partners as well as UN agencies to the table - thereby responding to demands for increased coordination from our national ministerial partner -thanks to the unifying character of SDG16+ ; the enabling environment thanks to the UNDP supported work on SDG16 in Tunisia since 2014 and thanks to supportive donors; and, lastly, the global SDG16+ platforms and alliances such as the Pathfinders and Global Alliance initiatives to which Tunisia is a member.
  2. Thematically, the approach benefits from the Global SDG16+ Framework proposed by the Pathfinders initiative that provides a clearly defined perimeter of intervention that goes well beyond SDG16 to cover additional SDGs and targets distributed among three main pillars: Peaceful societies, Just societies and Inclusive societies. This approach already provides a clear need of articulating are traditional areas of work under the RoLHR programme with other areas. For example, the Just societies pillar regroups target 16.3 on Rule of Law and Access to Justice with other targets on Corruption and bribery (16.6.) and Labor rights (8.8), among other.
  3. From a programmatical point of view, the portfolio approach introduced in our UNDP PPM in 2018 as an intermediate programmatic instrument between the CPD and the projects really has an enormous potential in promoting integration between projects covering different areas. It provides the opportunity to share common governance mechanisms that allow to promote coordination (like a national coordination committee in our case), to engage in common planning, monitoring and reporting that allows to identify and promote synergies from the outset and in promoting a common communication strategy that unifies our pitch and narrative of our interventions and approaches.
  4. Additionally, the SDG16+ portfolio approach is appealing for donors. On the one hand, donors have the possibility either to fund project through the portfolio (making separate contribution agreements obsolete) or continue to fund specific projects according to their interests. On the other hand, SDG16+ has also proven to be an interesting topic for donor since many of them are already part of global initiatives such as Pathfinders and the Global Alliance.

In Tunisia, efforts have been made to further promote integration and has resulted in a structure that privileges the level of intervention (national and local) versus the area of work. It is especially at the sub-national level, where integration can be concretized especially through the area-base-development approach that we are trying to implement in the Southern regions of the country, and where synergies are already being established between our interventions on community security, social cohesion, PVE and local governance and development.

We have also included a series of cross-cutting interventions in the Portfolio aimed at supporting national and sub-national SDG16+ planning, monitoring and reporting that should also further contribute to integration.

Happy to share more information if needed. 

Livio Sarandrea Moderator

Hi everyone again!

It’s mid-week and I thought I would revive the discussion a bit by talking about a subject that has been very much in focus in Asia in the last 4 years and for which a Global UNDP initiative has been launched at the Annual Meeting: Business and Human Rights.

The issue is not entirely new and I am sure most of you have heard about the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Those who have heard me repeating my mantra on their importance will hopefully forgive me if I repeat it one more time for the benefit of those who didn’t:

Since 2011, the adoption of the UNGPs turned the Business Sector into an “additional” Duty Bearer. A Human Rights Discourse that was once between Governments (duty bearer) and people (rightsholders) has now another player that our program has to acknowledge and engage with.

The UNGPs are also expressly recognized as a means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

In Asia we have been running a Regional Program on this subject that is now operational in 11 countries. A decision has been made to build on B+HR Asia and scale up this work, incrementally, to 4 more regions. While this means that BHR will in all likelihood feature into the next phase of the global program I would very much like to hear the your views on how this could be integrated into A2J and HR work already ongoing in your regions or Country Offices. What would be the opportunities and challenges?

Colleagues from Asia ( Sean Lees  Victoria de Mello Harpreet Kaur Tek Tamata Dieter Wolkewitz )  are of course also welcome to share their views and experiences with peers.

If this subject interests you, take a look also at the blog I wrote on this subject a few weeks ago. You’ll find out where and how I got the #bizhumanrights bug! Habiba Rodolfo 


Simone Boneschi

 Thanks for sharing this Livio. Indeed, development issues related to B&HR are becoming very much relevant for our programming in Kyrgyzstan and we will soon approach donors and other DPs to understand if there is appetite for initiating a consistent national dialogue on this topic, which is currently absent from national development agendas of Central Asia’s countries.  Indeed, despite Kyrgyzstan has recorded substantial progress in improving the business environment, for instance strengthening the justice frameworks related to business, including establishing some mechanisms for civil, commercial and labour disputes’ settlement, and establishing some courts and institutions to protect the rights of investors, however a national narrative/dialogue on the interdependence between justice sector performance and business, responsible business practices and the role of business in promoting rule of law and human rights, is really lacking. FYI, the Government has introduced in 2019 a massive legal reform processes but unfortunately the engagement of private business in this process has been very limited leading to absence of justice for business & business and human rights issues into the content of the reform as one of the key cores of the social contract that the Government needs to construct for and with civil society. Therefore, we are now looking into feasible paths to contribute to integrate the national legal reform process with improved norms, mechanisms and practices that impact on business practices and rights, as well as working closer with justice and public officials and businesses to better tailor the justice system to the needs of the business community and improve particularly grievance mechanisms and access to effective remedies. Against this backdrop, we really would like to capitalize on your experience as well as global lessons learned and best practices made available in this emerging practice area as we are planning after summer to kick off a national dialogue, which is now even more relevant due to negative socio-economic and human rights impact of Covid-19 in the country, making the business case for more responsible business practices and more adherence to implementation of the UNGP – I was wondering if you could refer us to relevant Initiation Plans under the B+HR programme in Asia so that we could leverage good starting points, thanks

Sean Lees

Hi Simone, et al. I am a Business and Human Rights (BHR) Specialist running a EU-funded project here in Bangkok and covering 6 countries: India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The problems you've identified  - lack of business participation in national reform programmes & the negative social economic impact of C19 - are also obstacles that make it difficult to sustain progress in the countries we work in. However, the BHR agenda provides an interesting programming opportunity because there are powerful market incentives for either government to address policy gaps or for industry to change its practices. For example, when business seems unengaged in policy development processes, draw attention through your National Dialogues to the rise of ESG investing opportunities, reputational risk management for companies, and emerging trade policies that require labor and sustainability considerations. In short, make the business case in high level forums, roundtables and consultations for normative approaches to making money and providing jobs. Make the business case for engaging in reform processes. 

Where government seems preoccupied by election year calculations, programming might focus on awareness raising through social media on land rights, labor rights and migrant labor rights. For Kyrgyzstan, I imagine reintegrated migrant laborers and their families are a potent political force that might be sympathetic to awareness raising campaigns on labor rights. They might be interested in pushing government for access to remedies for laborers, communities and other groups harmed by business practices including discriminatory treatment and corrupt practices. 

The judiciary plays a big role in whether human rights in business operations are respected. Their lengthy and opaque processes are sometimes implicated in international ease-of-doing-business reports produced by other multilaterals such as the World Bank. Exploring how access to remedy might be apart of enhancing a country's profile for international investment (including ESG) with senior leaders of the judiciary, prosecutors, and the private bar might provide an exciting new angle and promote change. Leveraging your amazing work there in Central Asia on digitization while adding the Business and Human Rights agenda to the mix might also boost enthusiasm across an array of actors. 


Lara Deramaix Moderator

Dear Sean, thank you so much for sharing! These are very interesting suggestions to address obstacles in the area of BHR, with examples strategically targetting the differents actors. You see an opportunity, in the aftermath of the COVID 19 crisis, to create incentives for companies to partner on development efforts - making the business case. You would also use more efficiently awareness-raising campains through social media (on labor rights for example) as a way to empower right-holders in requesting  remedies and /or fair business practices. Finally, you would promote access to remedies at country-level as an indicator for business atractivity... You are right, incentives are key, and we need to adopt strategic approaches to enhance our impact in this area. I hope we can discuss this further with you at some point!

Sarah Rattray

Dear colleagues, 

Thanks for the fascinating comments thus far in this discussion. 

An important component of the current Global Programme is the efforts that UNDP has been making to support engagement with international human rights machinery such as the Human Rights Councils' Universal Periodic Review process (UPR).  The aim of this work is to foster country -level implementation of UPR and Treaty Body recommendations and support UNDP CO's to mainstream UPR and treaty body recommendations in the UN and national development planning processes. Also, supporting UNDP CO's to promote national consultative UPR processes, from report drafting to implementation and facilitating peer-to-peer and / or regional exchanges on UPR implementation, in partnership with other relevant UN and international entities. 

We have made important progress on the above vision in Phase 3 - including bringing together at a regional level national counterparts working on UPR implementation and SDG planning and implementation to discuss synergies and integrated approaches. This is important work to ramp up in the next phase of the Global Programme including building on the country examples of where UNDP is supporting integrated follow up to the UPR with SDG initiatives and national planning through specialized platforms such as SIMORE PLUS in Paraguay. 

We also saw that the guidelines for national voluntary reporting to the high-level political forum were revised (Dec 2019) and now include important 'hooks' for human rights including specific mentions of national human rights institutions and human rights mechanisms such as the UPR - bringing opportunities to utilize more specifically human rights outcomes with VNR processes.  There is a strong business and efficiency case for doing so also.

The Secretary-General also described the UPR as the more practical political engagement tool at country level on human rights and at the recently concluded 43rd session of the Human Rights Council, the UPR was recognized as a global instrument for technical cooperation on human rights. 

Sungeun Choi supports our engagement with the UPR process and would have more to add. But it would be great to hear from colleagues on how we can be doing more to support integrated UPR approaches and the impact the UPR has on the ground as an entry point for UNDP's work on human rights. 

Please share your experiences.

Thank you, 

Sarah Rattray


Livio Sarandrea Moderator

Dear Sarah,

I could not agree more with the point you made on the the need to sustain the work of our global program on UPR and, in fact, scale it up. My experience from the field is that the engagement with the Universal Periodic Review is with no doubt the engagement with Human Rights mechanisms that Governments take most seriously. I recall the  work done with the Ministry of Justice in Mozambique in 2012 to draft an action plan on the implementation of the UPR recommendations  as very fruitful. I wonder if the colleague Habiba Rodolfo can update us on whether a new action plan was developed also as a result of the following UPR cycle.

Let me also link the point you made on engaging with the UPR with the Business and Human Rights discussion that is ongoing in this same group. In Asia we are trying to systematically use UPR cycles to advocate for inclusion of Business and Human Rights among the recommendations or among the voluntary pledges coming from countries  being reviewed.  Some examples: Thailand received a recommendation from Sweden in 2015 on drafting a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. That recommendation was accepted and in fact Thailand made a voluntary pledge on this subject during the same cycle. Four years later Thailand, with support from a project funded by Sweden, adopted the first NAP on Business and Human Rights in Asia. We tried to replicate this scenario with Bangladesh where we did a lot of advocacy with the Government and with Member States to try to get a specific recommendation in the 2018 cycle but we were not successful. We were partially successful the  same year where Sweden did make a recommendation on drafting a NAP on BHR but unfortunately Vietnam noted that recommendation. 

My recommendation to every CO that wishes to engage in Business and Human Rights is to leverage on any upcoming UPR processes of the country they work in and advocate for MS to make a recommendation specifically related to BHR. This would provide a natural opening for UNDP to approach the Government (that hopefully will accept the recommendation) and design a program around that subject.  The MS making the recommendation can then of course become a partner (donor) in supporting the project.

Sungeun Choi Moderator

Thank you Sarah Rattray  for initiating this discussion around the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). As you mentioned,  UPR is a state-driven process which involves a review of the human rights record of ALL UN Member States. Since UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country while assessing States’ human rights situation, Member States give consistent recognition of the importance of the UPR mechanism as a trademark of positive international cooperation in human rights.

The Secretary General’s Call to Action for Human Rights mentioned that the UN to make full use of human rights mechanisms including UPR and its findings to contribute to SDG implementation at the national and local levels and to support Member States  and other stakeholders in making better use of the UPR outcomes including on the SDGs and in the preparation consideration of voluntary national reviews at the high-level political forum on sustainable development.

As Sarah Rattray  and Livio Sarandrea shared UNDP's pracitces, UNDP’s position with UPR is already in line with the SG’s Call to Action. UNDP supports States to mainstream human rights to national development and SDG localization plans and strategies through UPR process by integrating planning and follow-up of recommendations of Human Rights Mechanisms including UPR and Treaty Bodies as well as VNR process. Also, looking from the preventive approach, UNDP is well positioned to open up cooperation windows and dialogues with states through rather softer topics, that we can play a strong integrator role of human rights as well as risk mitigation through UPR process, bringing peacebuilding narratives to the prevention of human rights violations with action-oriented approaches on the ground. UNDP can also programatize UPR recommendations to its country level programmes and continue playing an integrator role of human rights-based development and peace as well as a risk mitigator by providing early warning and preventing human rights violations. 

UNDP’s internal capacity on utilizing UPR and other Human rights mechanisms can be further strengthened by sharing our good practices and experiences from Country Offices and providing hands-in skills for UNDP colleagues to enhance their engagement with States on UPR. I would like to use this opportunity to share four points that UNDP can further strengthen and improve around UPR with sub-questions that we can further discuss on how. Four points are 1) to have clear understanding on UNDP's entry point/engagement with UPR process,  2) to have knowledge and skills to support national governments  to set up UPR  monitoring, reporting, implementation, and follow-up  (along with UNCT, OHCHR and other partners), and 3) to make full use of the findings and expertise of UPR in their country programmes and play an integrator role of human rights based development and peace in countries, and 4) to strength coordination and partnership around UPR. Below are sub-questions under four points we can further discuss to improve UNDP’s positioning and set up our UNDP’s strategy & engagement point around UPR further.

I believe there are already many good practices and examples on the ground and I look forward to hearing from you further!

1)  Enhancing understanding of UNDP's entry point/engagement with UPR process

  • How to integrate UPR recommendations to UNDP Country Programme Document as well as Common Country Analysis, and UNSCDF
  • How to communicate with national partners on UPR and beyond UPR
  • How to engage with donors and other partners on UPR
  • How to effectively contribute to the UN Compilation UPR report and play roles in UNCT during UPR process

2) Strengthening UNDP's support to national governments on UPR process

  • How to provide systematic approach of linking findings (recommendations) of human rights mechanisms (UPR, treaty bodies, etc.) to SDGs and national action plan.
  • How to transmit UPR recommendations to the national level UPR action plan (with appropriate action/budget to be taken by relevant ministries)
  • How to link UPR with SDG/VNR reporting

3) Enhancing UNDP's internal expertise on UPR programming;

  • How to link UPR recommendations to UNDP's other thematic works and programitize UPR recommendations and design programmes/projects.
  • How to use UPR for mapping vulnerability/fragility of countries? Can UPR provide an overview of patterns of discrimination? Can UPR play a role of early warning and prevention of human rights violations (and other types of crisis as well?)

4) Strengthening coordination and partnership

  • Clear understanding on UNDP's role in UNCT during UPR process
  • How to involve national partners, parliaments, NHRIs, CSOs through UPR process
  • How to engage better among UNDP HQ/RH/RB/CO




Sungeun Choi Moderator

Week Two Summary

Thank you all for your valuable contributions to this discussion in the second week. Livio Sarandrea and I as moderators of the second week were very much encouraged to read your comments and interactions. Below are three key points captured during the week.

  • We continued our talk on opportunities and challenges linked to the use of digital technologies from the first week. Guidance to UNDP country offices on the privacy data protection and broader human rights dimension was shared in this platform.
  • We shared reflections on opportunities for a new phase of rule of law programming. Greater integration on rule of law assistance to public administrations as well as other UNDP corporate development areas and comparative assets was suggested. We also heard need of increased strategic focus on technical cooperation areas and working more with CSOs and human rights defenders against the global trends.
  • We also got know about the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and UNDP’s expansion to the Global initiatives on business and human rights. Colleagues exchanged views on how business and human rights agenda could be integrated to our access to justice and human rights work already ongoing.  

Thank you once again for your contributions. Please do continue your sharing in this fruitful discussion. Your voices will shape the future areas of UNDP Rule of Law, Security, and Human Rights!

Tek Tamata

Thank you so much for the information and points discussed during last week. Due to technical error, my posts were not reflected.

Regarding third and fourth points on new phase of rule of law and business and human rights, kindly find below some of the ideas.

1. Given the changes context and ongoing crisis, we should really be innovative and contextual. In this regard, ICT of course could be one of the areas to orient the judicial sectors and rule of law actors to orient them towards virtual case management and handling system. On top of that we should also focus our interventions to empower citizens, lawyers and CSOs to make them able to use the innovations. There are already a lot of innovative things happening in introducing virtual hearing and case handling through video conferencing. However to institutionalize these, it requires a lot of support in the area of open judicial administration of governance.

2. We have made huge investment on law reform and access to justice but not really touched upon the effectiveness of laws and policies. This is a time to work on developing necessary systems to make sure that laws are implemented. In the developing countries like Nepal, it's been a critical issue that there are numbers of good laws but the implementation part is very much weak. It applies equally to the decisions and orders made by the court and recommendations released by the NHRIs.

3. The support should also cover the areas of UPR implementation and implementation of recommendations made by the treaty bodies. The CSOs and NHRIs are supposed to develop the alternative report and continue to follow up and monitoring. The first element is always focused. However the follow up and monitoring is never taken into account. More importantly, the ad-hockism approach is being undertaken while handling UPR. Only report is prepared by a particular ministry but a dedicated mechanisms not often developed.  

3. In terms of approaches, silo manner will not work to have necessary impacts on rule of law, human rights and access to justice. We should work in a coordinated and collaborative manner with all the stakeholders and law enforcement agencies.

3. In relation to he business and human rights, it needs to be integrated into the national plan of action on human rights. On top of that the access to justice elements are needed to be mainstreamed into the private sectors. As we know that the employees are directly indirectly being overlooked in enjoying their basic rights freedoms and labour rights. Not only that gender and affirmative action part has never become the priorities for the private sectors. Hence it seems very much important to support the provide sectors and government to develop necessary systems in this regard.



Sarah Rattray

Thanks Tek for these insights. On the latter point on integrated national action plans - I do agree we need to consider how these plans which can proliferate at country level are integrated / inter-linked. We obviously have in some cases National Human Rights Action Plans which UNDP has been supporting in many countries. They usually include UPR and TB recommendations and follow-up support. However, there are often NAPs for the CRPD and now NAPs for the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. 

These areas are highly specialized and no doubt having their own action plans can be helpful to galvanize the stakeholder engagement and governmental action needed to put the policies and plans into action - however, to what extent are these linked at country level? Linking of the various instruments for human rights follow up should be part of our approach.

Overall, the linking of the human rights instruments / policies / plans to the SDG policies and plans is usually the bigger issue that we are trying to ensure support to - but you touch on something else also here. National Monitoring Reporting and Follow-up Mechanisms do not explicitly include SDG integration and this is what we are trying to address also through our integrated approaches and working closely with OHCHR.

Any insights on this from other colleagues based on country experiences would be gratefully received. 

Best regards, 


Nicholas Booth

Fully agree Sarah Rattray I think there is a lot of scope to bring the different sets of human rights commitments and recommendations and link them to the SDGs transparently in a way which streamlines implementation and helps make the path to the SDGs more rights-based.  While it's true that the original concept of NMRFs didn't include SDG integration, as you rightly say this is the next frontier and both we and OHCHR are supportive.   There's an increasing number of different good practices emerging which link human rights commitments to the SDGs, including the SADATA system in Samoa, and I know that UNDP Pakistan is proud of the system they have been developing there,and believe it could be a good model to be introduced elsewhere - perhaps Dieter Wolkewitz and Amar Hassan want to comment on that?

Tek Tamata

Dear Sun, 

Regarding second point on strengthening UNDP's support to national governments on UPR process, kindly find my few of the experiences and ideas;

it's important to make the concerned UN and even government agencies familiar with the human rights elements of SDGs. Despite of the grounded relationship of human rights with SDG, it is not defined in that way. Rather it is just taken as the agenda for the development but not human development. The human element of this development roadmap is very important to think of.

Hence this is necessary to build good level of understanding about it and about UPR and the treaty body recommendations. To be very honest, these are never taken as an essential reference while developing country programme document and UNDAF. It is therefore, while developing national localization plan and figuring out the nature of support to the Government on the implementation, we must make sure the UPR and treaty bodies recommendations are considered. These are relatively tightly linked with SDGs indicators if we analyze those.

Normally the government considers UPR seriously in reporting time only. Other than that, they do not take it seriously. UPR reporting has been more ritual to be very honest than the systematic and structured. Despite of the formulation of plan of action on UPR, they do not pay much attention on the implementation. It is; therefore, we should support in developing UPR based/coding planning. The plan of the government should respond the UPR recommendations and it should be reflected well as well.

Same in the work plan of each project, it must be made a corporate requirement in UNDP to respond the UPR recommendations. More importantly, it must be done the same with project formulation. In outlining the outcome ad outputs indicators, we should make sure that those are fully in compliance with  the UPR recommendations and treaty bodies interventions.  On top of that at least a single target needs to be incorporated in IWP.

We have very good experience of developing the SDG plan and monitoring mechanisms at higher level of authorities in the government. However, in terms of UPR and treaty bodies recommendations, there is nothing as such established to provide oversights. Neither there is a system of overseeing the implementation, nor there is a separate plan of action plan developed with the budget. Hence it is important that the government comes up with separate and dedicated mechanisms to look after UPR and treaty bodies requirements with clear plan of action. UNDP can support in this regard by providing necessary capacity.  At the meanwhile, it also requires the continue monitoring. Hence a system of monitoring and evaluation is very important to develop monitoring evaluation system.

With regards,



Lara Deramaix Moderator

Thank you Tek for sharing your suggestions to make the best possible use of the internationals intruments and UPR mechanisms and ensure effective change and concrete results at country level. It will be interesting to continue this conversation and perhaps useful to look at sharing best practices and experiences in integrated planning and monitoring?


Tek Tamata

Dear Lara,

Thank you so much. Regarding integrated planning and monitoring, let me share you that we have started working with the National Human Rights Commission along with two thematic issue based commissions to develop a monitoring and evaluation system. While doing so, government officials were also included in the governance of monitoring and evaluation.

On top of that the support was also provided to the NHRIs to provide necessary to work with the Government. Our focus was to make sure that the participatory approach adopted in the process of finalizing the planning.

The lessons for us is; we should have worked with the government as well. To ensure the participatory and realistic plan of action with necessary baseline and clear timeline and targets, the engagement of the government is a must. The certain level of capacity is important. On top of that, there should be a separate entity at the government to look after all the UPR cycle. Mere submitting report does end the process. It has to be continued process of implementation, monitoring etc. Hence an advocacy would be important to work out.

Likewise engagement of CSOs to make sure that they impart necessary information and build the awareness of stakeholders is equally necessary. Hence my overall learning is, we need to work with NHRIs, CSOs and government in an integrated manner. While talking about government, let us make sure that justice sectors are hugely involved.

with regards,


Lara Deramaix Moderator

Warm welcome to everyone reaching to this page,

We are still looking forward to more insights and contributions for the RoL communities around the world, as the consultation is still open until 24th of July 2020.

Please add to the lively on-going discussion on the development of Business and Human Rights or on how best to integrate UPR mechanisms to the development agenda - and please don't feel intimidated by the high level of technical expertise of some of the comments! Every voice is valuable and helpful and we definitely are looking forward to hear the perspective of non-UN actors too.

We also encourage you to start other conversations on any topic you find relevant to advance RoL, security and Human Rights. What should be the priorities, where do you see opportunities and any other suggestions to advance the work of our teams are valid.

Thanks in advance for taking the time!


Vili Aapro

Hi Lara,

I'm Vili, an unemployed maths teacher from Finland. At the moment I'm trying to enter municipial politics. The SDGs are big right now. Global Citizenship Education is getting good funding and the Social Democratic party based its program on the SDGs.

What spoke most to me was Elodie Beth's comment, especially her link to UNESCO's Strengthening the rule of law through education. You teach people to follow rules. In this case, it's the UN's rules.

The UN embodies the spirit of modernity. The modern writers I like the most are Thomas Hobbes and Giordano Bruno. Hobbes has a nice, British sense of humour and Bruno has a strong artistic spirit. Both were teachers and heavily into geometry.

Hobbes is useful for understanding the social contract: give some, get some. The World Bank just published Toward a New Social Contract, advocating basic income.

Bruno was quite the wizard and reading him helps to understand the power of such things as the SDGs' colourful little icons.

That's what comes to my mind! Hobbes's Leviathan can be found freely online—a wonderful book! A good introduction to the world of Giordano Bruno would be the works of Frances Yates, the art historian.


Glaucia Boyer Moderator

To add to this stimulating discussion on the evolution of the thematic areas, with focus on community security, and the need for comprehensive approaches to addressing instability and conflict, here are some trends I have observed related to DDR, small arms and armed violence prevention.


  • This traditional post-conflict tool deployed in large operations in peacekeeping contexts has been reshaped at the UN policy level to also cater for situations where peace agreements are absent and to non-peacekeeping mission settings; needless to say that DDR remains voluntary and reintegration support must be available to all those willing to leave armed groups and violence behind at all times.
  • A more widespread acknowledgement that DDR support should not necessarily lead to impunity, creating opportunities to reassess trade-offs between peace and justice; compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law and principles is emphasized in the Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Standards (IDDRS); the importance of screening and vetting is reiterated for the integration of members of armed groups in security forces or for joining DDR programmes; DDR and transitional justice programmes are increasingly overlapping.
  • DDR has traditionally followed the de-listing of armed groups previously treated as ‘terrorist’ organizations during conflict by governments; today we are confronted with UN Security Council designations and requirements to bring terrorists to justice along with prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration (PRR) of persons associated with armed groups designated as terrorist organizations. Detention and any other form of deprivation of liberty in ‘rehabilitation’ centers is not DDR.

Small Arms

  • The limits of weapons collection had already been depicted by UNDP back in 2009, leading to the formulation of a community security and social cohesion approach. As a result, programmatic initiatives ended placing more emphasis over the last decade on comprehensive approaches to addressing insecurity and violence, with their identification led by local peace and development committees (LPDCs) and other community decision-making mechanisms. Armed violence prevention initiatives articulated around citizen security in Latin America capture well the evolution of the approach since then.
  • More recently, the 2018 Agenda for Disarmament paved the way for refocusing again on SALW/conventional weapons control, recalling that solutions for weapons and ammunitions are still very much needed. The term transitional weapons and ammunition management (TWAM) has emerged to encompass lessons and good practices on addressing weapons and ammunitions as self- standing programmes, as well as part of DDR, Security Sector Reform and broader violence reduction efforts.
  • Analysis are also placing more emphasis on the importance of integrating TWAM as part of conflict analysis, planning and programmes, including through with an armed violence prevention objective.

These challenges are being depicted by the international community in the form of policy and tool development. However, much more needs to be done at the regional and country programmatic levels. It would be helpful to hear from UNDP country offices in Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Nigeria and Rwanda as their programmes exemplify well these developments.

At the same time, experiences from the Republic of Congo and Colombia continue to remind us of the importance of supporting DDR processes within the framework of peace agreements. Partners such as DPO, ODA, UNIDIR, CTED, UNODC would have also much to share on our joint collaboration around these areas of work. These evolving thematic areas reflect trends that need to be better reflected in UNDP's Global Programme moving ahead.

David Micro

Dear Glaucia,

Thanks for inviting attention to the issue community security, and in the context of an ongoing conflict and I would like to share some perspectives from Nigeria. Running into the 11th year, the devastating effects of the conflict in the Northeast of Nigeria are far reaching. UN, NGO, Government and other reports show significant levels of internal displacement, displacements across international borders in the Lake Chad region, large disruptions of government functions, public service delivery, breakdown of the social system including that of local dispute management, the local justice infrastructure and that for resolution of local conflicts. This notwithstanding, loss of life unfortunately has continued to be witnessed. Today, the compounding effects of the conflict means that health, education, access to justice, social cohesion, security and safety remain some of the worse performing indicators as a result.

UNDP, IOM and UNICEF are running a joint intervention in the Northeast of Nigeria, supporting the three State Governments in the Nigerian subregion in their efforts to deal with the effects of the conflict. The premise of the joint programme is that while counter insurgency efforts continue to be mounted by Government and AU mandated forces, lasting peace and stability in the subregion will likely remain threatened unless challenges of successfully reintegrating thousands of predominantly young people, including men, women, and children associated with the non-state armed groups, are met with effective strategies.

So, in locations that have been secured by security agencies, reintegration has been happening, and the joint approach seeks to further strengthen application of community-based reconciliation and reintegration of former low risk NSAGs that addresses challenges of the past. The overarching strategy enables advance preparation of the communities of reintegration and also enables the communities to be participants and beneficiaries of the process aligned with the 3x6 approach mentioned below by Mohammed. At the same time, working within a broader programmatic area-based context where, linkages are sustained with ongoing humanitarian assistance, early recovery efforts and return of government functions. A focus on reconciliation is being emphasized, grounded on traditional/religious mechanisms, either existing ones or new ones supported to re-establish in these communities. This so that local dispute management mechanisms that also serve to strengthen local access to justice, and further enhance conflict transformation can continue to function in these locations. The support envisions this avenue also as a way of creating an enabling environment for transitional justice processes which will build long-term healing of the communities from the longstanding conflict.

Over the years, communities in the subregion have established a variety of their own structures of community security, here meaning informal/volunteer security outfits. In literature these groups are variously referred – community militia, vigilante groups. These being youth, compelled by the desire to protect their communities from the insurgents and often serving alongside formal security actors in counterinsurgency efforts. UNDP is working with relevant state actors including formal security actors to elaborate a DDR approach to this category of actors, from defining the pathways for exit, opportunities for access to sustainable means of livelihoods and community based-reintegration, and, also what weapons management can look like in this regard. While the informal/volunteer security outfit members maybe considered to play important roles in community security from their indigenous knowledge perspective, their conduct has often come under scrutiny more so linked with criminality, misdemeanor and highhandedness. Therefore, capacity development of active members to guide functioning as per a code of conduct is essential. This especially also since they are considered actors and participant in local structures of dispute resolution, conflict early warning and early response, community policing, reconciliation and reintegration, transitional justice and others.

The work outlined presents an important intersect between security, rule of law and human rights. In addition, we see also an important role of the work on reconciliation in enabling peacebuilding and social cohesion progress to be made under the humanitarian context and transitions to stabilization, early recovery and development, as we navigate and make contributions to the HDP nexus. Our joint UN agency approach is allowing for weaving in of considerations from a cross-section of target groups so that we are espousing the leaving no one behind aspirations.

Importantly we see these interventions as demonstrating policy options for the northeast, such that government utilizes the lessons to shape broadbased policy options for co-investment and replication more broadly. For instance, lessons from previous work have influenced the design of reconciliation and reintegration policy for one state and some work under this support will enable government to further pilot implementation of the policy. Similarly, aligned to a presentation made below by Pierre, the work is vertically contributing to regional policy design and implementation as part of the Regional Stabilization Strategy of the Lake Chad Basin. Finally, we also see space for innovation especially as we deploy information management systems to allow us navigate the complexity of conflict (Access), the new realities of COVID-19 and programmatic progress management.

David Maina
Reconciliation and social cohesion specialist
UNDP Nigeria

Katherine Prizeman

Hello colleagues,

I am Katherine Prizeman from the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) working, in particular, on the relationship between DDR and weapons and ammunition management. I was pleased to work closely with DPO on the updating of the relevant IDDRS modules on Disarmament (4.10) and sub-module on Transitional Weapons and Ammunition Management (TWAM) (4.11). These modules are now posted and publicly available:  https://unddr.com/the-iddrs/level-4/

The new UN approach to DDR identifies TWAM as a DDR-related tool that can be implemented before, during or after DDR processes and activities. 

Thank you, Glaucia, for reference to the SG's Agenda for Disarmament. It is available here: https://www.un.org/disarmament/sg-agenda/en/ 

Indeed, the Secretary-General has committed to enhanced small arms and light weapons control support to States with more nationally-focused, comprehensive approaches to controlling weapons and reducing armed violence. This is evident in the establishment of the SALIENT ("Saving Lives Entity") trust facility through a partnership between UNODA, UNDP and the Peacebuilding Support Office. This facility will support country-level, comprehensive programmes through the support of UN Country Teams and relevant implementing partners. Please look specifically at "Action 20" of the Agenda.

I am happy to provide further information as it becomes available. We hope to launch two pilot SALIENT projects in due time.


Mohamed Ag Rhissa

Dear all,

Here are some trends I have observed related DDR, CVR, SALW and SSR

The experience has shown that i) the relevance of community violence reduction interventions, as pre-DDR activities that prepare the ground for permissive conditions to DDR start-up through the strengthening of inclusive dialogue, community reintegration and the restoration of the State authority, all things which contribute to the establishment of a will of the ex-combatants to disarm. However, the new UNDP approach to reintegration (3x6), which has given convincing results, deserves to be popularized. Dialogue in the post-crisis framework, through inclusive reconciliation platforms, could lead to permanent frameworks for continuing dialogue (dialogue committees), which could be an innovation for UNDP in managing DDR in the field. , instead of antennas which are generally more expensive.

ii) the fight against SALW greatly contributes to establishing the foundations of community security, when it is properly addressed in its three aspects : policy definition, collection and socio-economic responses to arms depositors, as well as the securing of weapons including those of national arsenals. This is also the place to note the conflict of competences between the DDR authorities and the SALW commissions, which has no reason because the commissions are the only ones which have the mandate to create the conditions for securing weapons.

iii) In fact, most fragile states are skeptical of SSR at the risk that it will affect the organization set up by the authorities to protect themselves. It is important to take into account this variant because of which any SSR must take into account aspects of governance, in particular the way in which security or other services are rendered, emphasizing the gender aspects, promotion of human rights, access to justice, livelihoods, thus leading to a true rule of law

Lara Deramaix Moderator

Week Three Summary

Thank you to those who took part in the interesting discussions of last week.  Some key highlights:

  • Discussions around digitalization and the use of artificial intelligence have continued with enthusiasm. The use of new technologies is seen as useful to increase transparency, improve management systems and empower citizens. But some concerns have also been raised, strongly advocating for the need to develop robust governance mechanisms to protect the rights of the individuals (privacy and data protection) and avoid the risks associated with mass surveillance.
  • The need to build trust in the RoL institutions and the justice system has been reiterated. Suggestions have been made to further strengthen the accountability and transparency of the judiciary through self-assessments of judicial integrity, modernization, and better systems to inform citizens and key civil society actors.
  • An example of strengthening the RoL trough legal education in schools and universities has been shared by UNESCO. A Global Program has been developed to educate young generations about the functioning of their institutions, with them aim to empower them as future citizens who will be able to make those institutions accountable
  • A call was made to do more to ensure effective implementation of laws, policies, UPR recommendations and even Court decisions. Nepal was mentioned as an example where follow up and monitoring should be reinforced and new mechanisms should be explored.
  • An interesting suggestion was made to extend RoL support to public administrations, as the main interface of the States with citizens, to ensure that their performance meets international human rights standards and rule of law principles, and explore how to better integrate RoL with the rest of UNDP programming.
  • Some key suggestions were also made to address obstacles in the area of BHR, to create incentives for companies to partner on development efforts, use more efficiently awareness-raising to empower right-holders in requesting  remedies and /or fair business practices and promote access to remedies at country-level as an indicator for business atractivity...
  • Lots of suggestions have been shared on how to make a more effective use of UPR mechanisms and other the internationals instruments a country level, such as integrated planning and monitoring, and an idea of possible linkages between UPR and BHR was made..

We still have a few days left, looking forward to reading many other contributions!

Tim Heine Moderator

Week One Summary

A tremendous thanks to all the contributors for the valuable and thought-provoking reflections in the first week of consultations. I would like to highlight 4 main tenets of discussion during the first week:

·       the need for renewed and continued research and thought leadership was emphasized, particularly when it comes to the intersection of access to justice and stabilization. A call for clear conceptualization of the term stabilization was made, particularly the inclusion (or not) of justice work and subsequent effects of access to justice programming.

·       The role of the judiciary for the functioning of societies and its responsibility to provide justice for all was highlighted. Further, the widening justice gap due to Covid-19 will require increased attention.

·       Digital Rights will demand more attention in the Rule of Law work, particularly the opportunities and challenges with regards to the fields of Artificial Intelligence, platform regulation and biometrics-based applications.

·       The importance of environmental and intergenerational justice was highlighted in programming examples from the Latin America and Caribbean Region.  

I wanted to thank again all contributors and invite you to stay engaged in the process. Your critical reflection and creative thinking will contribute to an even stronger next phase UNDP Rule of Law Global Programme.



Solene Berthelier

Dear colleagues, 

I am Solène Berthelier working as Monitoring & Evaluation Officer in UNDP Country Office DRC (Kinshasa), especially for all programs related to support to justice and peacebuilding. Here, are some of my contributions from the field in the development and implement of Rule of law programs in fragile context. 

a. For years, the DRC faces peace and security challenges due to the presence and high activism of armed groups leading to serious human rights violations. Eastern provinces are seriously affected by armed conflicts; civilian population are the main victims. Several programs have been developed and implemented to improve fight against impunity for international crimes and serious violations of human rights, in particular through building capacities of military justice to prosecute priority cases and facilitating access to justice for victims. Strong partnerships have been built between UNDP and MONUSCO, UNJHRO and international NGOs. Even if there are major improvements in the fight against impunity, as priority (or emblematic) cases have been tried and authors have been prosecuted and condemned, justice remains pretty weak as the most people do not trust the judicial system. Regarding the scope of recorded human rights violations and the number of judicial decisions and led prosecutions, impunity remains particularly important and rooted in the Eastern DRC.

In this regard, there is a strong need to support and strenghten the whole judicial system, and even the whole criminal chain, to ensure that all judicial and non-judicial actors have the capacities and resources to fight effectively against impunity. Indeed, today the fight against impunity for international crimes mainly depends from international investments and advocacy. The Congolese justice sector is suffering from structural disfunctions which need to be addressed and tackled to ensure long-term impact and transformational changes towards improved and strenghtened rule of law. Unfortunately, due to political instability, it seems pretty complicated to support institutional interventions while punctual and specific interventions show some results. They are strong needs for political dialogue and advocacy at all levels to favor implementation of the National Policy of Justice Reform and support institutional and structural changes which are key elements to strenghten rule of law on the long term. 


b. The situation in the Kasaï region is very diferent from what has been observed and experienced in the Eastern provinces. Indeed, violence has raised against the strate from local and social movements rather than from structured armed groups. After the presidential elections (2018/2019), many members of 'milicias' have peacefully surrendered to the local authorities without that DDR programs/strategies have been clearly developed and drafted. In this regard a community-based approach to ensure the socioeconomic reintegration of ex-members or affiliated-members of those milicias have been favored and developed for the province. Because violence finds its roots in massive poverty, lack of economic opportunities (especially for young people) as well as lack of access to basic social services, lack of state authority and fights against customary and administrative power, it was important to develop comprehensive and holistic peacebuilding/stabilization strategies. In this regard, UNDP in partnership with UNJHRO, IOM and SFCG have developed two programs (funded by the PBF) which are aiming to consolidate peace and strenghten social cohesion within and between communities in the Kasai region.

Those programs are structured around the transitional justice pilars (fight against impunity, right to truth, support to institutional reforms and reparations) and dynamization of local economy. Actually, victims, ex-combattants and vulnerable communities members will work together to rehabilitate community infrastructures (mainly roads and bridges) which have been partially destroyed during the conflict. The idea behind is double: i) vulnerable people benefit from income to develop sustainable economic activities and contribute therefore to dynamize local economy; ii) the rehabilitation of community infrastructures should be seen as part of the reparation process for communities affected by the conflict (collective and symbolic reparation). In addition, rehabilitation of infrastructure appears as the bridge between 'transitional justice activities' (more linked to governance and political and civil rights) and 'development/economic activities' (more linked to fight against poverty and building community resilience). In other words, interventions related to socioeconomic development can be seen as part of the reparation process as well as adressing root causes of conflict (poverty and lack of development). 

To consolidate peace in the provinces, programs have promoted transitional justice (and its 4 pilars) through a provincial and community based approach to favor social cohesion, reintegration of ex-combatants and economic development. However, there are some challenges of establishing proper transitional justice mechanisms, in particular because of the lack of political willingness and/or political ingerence in the conflict and lack of resources (human and financial). This is a really long term process to establish transitional justice mechanisms which does not always fit with programatic timing and requirements of donors. There is a great opportunity for UNDP and international actors to develop/support those kind of long term processes but it will require flexibility in programming as well as high level political advocacy to ensure the buy-in of the Government and authorities as it is really sensitive. 

In addition, there are rooms of improvements for strenghtening links between the different interventions in terms of right to truth and socioeconomic reintegration activities, for example. The whole narrative of the project should also be shared, widespread and strenghtened; communication with communities and authorities is particularly important. 


c. Most people in the DRC do not trust civil and military justice system because of the distance to the tribunals/courts, high level of corruption and social distance. There are many alternative mechanisms of conflict resolution across the country which are mainly operating at the community (village or chefferie) level. They do enjoy high trust from people to solve their conflict but they are not recognized by the formal justice system. Therefore, there is a 'de facto' judicial dualism leading for potential human rights violations. To desengorge judicial institutions and improve access to justice for all citizens, there is a need to explore more this judicial dualism and develop partnerships between formal and informal justice systems in the DRC. 

Leanne McKay Moderator

Solene Berthelier, thank you for your extremely interesting insights and reflections regarding the situation in DRC and for raising some of the critical challenges for ROL promotion generally. I'm a member of the UNDP ROLSHR team and a moderator for this discussion room. As you rightly point out, ROL promotion is not just about the technical inputs but is, at its core, about people, power and politics. Our success therefore depends on how we tackle these aspects in our programming. How can we develop and implement programmes that enable us to be flexible (or adaptive) to context dynamics, responsive to actual needs and are sustainable. How do we ensure that expectations from partners, donors and ourselves are realistic recognising as you say that ROL promotion is a long-term endeavour? This is a discussion we need to have not only within our own organisations but also with donors. I provide a few thoughts below on how we might start tackling some of these questions:   

From political economy analysis to engagement: Your point about (absence of) political willingness as a key element of long-term institutional and structural transformation is so important. Unfortunately a lot of programming tends to skip over the absolutely essential first step of carrying out a sound analysis of the political economy and the stakeholders in a specific location (often because the budget and project timeline don't adequately allow for it!). Of course this type of analysis shouldn't just be done at the start of a project but should be ongoing. Proponents of an adaptive approach to programming have advocated for a move from political economy analysis (which tends to be treated as a one-off exercise often carried out by an outsider/consultant!), to Political Economy Engagement as a process of constantly learning about, and responding to, political contexts (who stands where, who has power, how it is exercised, etc.). This process focuses more on how critical information is collectively distilled within the programme to ensure programme staff and implementers (such as the grantees) better understand and can adapt to the complex environments within which they conduct their work and implement programmes. It would be interesting to hear from the ROL community of any examples of experiences of such an approach in our programmes. 

Flexible programming: Related to the above comment, and building on your comment, is the need for implementers to insist on and donors to provide more flexible programming structures and processes that enable for more adaptive and long-term programming. Flexibility doesn't have to mean unaccountable freedom to do and spend as we like. It can and should be grounded in a framework that allows systematic recording of ‘strategic adaptation’ based on well-informed, contextually sound decisions. This approach in fact promotes greater accountability for the use of resources as course corrections are implemented during the programme instead of waiting until the end of a project when it is too late. It is a process-focused approach as opposed to results-focused, which can be unfamiliar to many people, including donors, and can be met with some resistance. In many places, organisations and projects are applying such an adaptive approach (often without calling it that!) but these experiences are not always being captured and shared because final reporting structures still ultimately want to see numbers and statistics (results). During the annual conference we heard from donors who were interested to see more reporting on impact. I believe such a call can and should be responded to, but the burden should not be on implementers alone. Rather it should be coupled with serious conversations and action to rethink programming and reporting approaches and structures that promote more flexible and adaptive programmes to achieve the impact we desire. 

ROL as a long-term endeavour: The ROL–transitional justice–stabilisation connection you describe is extremely interesting and one that is increasingly relevant for many contexts. There seems to be a lot of scope to take the learning from contexts such as DRC and Lake Chad Basin (thanks to Pierre Celestin BENGONO for your comments below!) among others, and unpack in more detail and depth this relationship. UNDP, in its thought-leader role, is well-positioned to do this type of analysis and framing. Other areas where there would be value in clearer articulation of the relationship with ROL would be, for example, in the area of PVE. What is the role of ROL support in preventing future violence (and VE), conflict and insecurity? How can this role be conceptualised and then implemented on the ground in places where institutions are weak and lacking in legitimacy? These are age-old questions that should not be ignored or forgotten when the focus shifts towards 'new' concepts such as PVE, stabilisation and others. It would be great to hear from others their thoughts on the need and opportunities for such discussions and their potential value for current and future programming.   

I'm looking forward to hearing others' thoughts and experiences!

Pierre Celestin BENGONO

I am sharing my experience working with Lake Chad Basin Commission on Human rights and rules of law. You will below the concept used in the LCB in Niger, Nigeria Cameroon and Chad.

In August 2018, the Regional Strategy for the Stabilization, Recovery, and Resilience of the Boko Haram-affected areas of the Lake Chad Basin Region (RSS) was validated in Abuja, Nigeria. The RSS is intended to fulfil the second phase of the MNJTF mandate, as highlighted in the Strategic Concept of Operations of the Force, namely to “facilitate the implementation of overall stabilization programmes by the LCBC Member States and Benin in the affected areas, including the full restoration of state authority and the return of IDPs and refugees”. It seeks to establish a common approach and an inclusive framework for all stakeholders to support a timely, coordinated, and effective transition from stabilization to medium and longer-term recovery, peacebuilding and development processes.

1. Pillar 3 of the RSS, although not titled “SPRR” (Instead the drafters agreed on the title: “Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation, Reinsertion and Reintegration”), deals directly with Screening, Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Reintegration. The pillar provided the basis for the elaboration of the “Regional Strategy for the Screening, Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Boko Haram Associated Persons in the Lake Chad Basin Countries (RSPRR)[1].

2. The overall strategic objective of the RSPRR is “to develop a common overall approach to the screening, prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of persons associated with Boko Haram, including the relationship between different components in line with international standards.” The RSPRR also defines the objectives for each of the SPRR components, as follows:

  • Screening - Persons associated with Boko Haram are received and screened according to a common regional approach, in line with international standards.
  • Prosecution - National criminal justice systems in the Lake Chad Basin countries are strengthened and enabled to undertake the criminal investigation and prosecution of persons associated with Boko Haram.
  • Rehabilitation - Persons associated with Boko Haram are rehabilitated according to a common regional approach linked to later reintegration activities and including psychosocial support, health, nutrition (in a first phase) and vocational training and income-generating activities (in a second phase).
  • Reintegration - Persons associated with Boko Haram, members of vigilante groups/vigilance committees, returnees (including former prisoners), youth at risk, and victims of Boko Haram receive community-based reintegration support, following a harmonized regional approach.

3. The past years have seen a gradual increase in the number of individuals who are leaving Boko Haram, either voluntarily (surrender) or through capture during operations led by the national armies and MNJTF. To handle this caseload, countries have gradually introduced national level screening, prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration legislation, policies and strategies without much coordination with other Boko Haram-affected states.


[1] The complete text of the strategy is included in Annex I to this document.

Jan-Jilles Vanderhoeven

Allow me to share some thoughts on Question 3: “What trends related to DDR, small arms and armed violence reduction are you seeing? Do you think that these are being adequately addressed by the international community?”

It is important to recognise that, besides DDR, a new and essential area of work for UNDP is emerging to support the implementation of a series of UN Security Council Resolutions dealing with Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (PRR) of persons associated with terrorist organisations.

I would suggest that UNDP has a role to play in prosecution and reintegration (which includes community-based rehabilitation)


On prosecution: There are critical human rights challenges concerning the introduction or amendment of national legislation for the prosecution of persons associated with terrorist organisations. UNDP should support the drafting of legislation and policies that achieve justice for the victims while simultaneously providing a possibility for associates of terrorist organisations to disengage and, eventually, reintegrate into society. Reintegration and justice for victims will require balancing retributive, transitional and restorative justice processes.


On reintegration: While the disarmament and demobilisation (the two D’s of DDR) and prosecution and rehabilitation (the P and first R of PRR) tend to be significantly different processes, among others driven by the fact that the PRR process deals with persons associated with UN-designated terrorist organisation, there is considerable convergence on the reintegration R.

Good practice in DDR, as reflected in the integrated DDR standards (IDDRS) suggests that reintegration programmes focus on a) providing targeted (individual) assistance to ex-combatants, persons associated with the terrorist group and community members and b) on the broader community by delivering reconciliation assistance and the reconstruction of social and productive infrastructure.

This good practice is undoubtedly relevant for the reintegration component in PRR processes in, for example, the Lake Chad Basin countries and Iraq. However, the mentioned PRR processes require an even more comprehensive approach that also includes the provision of targeted assistance to returning internally displaced persons, refugees and vigilantes or members of militia groups in an atmosphere of a lack of trust. The return and reintegration of these widely different groups require a stronger focus on community preparedness and reconciliation work and access to a broader set of targeted reintegration assistance measures.


With the many years of experience in reintegration in the context of DDR programmes, UNDP should make this experience available for PRR processes too. Involvement in PRR processes will require the organisation invests in its staff to become familiarised with this new programming challenge that will likely become increasingly more important in the years ahead.

Leanne McKay Moderator

Thanks Jan-Jilles van der Hoeven for your reflections. As you note, there are many examples across our programmes from which we could draw lessons, to inform future DDR/PRR interventions, including in countries such as Somalia. It would be great to hear from others about how best this experience and learning is or can be captured and shared.

Rootbeer Napiza

Hi, I am Rootbeer Napiza from the Policy Advisory Office of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines.

The Commission appreciates the overall support we have received from the UNDP, who have partnered with us on several initiatives, including treaty-reporting dialogues and consultations with civil society partners and government, capacity building for the integration of HRBA in governance processes, monitoring of the SDGs, and engagements towards an establishment of a tripartite monitoring mechanism for the UPR.

I will be sharing some thoughts on the need for support (1) in the monitoring of the implementation of UPR recommendations and (2) ensuring access to justice, particularly for migrant workers.

Regarding the follow-up or monitoring mechanism for the UPR, the CHR initiated dialogues with both civil society and government. The CHR has successfully organized consultations with stakeholders on UPR reporting, produced advisories and resource materials on the subject, and engaged with the government through letters on updates about implementation. We note that CSOs and we as an NHRI have the option to submit mid-term reports (non-mandatory), and while these are crucial sources of verifiable information and evidenced-based documentation, we find it necessary that a national mechanism for reporting and follow-up be established and the tripartite monitoring mechanism finally activated as envisioned in 2012. These mechanisms will assist in comprehensively reporting on the UPR and assessing the implementation of recommendations during the five-year period between reviews, through inclusive, consultative, and multi-stakeholder processes, involving government, civil society, and the NHRI. The CHR can carry on with spearheading the discussions and engagements in spite of the current pandemic that the world is facing. We hope the UNDP can continue with the support for these mechanisms.

On access to justice, particularly for migrant workers, we believe that in this time of pandemic, it is crucial to have a mechanism or tribunal, coordinated at the international level, which will expedite access to justice, legal proceedings or processes to address the complaints of migrant workers. The pandemic has worsened the plight of migrant workers who have little to no access to justice, and a lot of them are either left stranded or are being repatriated without the payment of their salaries or wages. Should there be an initiative to establish a mechanism, coming from various civil society actors, NHRIs, and other international partners, we hope that this will receive the much-needed support from the UNDP. Taking into consideration the limitations that our current domestic institutions have, we hope that there will be a possibility for the UNDP to support this kind of project that will involve countries of origin and host or receiving countries. The SDGs, through Goals 3, 4, 5, 8, 11, and 17, are the goals with targets that stakeholders can strive for concerning migrant workers and members of their families. 

Thank you very much. 

Leanne McKay Moderator

The issue of migrant workers access to justice is a major one in the Arab states too and one that requires more reflection and strategising for how we can tackle this problem. Facilitating dialogues between NHRIs, civil society, and government actors from host and sending countries might be one part of that approach. Perhaps the newly launched UNDP global programme for Business and Human Rights also provides another entry point for addressing the challenge, and the Spotlight Initiative (a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls)? 

Francesco Notti

Dear colleagues,

Thank you for this interesting discussion. I would like to build on the contributions by Sarah and Sun to provide some more information on the opportunities that the UPR provides at the national level and on tools available to make full use of this mechanism.

A main objective of the UPR is to improve the human rights situation on the ground through nationally owned processes, led by the Government, with the constructive engagement of other national stakeholders and the support of the international community.  The success of such processes is based on the effective participation of all stakeholders at all steps: the preparation of the national report; the review and, later, the adoption in the HRC; and the follow up process. The preparation of a mid-term report on implementation of human rights recommendations, some 2 years after the review, is a voluntary action strongly encouraged. 

The UPR has contributed to an increase in ratification of international and regional human rights treaties; the setting up of independent NHRIs, national preventive mechanisms, national mechanisms for implementation, reporting and follow up, and national human rights action plans; and the adoption of legislative and other measures in a variety of areas. The UPR has also called on developed countries to meet their ODA targets, in line with SDG 17, and is facilitating the provision of development assistance funds for human rights actions. The SG “Call to Action for Human Rights” has reaffirmed the importance that Member States and the United Nations make full use of the UPR and other human rights mechanisms to implement the 2030 Agenda. In this context, a practical guide on the use of the UPR in the work of the United Nations is being finalized and will be available in the coming weeks.

The role of UNDP COs and, more generally, of UNCTs is crucial to ensure the impact of the UPR at the country level.  As mentioned by Sarah, since 2018, UNDP and OHCHR have started implementing joint initiatives bringing together UN and national actors to create synergies between SDG implementation/monitoring processes and the follow-up to UPR recommendations. These initiatives convened UNCTs, national SDG implementation structures, national mechanisms for reporting and follow-up, national human rights institutions and other stakeholders on a regional basis and have produced important opportunities for further UN engagement at the country level. 

In addition, there is a clear complementarity between the UPR process and that of the VNRs. By making the relationship between the recommendations of the UPR, and other human rights mechanisms, and the achievement of the SDGs more systematically visible, the UPR can favor the development of synergies between different actors at the national level, as well as promote accountability in achieving the SDGs. On the other hand, using recommendations from UPR and other human rights mechanisms as a reference for the preparation of the VNRs would improve coordination and effectiveness in the follow-up of both the recommendations of human rights and SDGs, and would reduce the burden on reporting for the State. In this context, OHCHR has prepared a number of country-specific documents to assist Member States to integrate human rights data, analysis and approaches in the VNRs.

Finally, in order to support national follow up efforts and promote synergies between UPR and the SDGs, OHCHR is producing a number of practical tools. For example, for each country reviewed we are producing matrices classifying the UPR recommendations by thematic areas and linking them to the SDGs. These matrices are accompanied by advocacy tools such as infographics reflecting the trends between the second and third cycles of the UPR in terms of accepted recommendations and highlighting the 5 main SDGs linked to them. Additionally, after the adoption of the UPR outcome, the High Commissioner sends a letter to the government indicating a number of issues that deserve special attention for the next four and a half years until the next UPR cycle. As of today, 112 States have received such a letter. These tools are all publicly available at https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/Documentation.aspx

Thank you

Dieter Wolkewitz

Dear Colleagues,

Cordial greetings from UNDP Pakistan and congratulations to this very inspiring debate on the way forward with the global ROLSHR programming. Together with our colleagues from our RoL project DHL would like to introduce our programmatic work and share our contribution to the debate:

Developed in the post devolution context, UNDP’s Decentralization, Human Rights and Local Governance (DHL) is a multi-sector project aimed at strengthening federal, provincial and local governance mechanisms. In particular, we focus on the provision of capacity development and technical assistance to a range of governmental, non-governmental and private sector stakeholders responsible for the protection and promotion of rights, to strengthen the human rights ecosystem at provincial and federal levels. From 2016-2019, UNDP Pakistan has thus developed and delivered an integrated package of human rights initiatives targeting human rights policy development and implementation, capacity building of key human rights institutions, strengthening human rights data collection, and empowering rights holders. Our project also seeks to strengthen the capacities of targeted institutions including the Federal Ministry for Human Rights (MOHR), the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), National Commission on the Status of Women, the Ombudsperson’s Office along with provincial government line departments and institutions.

Supporting Rule of Law for Peaceful and Inclusive Societies in Pakistan- Amn-o-Insaf (AOI) project supports both the supply and demand sides of the rule of law by strengthening justice institutions and citizen rights, and by deepening the ongoing efforts to secure peace and stability. The project primarily works in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and has recently expanded its geographical outreach to other parts of Pakistan, i.e. Newly Merged Districts (formerly Federally Administered Tribal Areas), Gilgit Baltistan and Balochistan. The support provided to justice and security sectors is aimed at promoting an enabling environment for peace and stabilization. Institutional and capacity development support to rule of law institutions is provided to ensure effective and speedy provision of justice and security services.  The activities and outputs under AOI are designed to enhance confidence and trust of the local communities in the rule of law institutions, particularly the local Police. AOI also works with informal justice institutions for dispute resolution while helping to create forums for dialogue between formal and informal mechanisms.

In response to the 7 questions posed by the moderators, please see below a brief background and recommendations from UNDP’ DHL Project compiled in consultation with the Rule of Law Team in Pakistan. (The complete document can be accessed at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wefyxmk74q57f69/AAD5XBpCsp3BWa2_KPxjswCqa?dl=0

1. UNDP’s Current thematic areas of focus are Political Engagement, Institution Building, Community Security, Access to Justice, Human Rights Systems, Transitional Justice, and Gender Justice. How should UNDP’s thematic focus areas evolve within the Rule of Law and Human Rights sphere? What needs to change? What are the trends and policy evolutions which inform your view? 

The view of the UNDP Pakistan Governance team on rule of law is principally informed by its programmatic and analytical findings asserting that rule of law is integral to and necessary for democracy and good governance. Attempts to democratize, strengthen local governance without a functional legal system in place tend to be counterproductive. The rule of law and human rights, therefore, have an indivisible and intrinsic relationship. Recommendation 1. UNDP Rule of Law programming’s increased compliance with human rights standards and commitments by national laws and programmes; 2. Rule of Law programming to advocate for, assist in technical capacity building for justice and accountability mechanisms established in accordance with international human rights standards and commitments, to monitor, investigate and redress civil and political, as well as economic, social, and cultural human rights violations; 3. While provincial governments design and implement RoL and A2J reforms there is a lack of coordination at the national level for uniform and harmonized approach

UNDP Pakistan has also continued to advocate for the protection of the human rights of Transgender Persons with non-binary gender identities through public advocacy and promulgation of legislative umbrella for the protection of their rights.  Recommendation: In the light of UNDP Pakistan’s ground-breaking work for the rights of persons with non-binary gender identities and other vulnerable groups, UNDP Pakistan would therefore recommend for Rule of Law visioning to leverage on it work with courts, parliaments, national human rights institutions and others around the world are doing to end violence and discrimination against persons with non-binary gender identities, as stated in ‘Living Free and Equal[1];’ the Joint UN Statement on Ending violence and Discrimination against Transgender and Intersex people.

Community Stabilisation and Security: UNDP has also aimed to support the reintegration of ex-offenders and at-risk youth in different regional contexts in Pakistan’s to ensure that they did not suffer discrimination, and religious profiling post their internment. The Re-integration component of the Community Stabilization Programme Component aims to promote peace and security by ensuring that the fundamental human rights of ex-offenders are protected. Recommendation: UNDP Pakistan will recommend recommend investing in enabling them to demand and help develop a stigma free and regenerative socio-political and economic environment; creating opportunities for alternative livelihoods to at risk groups and provision of socio-economic infrastructure, by promoting community-public-private cooperation in for sustainable, diverse and peaceful habitats.

Q 2. What trends related to the rule of law, security and human rights are you seeing in your current context and what trends do you see coming up on the horizon? What opportunities do you see for advancing the rule of law, security and human rights over the next 5 years, taking into account demands for integrity and transparency; climate justice, digital transformations, addressing inequality and insecurity/violence and supporting risk informed development? 

UNDP is supporting the government (Ministry of Human Rights) in Pakistan together with OHCHR on Human Rights Data with the operationalization of the Human Rights Information Management System (HRIMS), which accounts for Pakistan’s decentralized governance structure, under which provincial governments hold responsibility for implementing and monitoring the majority of human rights subjects, including health, education, social welfare and labour. DHL, UNDP Pakistan has collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Human Rights and provincial governments to develop and finalise National Human Rights Indicators that account for the domestic human rights situation and ground realities in Pakistan and on a regional basis, linked to the selected thematic areas. Recommendation: UNDP, Pakistan would recommend a global discussion on innovative Human Rights Based Data and Human Rights Information Management Systems – solutions feeding into regional and global peer learning and osmosis of expertise in this field.

Human Security: Issue of fundamental Human Rights and access to justice are usually central and entwined with conflicts both in the sense of conflict response of the state as well as a key driver related to the breakdown of political settlement, which leads to the outbreak of Violent conflict. 

Increase in transphobic stigma, discrimination and violence: UNDP Pakistan has conducted a collaborative and community led assessment to study socio-economic impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the transgender persons, counted amongst the most vulnerable and marginalised groups who are susceptible to bearing the brunt of stigma, ostracism and violence in the wake of lockdowns and exacerbated isolation. Recommendation: UNDP Pakistan would suggest a global discourse on: How do such discriminatory and exclusionary environments fuel social vulnerability including criminalized contexts over a lifetime; trans people have few opportunities to pursue education, and greater odds of being unemployed, thereby experiencing inordinately high levels of homelessness and poverty?

Covid-19 and Domestic Violence: The Covid-19 crisis is reported to have deepened social inequalities in Pakistan, disproportionately impacting vulnerable groups such as women and children. Government officials reported a 25% increase in domestic violence incidents during the lockdown between March and May, 2020.  Recommendation: UNDP would recommend a global discussion around Rule of Law strategies and tools to address the slowdowns in the justice system because of institutional closures are important to avoid impunity.

Q3. What trends related to DDR, small arms and armed violence reduction are you seeing? Do you think that these are being adequately addressed by the international community? 

Trends related to armed violence and small arms proliferation in Pakistan remain entwined with its internal conflict environment. Proliferation of small arms has increased the lethality of violent extremist organizations and their ability to threaten and violate fundamental rights of safety and security of individuals and communities. Processes related to Disarmament and Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) remain opaque, beyond any civilian oversight and not anchored to Pakistan’s own Human Rights commitments and frameworks. Recommendation: UNDP Pakistan’s Community Stabilization Programme would suggest a global discourse on expansion of engagement between the international community and the UN Agencies with member states to develop the required regulatory and policy frameworks which are aligned with Human Rights conventions and safeguards. These frameworks should include support on regulatory policy, case management capacity, as well as rehabilitation and reintegration programs to respond and receive returning fighters.

Q 4. Constitutions provide the overarching legal framework which sets out the basis of the social contract between a state and its people affecting all aspects of policy and society. What can we do better in our support to constitutional reform? 

Access to health is not a fundamental right under Pakistan’s constitution. No specific provision relating to health is included in the chapter on fundamental rights, which means unlike at least 120 countries of the world, the Constitution of Pakistan falls short in unambiguously recognising the right to health. UNDP Pakistan would encourage a global discussion on states’ commitment to upholding the principles of justice, which must focus on effective means to remove societal inequalities especially inequalities in healthcare through a strong constitutional backing. 

On Religious Minorities in Pakistan, UNDP would encourage a global discussion on 1. Ensuring the freedom of religion or belief in member states, both in law and in practice, for adherents of all religions and none, and root out all cases of religious persecution and the exploitation of laws against members of religious minorities; 2. Removing impunity against cases of religiously-motivated violence against individuals and vandalism and destruction of places of worship, and work to eliminate the occurrence of such atrocities; urging member states to extend standing invitations to all thematic special procedures established by the UN Human Rights Council, and respond favourably.

Q 5. What is the level and type of demands for justice, security, and human rights in your context? Are there specific areas of work you are seeing more or less of a need for? 

UNDP, with technical assistance from OHCHR, has developed National Human Rights indicators – focusing on the thematic areas of health, education and social protection (with a focus on women’s rights, gender equality and inclusion) for the pilot. Recommendation: UNDP would call for a global discussion on urging the member states to enact meaningful legislation on digital privacy and data protection. Business and Human Rights: At present, there is no domestic law that requires businesses in Pakistan to conduct due diligence and the Courts have not laid down any requirements either. UNDP Pakistan in collaboration with the MOHR and with technical assistance from its expert consultants have progressed in developing first draft of a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. UNDP Pakistan calls for a global discourse and sharing of experience on states’ responsibility to address the gaps and then enact laws that require business enterprises to respect human rights by improving legal and institutional regulatory framework/s to implement good corporate governance.

6. How can the UN Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights and agenda for protection assist the rule of law, security and human rights at national level? 

While the socio-economic impact of the pandemic has been widely understood, the human rights implications are proving to be more widespread, with potentially enduring implications. Recommendation: Regular and systematic information exchange at global/regional level on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the status of human rights in the countries to exchange information on existing and planned strategies, programmes and activities to map, prioritise and address human rights issues and concerns amidst the pandemic.

7. What challenges are you currently experiencing and foresee in advancing the rule of law, security and human rights over the next 5 years?  What key actions could be taken to initiative transformative change?

The core of security and human rights priorities/concerns within Rule of Law framework have been well resonated by a diverse but collective voice of human rights defenders and organisations in Pakistan. In addition, the issue of Hate Speech continues to be highlighted by human rights defenders. Hate speech was one of the main action points of the National Action Plan on Human Rights, 2016 formulated after the Army Public School Peshawar terrorist attack in 2014. Recommendation for global discussion: A global forum for interaction/deliberations with human rights defenders on issues emanating from signs that the wider situation of shrinking civic space around the world – of which the crack-down on human rights defenders is a part – is moving higher up on the mainstream corporate concerns. For example, the World Economic Forum’s 2017 ‘flagship report’ on top global risks identified “fraying rule of law and declining civic freedoms” as a major issue that business leaders are and need to be concerned about.




[1] https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Discrimination/Pages/LivingFreeEqual.aspx




Leanne McKay Moderator

Huge thanks to Dieter Wolkewitz and the UNDP Pakistan ROL team for these thoughtful reflections. The work you are spearheading on the rights of transgender persons is particularly interesting - especially given their vulnerabilities during COVID which are overlooked in many country contexts. 

Your work and the opportunities for advancing the Business and Human Rights agenda is also exciting and inspiring for other country offices looking to engage in the the newly launched global B+HR programme discussed in earlier comments. Thanks again!


Livio Sarandrea Moderator

Great, very comprehensive contribution from CO Pakistan. Thank you  to both teams and a special thanks to Dieter Wolkewitz for coordinating the joint input!

Aishath Rizna

Dear Colleagues,

Greetings from Maldives

I'm Rizna from the governance team at UNDP Maldives. 

I see digitalisation as the way forward for access to justice for a country like Maldives. Covid19 crisis has in a way helped advance this view forward with relevant stakeholders including government and justice sector institutions. Until now online mediums were not largely used for delivering trainings or to conduct court  processses though some amount of infrastructure was in place in the judiciary for this. Given the geographical setting of the country it is not feasible to have state attorneys and prosecutors based in the 187 islands and travel on a regular basis to attend hearings is costly. 95% of the lawyers are based in capital city meaning lack of representation in outer atolls and islands. 

Digitalisation can help overcome these barriers and bring justice closer to the people as higher courts are also based in the capital city. Likewise it offers inclusivity for elderly, PWDs and women easier access to justice from their homes. Being a  country with high internet usage if services are available online it would immensely help people in getting redress from these mechanisms. 

In moving forward if we've the necessary regulations in place to ensure safety and security of the process this could be the most economical way of providing justice sector services for the people. It has been so far used by courts, prosecution during the lockdown period in the capital city. 

Likewise it can also facilitate training and judicial education programmes for the magistrates in the islands courts without traveling to the capital of the atoll or to the main capital. This can also help balance time spent in the courts and ensure there are no delays or backlogs due to travel for training purposes. 


Thank you,

Leanne McKay Moderator

Many thanks for sharing your reflections regarding digital justice in the Maldives, Aishath Rizna

Digital justice tools and systems, from electronic case management systems and online dispute resolution, to electronic document filing and virtual court hearings, are being used around the world to transform the delivery of justice, promising to enhance access to justice, and improve justice sector efficiency, transparency and accessibility.

With COVID-19, people’s justice problems are only increasing. Many justice systems are looking to digital justice to overcome challenges of movement restrictions and social distancing. In some countries, judges have for the first time started to hold sessions and deliver judgments via Skype or Zoom, and ministries of justice are exploring how to conduct online magistrate’s hearings. Video technology has saved thousands of hours of police officers' time travelling to and from court, time can be saved on procedural hearings, and in some places, domestic abuse victims found remote hearings "less intimidating".

But digital justice is not without its challenges. In some places, court observers have been unable to connect to virtual hearings. Research also shows that in the UK, those forced to appear on video from police stations are less likely to be legally represented and likely to get increased prison sentences. Other challenges include a lack of access to the internet (and how we can bridge the digital divide), lack of suitable technology or private space, lack of access to legal advice or referrals to other support services.

UNDP is supporting countries around the world to use digital justice tools and systems to advance access to justice and it would be great to hear more from other COs about their experiences and lessons in this area. Some questions that come to mind .... How can digital justice tools and systems increase access to justice, enhance efficiency, and reduce backlogs?  Does digital justice work in contexts with weak IT infrastructure? Will remote hearings become the ‘new normal’ after COVID-19?  How can the principle of ‘open justice’ be protected if proceedings no longer happen in physical courtrooms?   Does digital justice increase participation and accessibility or amplify the scope of injustice?

Ileana Bello

How can the UN Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights and agenda for protection assist the rule of law, security and human rights at national level?

The UN Secretary General's Call to Action for Human Rights is an incredible advocacy tool. The Call is very much forward looking and anticipating some of the challenges that we will encounter more and more in the future.

For what specifically concerns the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), in the Call the SG urges states to progress in establishing and strengthening national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in full compliance with the universal Paris Principles.

Whilst in 2020, 40% of member states have achieved compliance of their NHRIs with the Paris Principles, progress in 78 countries across several regions remains overdue.

The establishment and strengthening of NHRIs is an indicator under SDG 16 to measure States’ progress for sustainable development across all Goals.

Strong and well-resourced NHRIs play a critical role in supporting states’ efforts in realizing the SDGs and human rights obligations. NHRIs do so by advising states on human-rights based approaches, monitoring and reporting on progress and lack thereof, engaging groups and promoting participation, and holding duty-bearers to account.

In a unanimous cross regional resolution, the United Nations General Assembly had recently called on all member states to establish and strengthen NHRIs in line with the Paris Principles, including as a means to achieve sustainable development.

GANHRI in partnership with UNDP and OHCHR in the framework of the Tripartite Partnership (TPP) and with the NHRIs regional networks supports States in the establishment and strengthening of NHRIs and will continue to support its member NHRIs in building strength and growth.

GANHRI supports the establishment of NHRIs where they do not yet exist and contributes to the continuous capacity development of NHRIs to enhance their effectiveness. In a unique peer-review-based accreditation process, GANHRI in partnership with the UN promotes individual NHRIs’ compliance with internationally recognised standards – the Paris Principles – to ensure their independence, pluralism and accountability.


Ileana Bello

What challenges are you currently experiencing and foresee in advancing the rule of law, security and human rights over the next 5 years?  What key actions could be taken to initiative transformative change?

According to GANHRI 's experience in working for NHRIs, one of the main challenges at the national level remains the pressure on shrinking the civic and democratic space and the attacks to human rights defenders.

NHRIs all over the world face incredible threats for their work of promotion and protection of human rights. The threats and reprisals are mainly coming from state actors, although in some cases these are also put forward by non-state actors, especially in fragile, conflict and post-conflict situations.

Back in 2018, the NHRIs gathered altogether in Marrakech, Morocco, to discuss on the best way to work together to contribute to enlarging the civic space and protect human rights defenders. The outcome document of the conference, organised in collaboration with OHCHR and with the contribution of UNDP, the Marrakech Declaration (https://ganhri.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Marrakech-Declaration_ENG…) , already anticipated what would be one of the challenges that we foresee will have an impact in advancing the rule of law, security and human rights.

The role of the NHRIs in protecting the civic space will become more and more fundamental as we are moving towards a significant economic crises brought by the context of the COVID-19 outbreak and recovery.

The United Nations, already allied of GANHRI and of the NHRIs, will be a key actor in overlooking at securing the independence of NHRIs and strengthen their role and mandate in line with the Paris Principles.

Yagiz Oztepe Moderator

Dear Ileana Bello, thanks a lot for your comments regarding the linkages between UN Secretary General's Call to Action and strengthening the capacity of NHRIs for promoting human rights and achieving SDGs at the national level. The Call really shows

Also thank you for bringing the Marrakesch declaration in our attention. UNDP Global Programme supports NHRIs in partnership with OHCHR and GANHRI as part of Tri-Partite Partnership around the globe in order to support NHRIs aligning themselves with Paris Principles and function as independent state institutions. It today's world where the civic space is shrinking for civic actors, it is especially important for NHRIs to partner and cooperate with CSOs in order to make sure that civil society actors can have the necessary public space and tools to promote and protect rights of people, especially for the most vulnerable and those who are left behind. For this reason, we should explore more ways to promote and increase partnerships between NHRIs and civil society actors as much as possible.

Thank you again for all your comments and information you have provided!

Claudia de Saravia

Hi, I am Claudia de Saravia, Programme Officer, Rule of Law and Peace from UNDP CO in Guatemala. My contribution to this discussion regarding Reimaging Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights for a better future. Share your perspectives of trends, opportunities and priorities

There will bi a high impact of COVID-19 pandemic on human rights and the rule of law.  UNDP work will need to consider this context to evolve within the Rule of Law and Human Rights sphere to support governments in the response and recovery. One of the areas that our work should be oriented in the future is to achieve a people centered justice, because the pandemic will reinforce the circle of vulnerabilities within groups such as migrants, women, children, people living with disabilities and indigenous population. This will require an increase in innovation to strengthen the capacities of justice and security institutions, including concepts such as smart working to increase efficiency, effectiveness and transparency (accountability). A people centered approach should also include the support of institutions in data collection, management and analysis, including satisfaction user surveys.

Opportunities and priorities

In Guatemala, 40% of the population are youth (13-29); 24 are illiterate and 14% live in extreme poverty. This means that Rule of Law, Peace and Security are topics that needs to be address considering youth participation. Youth participation must be a priority issue in UNDP to achieve the 2030 agenda. Innovation should include integrated programming approaches because peace and security also mean eradicating social and economic inequalities, specially for women and indigenous population. In 2020, in Guatemala, a transitional justice program (PAJUST) include as part of its components the inclusion of a youth empowerment initiative to increase young people’s agency to sustain peace. But the sustaining of peace also requires addressing the underlying causes of corruption, inequality and injustice and this also requires the participation of youth in the solutions.

Randolph Rhea

Dear Colleagues,


I am Randolph Rhea specialist in Integrated DDR Processes at FBA - The Swedish Agency for Peace, Security, and Development. We at FBA have worked closely with the UN’s Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) on DDR in the update and revision on the Integrated DDR Standards (IDDRS) over the last few years. The process has involved broad and ongoing exploration of current issues and practice, constant consideration of emerging trends shaping our future, and a careful and critical consideration of the best ways forward towards our shared goals under SDG 16+. FBA draws from decades of hands-on experience supporting DDR processes around the globe - most often in non-mission settings. On the basis of these experiences I would like to share a few observations in relation to question 3:


First, and perhaps most important, is to continue to acknowledge that we are no longer working predominantly in the context of post-conflict peacekeeping. Today we are increasingly working in contexts of ongoing conflict and violence where issues like a rapid proliferation of armed groups, cross-border dynamics, transnational organized crime, and armed groups designated as terrorist organizations are ever more prevelant. In these increasingly complex settings protracted conflict and violence is the norm.  It is not that these settings themselves are a new phenomena, rather that we are being asked to work in them. More often than not (notable counter-examples exist) we cannot rely on the assumption of a political agreement, of basic security, of fundamental political will or trust. Given the wicked, complex, and shifting nature of these settings we as the international community are increasingly aware that we must find ways to work in a more holistic and integrated fashion across the Humanitarian, Development, Peace Nexus. We can no longer work in silos and on linear timeframes. A key example of this acknowledgement is the updated IDDRS which reframes DDR as an integrated process - comprising a diverse range of approaches and tools which can be implemented before, during, and after conflict, as well as in mission and non-mission settings. While this new framework is a response to changing contexts, and a signal of our future ways of working, all of this is much easier said than done. Glaucia correctly acknowledges that there is a need to see these policy changes brought to regional and country level. I believe that UNDP has a key role to play here - especially in non-mission settings. At the moment requests for support are coming through RCs - however, as far as I am aware, there are not yet any protocols in place for prioritizing among requests -  let alone allocating resources. Without solving these issues it will be difficult to see innovative frameworks like the updated IDDRS reach the field in their fullest form.  


Second, when talking about security there is a tendency to automatically read this as hard security; and without a doubt addressing hard security issues is essential. However, from a perspective of politics, an essential part of improving security is really about creating the mechanisms that put weapons beyond the means of use.  This is especially true for community security - a point which several colleagues have already picked up in the threads above. When we talk about Transitional Weapons and Ammunition Management, Community Violence Reduction, or Community-Based Reintegration it is important to remember that perhaps the greatest value - or at least collateral benefit - of these approaches is creating mechanisms for civic participation and political process where there may have been few. I think that UNDP has the comparative advantage to play a role in helping to shape these mechanisms, and to do so with a view of broader RoL and protection of HR. 


Third, I think we must exercise some caution and take smart risks. I worry that fully embracing the need - and it is a need - to work more fluidly and holistically in ever more complex operational settings could supplant the essential component of a broader strategic framework with clear political aims connected to conflict prevention and resolution. Our agile and adaptive approaches must remain cohesively oriented. In the worst scenarios that dwell in my imagination - the lack of clear strategic and political objectives could lead to co-option into the strategies of others. These are real issues in DDR. Jan-Jilles has shared some frameworks for area-based programming and adaptive management from Yemen that provide exciting prospects on how to approach this quandary. 


The last point I want to raise revolves around data. This is an issue I could go on about at length, so I will exercise stringent restraint here. There is untold potential for the use of data driven approaches to strategy and programming for RoL, Security, and HR. Unfortunately, a variety of issues such as programming lifecycles, donor demands, inefficient uses of resources, and disincentives for inter-entity cooperation on data means that only slivers of this potential are ever realized. This is the 21st century, and the data revolution has dramatically altered that way countless industries operate. There is no reason - besides those we have created for ourselves - why actors in the HDPN cannot benefit from these advances as well. The opportunities for increased efficiency and effectiveness are numerous. This is not just about tech savvy, flashy tools, or experts - this is about creating the processes and ways of working that integrate ongoing data collection, analysis, sharing, and action. Soon or later the UN will have to take these issues more seriously. Given it’s position working across the peace continuum, and in the HDP nexus,  I believe that UNDP is in an advantageous position to be a leader in this area. 


Sinisa Milatovic

Dear colleagues,

My name is Siniša Milatović and I am engaged as a Business and Human Rights Specialist working globally with UNDP. 

In this comment, I would like to reflect on how we could reimagine our work in the area of remedies.

The focus of our work on remedies has tended to be on formal, individual, remedies, to be obtained either through formal justice sector institutions, such as courts or alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. I would argue that we need to refocus at least some of our attention on collective remedy mechanisms.

In my experience with UNDP I have conducted access to justice surveys (for instance, see here: https://www.al.undp.org/content/albania/en/home/library/poverty/survey-on-access-to-justice-in-albania.html), which show that: 1) some categories of legal disputes tend to be very commonplace (consumer issues, land disputes, labour rights’ issues, etc.); and 2) the great majority of people with unresolved legal issues tend do not get to use formal justice mechanisms, either because of a lack of awareness or a lack of means.


This is also true of victims of human rights violations by businesses, who suffer from similar issues, be they labour rights violations for factory workers, environmental harm to communities, or defective products by consumers (though this is not strictly a human rights issue).


To address these issues effectively, we should not just rely on mechanisms for individual redress. Instead, we also need to bolster collective mechanisms. Some of these are unfashionable, some are forgotten about, others are foreign to many parts of the world, but that does not mean they are obsolete.


For instance, UNDP programmes rarely (to my knowledge) support trade unions and their attempts at collective bargaining. This is because trade unions have been weakened by over 40 years of neoliberal policy, as well as because this is the domain of the ILO. However, the fact remains that without the effective exercise of the freedom of association, workers cannot be protected as they are much weaker than their employers.

The workers in Rana Plaza walked out the day before their building collapsed in 2013, claiming unsafe working conditions. They did not have a union and were bullied into going back to work leading to the death of over 1,100 workers (https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/04/22/bangladesh-2-years-after-rana-plaza-workers-denied-rights). When thinking about remedies, we cannot afford to ignore trade unions; we should partner more with ILO to support their work from a human rights perspective. In doing so, we should not be afraid to use international labour law, which offers a very rich and detailed set of provisions on labour rights, but which is often ignored at the expense of international human rights law.


Another example of what UNDP could explore further are collective redress mechanisms, such as class action lawsuits. These are usually used to enforce consumers’ rights against businesses, and they have become more popular across the world. Indeed, the EC has recently published its own draft text of the Collective Redress Directive (https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2020/06/30/eu-consumers-obtain-access-to-collective-redress/), which is yet to be adopted. UNDP should explore the viability of using such mechanisms in developing countries to violations going beyond consumer rights’ issues, but also including fundamental human rights violations. Collective action would help claimants to overcome the seemingly insurmountable power imbalance between themselves and businesses and authorities in developing countries.


In sum, we should do more to explore how to use collective redress mechanisms to provide effective remedies to victims of human rights violations. The model of individual complaints and remedies, which focuses on courts and the formal justice sector, fails to account for the economic and power imbalance that exists between claimants, who are often of very modest means, and authorities and/or businesses. Our work supporting NHRIs is a good starting point, but much more could be done on this front.

Sinisa Milatovic

Dear colleagues,

If you would, please indulge me in one more comment, in which I want to reflect not so much on what we do, but how we do it. I want to preface my remarks by saying that these are my observations from 20 years in the field, including 16 years on and off with UNDP, and that my comments are meant as food for thought.

I want to reflect on two related key areas that we need to address: 1. Recognising the political nature of rule of law work; and 2. Doing away with projects.

  1. Recognising the political nature of rule of law work

I think an unspoken, underlying assumption of much of our work, is that rule of law issues can be solved through technical assistance.

This is sometimes true. Some of us have been fortunate to have formed partnerships with willing national counterparts that have claimed ownership over joint initiatives and that enabled us, with their commitment and time, to achieve the objectives of our interventions.

But this assumption – that the rule of law is a technical issue - also often overlooks the fundamentally political nature of strengthening the rule of law and human rights mechanisms. I think we need to be upfront about this: strengthening human rights upsets power structures, while advancing the interests of marginalised and vulnerable groups at the expense of those in power.

This has direct implications for our work. We are too often asked to provide assistance to (semi)-authoritarian governments that use it as cover for repressive practices. By way of example, I have worked in countries where UNDP continued implementing rule of law projects even after governments detained thousands of lawyers, judges, and activists. I have worked on projects where UNDP held conferences and forums on the rule of law between governments and civil society activists that had been imprisoned and tortured by the very same governments.

A good faith interpretation of these interventions was that UNDP was facilitating dialogue, which would lead to greater adherence to the rule of law.

However, that was not always the case, at least in my experience. Instead, we often unwittingly helped to advance the most worrying trend in rule of law today, which is executive overreach to weaken the rule of law. As the most recent World Justice Project surveys show (see summary here: https://www.openglobalrights.org/global-rule-of-law-index-reveals-worrying-trends-for-human-rights-protection/), the biggest areas of decline over the past five years are in Fundamental Rights, Constraints on Government Powers, and Absence of Corruption. Developing countries are taking the lead from more developed countries in this regard, and they have learned how to ‘play the game’ by appearing to engage with civil society organisations, the UN, and other IGOs, while at the same time capturing institutions and stifling dissent.

We have to be honest about the nature of this work; UNDP can and does provide valuable technical assistance, but only where there is political will. Otherwise, we risk being used as cover for ever-increasing repression by governments looking for legitimacy from the international community (not to mention being used by counterparts who are looking to receive per diems for trips, employ their friends, or benefit from our projects in another manner, while otherwise ignoring them or paying them lip service).


  1. Doing away with projects

So, what can be done to address this state of affairs? How can we continue doing work while ensuring donors’ funds and our time and resources do not legitimise repressive governments?

The answer, I believe, lies in stopping with projects as the form we use for delivering assistance. Projects are better suited to areas such as engineering, where circumstances are more predictable. It is easier to calculate the ‘ingredients’ required to, for instance, make a dam, than it is to help construct a strong judiciary; moreover, political circumstances change in the course of a project, and they are not well suited to adapting to such changes.

Additionally, and most worryingly, projects can be co-opted by national partners who are savvy enough to know that they can serve their purposes. I have had the experience of national counterparts threatening to stop projects unless we hire someone that was patently unqualified over more qualified staff, or unless we take them on their third study tour to New York in three years. Other colleagues I’ve spoken to have had variants of the same experience.

The reason for this is some national counterparts are shrewd – and unethical - enough to recognise what the respective incentives are for UNDP and for them. Namely, their jobs rarely depend on whether they realise the objectives of a project – but the jobs of UNDP staff might. A lot of our staff have their salaries tied to projects, which means it is in their interest to have the project completed, no matter how successful it truly is in actually strengthening the rule of law and human rights.

This leads to the perverse situation whereby we are directing donors’ funds to national partners, and spending our time and resources on supporting them, and yet they (who are formally not providing any resources) are setting the parameters of our cooperation, which they sometimes abuse in the above-mentioned manner.


So, how do we rectify this situation? In my mind, we can start by doing one thing: let’s do away with projects. At least in a few countries, on a pilot basis. I know that accelerator labs are attempting to do something like this; I’m proposing something more far-reaching.


Namely, instead of signing projects with donors, let’s raise open-ended funds from donors in a few pilot countries. In fundraising, we would commit ourselves to strengthening the rule of law, achieving SDGs 5, 16 and other relevant SDGs, implementing the national judicial reform strategy, and/or some other agreed-on strategic goal. We would, of course, report regularly, both financially and substantively, on the progress achieved, and we would have regular discussions with partners and donors – partnership would still be at the heart of our work.

But we wouldn’t be obliged to achieve our objectives in any particular preordained way, working with any particular partner or on any particular activities. We would be free to change course if we thought the circumstances warranted it, and to redirect funding and our work to a more committed partner to strengthening the rule of law. 


This would achieve three important things:

  1. It would give us more freedom to act on changing circumstances than projects do. These changing circumstances may include a change in the national counterpart (a new Minister of Justice, a political change in the government’s direction, a coup, etc.) that often derail our projects. And, of course, although we are theoretically supposed to stop projects when they can’t be realised, we all know that this happens very rarely. If there were no projects, and a change – such as a new Minister – occurred that meant there was no longer the willingness by our counterpart to tackle rule of law issues, we could shift our assistance, for instance, to supporting NGOs working on preventing torture and inhuman and degrading treatment in custody (and away from, for instance, uncooperative police forces that do not have political will to reform)
  2. It would leave us less beholden to any particular partners. As is noted above, some of us have been in situations where we have been asked to hire unqualified friends of Ministers that have threatened to halt projects – aimed at assisting their ministries – if we fail to do so. Not having projects would give us the freedom to call their bluff and direct our resources to more willing partners.
  3. It would make UNDP staff less incentivised to complete projects that are plainly not achieving their objectives. Their salaries would not be tied to those projects, but to the overall objective of strengthening the rule of law in general, and to the quality of their work. This is not to say that, in this project-free framework, UNDP staff would not be evaluated on their performance. They would, and their contracts could be terminated if their performance was unsatisfactory. However, this arrangement would also give them more creativity and freedom to use their expertise and experience.
Francisco Sanchez

Dear all,

My name is Francisco Sanchez, Senior Advisor on Integrity and Anti-corruption at UNDP Chile. We would like to share some perspectives based on our experience and the current context of the country. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, in October 2019 Chile experienced the emergence of broad civil unrest, causing a crisis that deeply affected state institutions and all political actors. The crisis highlighted a long and deep problem of persisting inequalities in the country (economic and income inequality; education, health, social security, gender, employment and others) despite Chile’s overall reputation as a solid and prosperous economy, a weakening of formal representation mechanisms .

There is a general decrease of confidence in institutions and poor perception of their functioning which also affects the justice sector. According to our “State of Democracy Assessment” survey, in 2018 the justice courts ranked third among the institutions less trusted by the public, after political parties and Congress. Only 6% consider that courts work well, down from 17% in 2010. Perceptions regarding other institutions are also quite negative, such as courts being “too slow” (82%), that they favour only those who have power (80%) and that there is widespread corruption in the Judiciary (57%).

As a result of the October 2019 civil unrest, political parties agreed to initiate a constitutional process to replace the current Constitution. A plebiscite to decide whether the Constitution should be changed or not was to be carried out in April 2020 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic had to be re-scheduled for October.

This constitutional process is of course a major area of interest and concern for our office. A first challenge is to help ensure effective participation in the upcoming plebiscite. The quarantine or confinement measures may result in less interest or will to vote and may also affect the way campaigns are carried out. Other emerging challenges relate to maintaining a level playing field during the campaign phase and for preventing disinformation, the spread of fake news and malpractice to play a significant role in the plebiscite.

UNDP Chile is implementing a “Collaboration Framework for Promoting Citizens’ Involvement for Tackling the Causes of Social Crisis in Chile, Strengthening Governance and Public Policy Response”, partnering with civil society organizations and local governments. The three main components of the project are: a) to promote electoral participation for strengthening the legitimacy of the constitutional process, especially among people that have been historically marginalized from electoral processes (particularly urban poor and youth); b) bringing gender perspective into the constitutional process, assuring women´s broad participation and representation, as well as gender issues included in the constitutional debate and drafting; c) connecting grassroot demands with social policy design.

Besides the constitutional process, our office has also engaged in work with the justice sector, specifically the Public Prosecutor’s Office, on two ongoing projects. The first one, related to gender justice, is a partnership with the Metropolitan Center-North Office of the Prosecutor for implementing a pilot programme aimed at reducing the percentage of women that abandon the judicial process in cases of domestic violence. At the same time, our country office is working with the Public Prosecutor’s Office at national level in developing a code of ethics and an integrity system aimed at safeguarding good conduct and reducing corruption risks among officials and prosecutors. From our experience in these two projects, attention must be brought to the necessity of working on gender perspective with justice system actors and raising awareness on how corruption risks may affect equal access to justice.

German Vega Cortes

Dear colleagues, I am Germán Vega Cortés and work at UN Women HQ as a Policy Specialist. Let me share a few insights on the following question:

Constitutions provide the overarching legal framework which sets out the basis of the social contract between a state and its people affecting all aspects of policy and society. What can we do better in our support to constitutional reform?

In my view, the first thing we should do to effectively support constitution reform is acknowledging the context in which constitutions around the world have been designed as well as the likely context in which reform efforts may take place, namely contexts where patriarchal structures have been and are strongly present and thus gender and other forms of discrimination are a reality to varying extents. This is particularly relevant when assessing the basic statement of this question; that constitutions provide the overarching legal framework which sets out the basis of the social contract between a state and its people.

Whilst constitutions in democratic countries may be made in the name of the people, and various of them even begin with an equivalent of the phrase “We the people”, the question of who “the people” was/is to those designing or reforming constitutions arises. It can be argued that historically, the notion of “the people” was mostly understood as men from non-minority populations. And even though, since the 1980s, constitutional content has substantially evolved to include gender-specific and non-discrimination provisions - particularly in Asia, Africa and the Americas- constitutions and their interpretation may still be reflective of the structural biases influencing its initial development and their subsequent reforms both in form and substance. Recognizing this and therefore revisiting the very notion of “the people” in efforts to support constitution development and reform is key to achieving truly inclusive social contracts that are responsive to the intersectional diversity of its signatories.

Practically, this may only be possible if we start by:

• Ensuring the full and equal participation of women and all other marginalized segments of the population in their own diversity in processes of constitutional review and reforms in all contexts, e.g., post-conflict and development

• Leveraging the opportunity for cross-country learning by showcasing positive experiences of intersectional and gender-responsive constitution-making, particularly in relation to eliminating persistent discriminatory constitutional provisions and structural discriminatory (patriarchal) biases.

• Provide sufficient resources for post-constitutional policy and legislative processes to leverage constitutional enforcement and implementation. In particular, constitutions must serve as tools for challenging and eliminating gender and all forms discriminatory laws as defined by Sustainable Development Goal 5.1

• Support intersectional gender-responsive public interest litigation by equipping relevant actors to build on achievements in successful gender equality-related and anti-discrimination litigation. This must be accompanied by continuous efforts to assess the impact of court decisions on women and other marginalized segments of the population more broadly and strategies that have been and can be used for scaling up such benefits

Yagiz Oztepe Moderator

Dear German,

Thanks a lot for your valuable comments about the development of constitutions and making us reflect on the gender aspect of that process! In addition to your comments, I think the very patriarchal and non-minority structure of the constitution is also linked to the fact that women and minority groups were always under-represented throughout the history in the parliaments and legislative bodies.

In order to construct a new social contract and making the constitution really represent "the people", we should make sure that all parts of the society contribute to the development and writing of legislation. A new dialogue needs to be initiated in order to question and redefine some really well-established forms of definitions in the constitution regarding the people and the society.

Also, as you have mentioned; supporting the inter-sectional gender-responsive public interest litigation is really important for achieving equality in practice. Even if the constitutions and laws contain necessary measures and definitions for ensuring gender equality, they wouldn't be applied correctly if actors of the judicial system such as judges and prosecutors continue to interpret from a non-gender sensitive approach. Proper training and awareness raising activities should also be conducted in order change well-established patriarchal norms in the rule of law area.

Thank you again for all your inputs and contributions!

Cornelis Steenken

Thanks for this interesting discussion, My name is Cornelis (Kees) Steenken and I am a DDR Specialist and have working both within and beyond the UN system as an observer, practitioner, trainer, facilitator, coordinator of the UN IAWG on DDR and am currently working as a UNDP consultant on the creation of a CoP on IM on DDR/RR in the great lakes region, in particular, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda and Eastern DRC.  

As most of you know, armed groups operating in the DRC constitute a source of instability to the entire Great Lakes region and the fragmentation of these armed groups resulting from a broad range of competing interests adds to this complexity.  There is a need to complement national, top-down DDR approaches with alternate opportunities to address these “negative forces” and help improve human security, regional stability, and prospects for socio-economic development.  

One such opportunity in this complex context is to strengthen the capacity of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to help support DDR/RR efforts by leveraging its good offices and networks to complement ongoing diplomatic and peacebuilding efforts.

UNDP along with partners ICGLR, GIZ, Clingendael, and FBA are in the process of developing a Community of Practice on Insider Mediators on DDR/RR (CoP IM on DDR/RR).  This is an innovative non-military measure aims to help increase the opportunity and space for dialogue and mediation at the community level, using local initiatives and by developing a cadre of local “insider mediators” such as; respected community, regional or national members including women, youth, faith-based organizations, community-based organizations, private sector,  NGOs and other agents of change help create space for dialogue and mediation.

This group are in the process of being identified by ICGLR, country offices, partners and more.  They will be encouraged to share information and skills, local successes and failures withing a “do no harm framework” complimented by some trainings on both insider mediation and DDR, thus helping to create space for dialogue and mediation in support of peace initiatives;

  • From a thematic perspective, part of the CoP intervention looks at applying insider mediation as a tool to facilitate Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation, Resettlement and Reintegration (DDR/RR) processes, an approach that is guided by the revised Integrated DDR Standards.
  • This CoP is intended to be a flexible and agile network which helps to create opportunities for insider mediators to share knowledge and information, tools and ideas, so as to give each other better skills and abilities to open up much-needed spaces for dialogue. 
  • Through these efforts the inside mediators can help play a critical role creating a better understanding of key elements in the conflict, conflict drivers and opportunities to help manage the conflict.  They can help change the attitudes and behaviours that used to promote violence, to a more positive force to reduce or prevent violence, fostering more inclusive norms and forging consensus for crucial changes and reforms.
  • Community of Practice – CoP will be able to meet online or in person. Together, we will use a broad range of examples and develop varied tools so that interactions can take place when and how needed.  From a resource page to varied open and closed media, to forums, webinars or zoom discussions and more, the aim is to become self-contributing and sustaining. New options will be investigated as they arise and individuals may choose their own for sidebar or offline discussions. It is our hope that details, ideas, good practices and things to avoid will be shared among the CoP regardless of position or experience as all members can offer and learn from each other contributions.
  • Dialogue will be guided by other UNDP CoP as well as the recently updated IM guidance: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/democratic-governance/conflict-prevention/strengthening-resilience-to-conflict-and-turbulence.html



Leanne McKay Moderator

Week Four Summary

**UPDATE** Due to a fantastic uptick in contributions this past week, we have decided to extend the consultation to 31 July 2020 to allow for further feedback from UNDP offices, external partners and regional stakeholders. We look forward to more of your reflections this week!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the extremely interesting and fruitful discussions during this fourth week of consultations, from across the globe – from Pakistan to the Maldives, from Tunisia to Guatemala, from Chile to the DRC and beyond! These insights, and those provided by many of the other practitioner experts from a range of organisations and locations highlighted the complexity of the contexts within which we work, whilst also flagging the many opportunities for exchanges and lesson learning as we reimagine ROL, security and human rights in the future.

Importantly, a number of the contributions moved beyond just the ‘what‘ we do to the ‘how’, with reflections on the political nature of ROL work and a call to donors and practitioners to engage in a rethinking of the standard project design and implementation structures and modalities. Methods for integrating ROL into broader programmes were discussed including, for example, UNDP Tunisia’s use of SDG16+ as both a unifier and integrator.   

Conversations around human rights machineries and the UPR process continued from past weeks and were enriched by insights from UNDP colleagues, including on SDG integration and linkages to Business and Human Rights, as well as from our friends and partners at OHCHR, who shared some practical tools to support national follow up efforts and promote synergies between UPR and the SDGs, and from GANHRI and the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines.

Today these partnerships are critical given the stress COVID-19 is placing on human rights and ROL. NHRIs and human rights defenders around the world are facing incredible threats, largely from state actors, and the role of NHRIs in protecting the civic space as communities and governments navigate the impact and recovery of COVID is key.

The Business and Human Rights discussion continued with enthusiasm as contributors reflected on how best to leverage work in this area to promote access to justice, including for migrant workers, and how to reimagine our approach to remedies – moving from the individual to the collective, whether that is through trade unions or class actions, for example.    

Many people agreed that COVID-19 has opened up space for “a new possible”, especially in relation to engaging judiciaries and enhancing access to justice through digital justice. Others reflected in the critical need for a strengthened social contract which requires the full and equal participation of women and vulnerable and marginalized groups, such as transgender persons and migrants, within society.

A number of contributions focused in on DDR, small arms and armed violence prevention and were then linked into reflections on stabilisation, prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration and the role of UNDPs human rights, rule of law and community security-focused work in these areas.  Colleagues shared a number of good practices, tools and new innovative approaches, including the newly updated IDDRS modules on disarmament, reflections on the need and potential for data driven approaches to strategy and programming, lessons from UNDPs reintegration work in many contexts,  and the new Community of Practice on Insider Mediators on DDR/RR under development.

Again, many thanks for all of the time and effort contributors gave to ensuring a vibrant and dynamic consultation. It has provided us with substantial food for thought as we move forward in the process of identifying and defining the critical ROL, security and human rights issues that we will seek to tackle, and how, over the next 5 years.

Kelly Low

Hi everyone, 

Apologies for jumping into this discussion so late. I have definitely benefited from the rich perspectives and thinking across these different themes advanced in the last week.

I work with the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and have had the great pleasure over the past few years to explore, together with UNDP, IOM, UNODC and colleagues from other UN entities, the value of combining experiences and expertise from different perspectives, in particular DDR and counter-terrorism, and work together to support Member States.  The relationship between DDR and CT, and even the different entities has not always been apparent and some tensions continue to exist. Colleagues have already described work on screening, prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration and how UNDP can contribute on all these fronts.  I'd like to underline how and why the system needs advocates from the "other side" for effective CT. 

CT and SPRR have been often conflated with a securitized approach that exists in apparent opposition to softer approaches.  This is unfortunate.  In fact, the principles of the rule of law and human rights not only inform but are embedded into effective counter-terrorism - that is the counter-terrorism framework that the UN has advanced and promoted. This is the vision of comprehensive counter-terrorism that is aimed at longer term peace and stability, encompassing the goals of justice but also the rights of victims, recognizing the need to protect society but also to strengthen it, expanding from a security to an all of government approach to an all of society one, inclusive of civil society, youth, women, religious and community leaders.  The UN needs partners with the capacity, experience and breadth to help translate these principles and the specific requirements elaborated under it into a reality. 

I, for one, welcome the ability of UNDP to adapt to different settings and strive to complement the system's efforts with valuable, relevant expertise, and hope that together we can do more. 

Rozafa Kelmendi

Dear colleagues,

I am Rozafa Kelmendi, working as Transitional Justice Policy Analyst at UN Women HQ.
Allow me to share a few insights on the following questions:

Question 1.UNDP’s Current thematic areas of focus are Political Engagement, Institution Building, Community Security, Access to Justice, Human Rights Systems, Transitional Justice, and Gender Justice. How should UNDP’s thematic focus areas evolve within the Rule of Law and Human Rights sphere? What needs to change? What are the trends and policy evolutions which inform your view?

While focusing on implementing context-specific and participatory transitional justice processes, specific support should be provided to women leaders and civil society to participate meaningfully at all stages of transitional justice processes.

Also make efforts to ensure that marginalized individuals and communities are able to access transitional justice processes in a meaningful way.

For the sake of sustainability, less traditional transitional justice actors, such as the private sector, the media and academia can be important partners, as well addressing economic and social issues through awareness-raising, investment and the provision of educational and economic opportunities for social recovery.

Linking transitional justice with other thematic areas, such as conflict prevention, security sector reform, preventing violent extremism, humanitarian interventions and development programmes that relate to transitional justice, is another way to broaden the focus and allow for more comprehensiveness and sustainability.
To be effective, sustainable, and transformative, transitional justice must address the full range of harms including social, economic, civil and political rights.

Development frameworks, action plans and taskforces can provide important platforms to link transitional justice efforts to other areas of work in post-conflict environments.

Comprehensive service provision and reparations, increased awareness about women’s human rights, economic empowerment and the possibility of meaningful participation in decision-making processes are part of more comprehensive and complete transitional justice support towards gender equality.

Question 6. How can the UN Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights and agenda for protection assist the rule of law, security and human rights at national level?

While focusing on the rights in times of crisis and agenda for protection, we must highlight the importance of protection through prevention, based on gender-responsive analysis and planning. One of concrete actions would be that Human Rights monitors, and political officers should be reporting and alerting on misogyny in their early warning and prevention work.

Also, as included in SG’s Call to Action for Human Rights, requiring gender analyses and concrete recommendations at all stages of mission analysis, planning and implementation would ensure addressing the specific rights and needs of women and girls.

Jairo Alberto Matallana Villarreal

Hello everyone. Here I summarize contributions from different colleagues of UNDP Colombia with whom mwe have discussed trends and opportunities in our work on ROLSHR (sorry, again, for this lengthy post).  

1. Trends, demands and opportunities on ROLSHR

Justice digitalization

Due to the COVID-19 context, measures have been implemented that may limit or even violate the free exercise of rights. Of special concern are those related to digital surveillance and the free mobilization of citizens. In Colombia, this is of special concern given the historical tradition of perpetuation of measures taken in state of exception. In dialogue with different institutions and CSOs it can be observed that while some indicators have overall improved (e.g. homicide rates), the public order situation has deteriorated during mandatory isolation measures in different regions of the country, presenting a critical situation regarding human rights due to the presence and actions of both legal and unlawful for exercising territorial control. This adds to the detrimental state of social rights as a result of insufficient capacities and resources to address the needs of people who sustain their livelihoods from the informal sector or whose economic activity is severely affected by the health emergency, such as the case of most victims of the armed conflict.

Paradoxically, this context can become the scenario that drives the implementation of digital justice, which can become an opportunity to speed up access to justice and information on victims' cases, but it also becomes a challenge. for the State because most of the victims do not have the technological resources that allow them to access these new technologies.

The declaration of the state of alarm for the health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the justice system to adapt to new technologies in order to avoid an avalanche of cases after the quarantine. A significant boost has been given to the need to intensify efforts for digital transformation in the courts, the use of the electronic court record and virtual oral hearings in trials. The emergency also seems to overcome the resistance of transformation, that slowed down modernization processes. The new judicial normality is showing us that both oral communication and digitization will survive and will be strengthened. Oral communication brings speed to trials while digitization allows continuity of service. The Court of Puerto Rico - Caquetá , serves as  a local benchmark intended for  replicability as this office has developed a digitalization system. Once the implementation of the program began in the Court, a notable improvement was seen in the provision of the Justice service; it facilitated the contact between the Judge and his collaborators. Therefore, the system is a useful tool for the justice administration. We foresee that promoting justice digitalization in general, but with a focus on local solutions, is an important path forward for UNDP.

In particular, Family Commissaries (local civil servants dealing with GBV and domestic violence) face great difficulties to avoid the escalation of violence in the family context and to provide protection to people at risk or victims. These offices do not have enough infrastructure to provide remote services, they face a lack of biosecurity equipment and do not have an information system that allows insight into the number of cases, monitoring and control. Furthermore, neither are integrated with an interdisciplinary team that provides psychosocial support. Finally, there is concern about addressing family violence in the context of dispersed rural areas, where it is difficult for the people to go to the municipality offices in search of a face-to-face attention. For all the above, it is necessary to combine institutional strategies and strengthen the Family Commissaries, who are the legally competent entities to deal with this type of violence.

Private sector and Human Rights

Considering that poverty and lack of protection gaps are exacerbated by COVID 19, the trends that can be observed related to Human Rights are the need to strengthen the response capacity of States and the effective enjoyment of rights. It is necessary to promote the creation of public-private alliances beyond the generation of businesses, investments or profits. It is mandatory to seek the reconstruction of the territories and their communities, and to advance in the reconstruction of the country. This stems from the requirement for basic needs and the effective enjoyment of all human rights. Moreover, it is essential to re-think the role of the private sector as a relevant social actor. In this manner, it is key that entrepreneurs also assume corporate and social responsibility as a cultural practice. Do not forget that the active and voluntary contribution to the social, economic and environmental improvement that companies make consequently contributes to the improvement of their competitive situation, their added value and their image.

Based on these trends, UNDP Colombia has been implementing actions aiming to strengthening national institutions with competences in human rights, Collective and territorial protection of ethnic groups and built on in civil society organizations. Therefore, there are some key allies in this process that may be identified.  These include offices such as the Ombudsman's Office, the Office of the Attorney General, the Ministry of the Interior, the Danish Institute for Human Rights, OHCHR, UN women and civil society organizations with work in social entrepreneurship, construction of peace, ethnic people and defense of human rights.

Transitional Justice

In addition to the elements highlighted on justice digitalization, other actions are needed to enhance victims' access to both transitional and ordinary justice, to guarantee the satisfaction of their rights with an articulated approach and a holistic vision. First, it is necessary to establish institutional spaces and mechanisms led by the National Government with the participation of the competent entities on the subject (encompassing ordinary justice entities, the newly created Integral System on Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Recurrence, and the previous transitional justice mechanisms such as the Victims Unit and the Centre for Historical Memory) to ensure effective articulation, setting up institutional and regulatory arrangements, and provide harmonized public policy responses for assistance and reparation of victims, and access to the different systems to satisfy their rights. In addition, a consultation mechanism with participation of civil society and victims’ organizations, could be important to voice the needs and concerns from the victims and encourage harmonization and regulatory adjustments.

Security and Justice integrated Answer

Security, Coexistence and Access to Justice are a fundamental issue of the new policy of Security that seeks to recover the legitimacy of the public and the trust between the State and Citizens. Consolidating the presence throughout the country and, in those territories where the absence of institutions and empty spaces for authority have persisted. Post-conflict transitions in other parts of the world have demonstrated the importance of taking early action beyond stabilization. There is a need in Colombia to build and maintain peace, strengthen democratic culture and institutions, particularly in those areas most affected by the armed conflict, and expand state presence and services to all communities to rebuild trust. Strategies for citizen security and coexistence in rural areas are especially urgent, as well as adapting justice and security approaches to the specific needs of the regions (for example, rural police, prevention and care of GBV, agrarian and related crimes land; early warning of human rights violations) and populations (that is, women, victims, indigenous and Afro-Colombian population).

2. Trends related to DDR, small arms and armed violence reduction

The DDR process in Colombia has had positive results regarding disarmament and demobilization of former FARC combatants. Set by a tripartite mechanism composed by the National Government, FARC and the UN Verification Mission, almost 9,000 weapons were handed-in for destruction, alongside tons of ammunition. The laydown of arms was certified by the United Nations in June 2017 and officially enabled the demobilization and transition to civilian life of almost 12,000 former FARC combatants. Nevertheless, as we moved forward into the reintegration phase of the peace process, security-related trends are showing an increase in armed violence (dissidents and illegal groups) that have been occupying former “FARC controlled” zones to rule illegal activities, especially related to drug trafficking and illegal mining. The Government is facing important challenges to take control of the former territories ruled by the FARC (mostly rural areas). Some of the national policies (included as part of the Peace Agreement) to restore democratic governance and the rule of law on those territories, such as the substitution of coca crops as well as special development plans, that currently are at weak capacity of implementation and outreach. This lack of state presence is fueling violence and increasing conflict amongst old and new armed groups. Violence is also being expressed in the lack of security guarantees for former combatants and social leaders, whose assassination and number of threats increase very year. This situation has been vocally expressed by the UN Verification Mission, OHCHR, other UN Agencies and especially the widespread international community and donors present in the country, joined by a strong civil society and human rights defenders.

In terms of trends, due to the strong institutional leadership held by the Colombian Government, DDR process are strongly marked by the current national administration in place. At present, the national government has a public policy approach based on stabilization and consolidation of peace, influenced by concepts such as “peace with legality”, to which some experts might analysis as more traditional-military approach to peacebuilding. Another example is the ongoing situation with the ELN, the last significant guerrilla group remaining in the country, to which there are no current signs of disposition to dialogue and peace conversations as the government has declared the group subjects of military action.

Laura Rivera

Hello/ Hola,

My name is Laura Rivera Marinero, I am the team leader of democratic governance team in El Salvador. A lot of food for thoughts in this virtual exchange.

Twenty-eight years after the signing of peace, the main commitment of UNDP in El Salvador continues to be peace building and conflict prevention. The epidemic of violence, which reached its peak in 2015 with a rate of 103.0 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, was reduced to 35.8 in 2019 and the rate of homicides affecting women last year was 6.5, yet levels of (gang) violence remain high and leading to cases of internal forced displacement and migration.

 Thus, the challenge remains to achieve sustainability in the reduction of violence with a comprehensive approach to citizen security and respect for human rights.  Now this setting has been exacerbated by COVID 19 .

UNDP El Salvador has been working in citizen security initiatives for more than 2 decades, through various initiatives aimed at ensuring that Salvadoran people can fully enjoy and fully exercise their freedoms and rights. We have worked in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of citizen security policies that incorporate elements of crime prevention, investigation and punishment, care and protection of victims, rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders and more recently we expressly have included gender violence as a citizen security challenge.

I want to share some of our main lessons in our practice of implementing citizen security initiatives:

  1. De-construct myths and transform institutional responses through evidence-based approach and continuous multi-actor dialogue
  2. Be a bridge between central and local government. This included the need to attend to the capacity of the State in its organization and operation. Work in the organization of the public administration it is a must.
  3. Long term view gives sustainability to programs. Evaluate interventions and adapt as needed.
  4. Address the challenges of resource mobilization and pursue international cooperation synergies.
  5. Parentship and dialogue with state and non-state actors, trying to identify policy orientation. (civil society, academy, private sector)
  6. Social cohesion it is a key element.
  7. Improve Internal communications within UNPD multilevel ( this space it is wonderful! Additionally chats, whatapps, yammers).
  8. It is important to have a good narrative of the wordk and work with media ( difficult task) ...
Ulrich Garms

Dear Colleagues,

I am Ulrich Garms, Programme Officer in the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

I would like to add some thoughts to the already very rich contributions that have been made by others, particularly Glaucia Boyer, Jan-Jilles van der Hoeven, Pierre Celestin Bengono and Kelly Low on the relationship between counter-terrorism and prevention of violent extremism and DDR, as well as on the joint efforts of UNDP, IOM, CTED and UNODC to support the Lake Chad Basin Commission and countries affected by Boko Haram in implementing the “Regional Strategy for the Screening, Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Boko Haram Associated Persons in the Lake Chad Basin Countries (RSPRR)”.

Glaucia has importantly highlighted the “more widespread acknowledgement that DDR support should not necessarily lead to impunity, creating opportunities to reassess trade-offs between peace and justice”, that compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law and principles is emphasized in the Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Standards (IDDRS)”; and that “DDR and transitional justice programmes are increasingly overlapping”.

Building on Kelly’s comments regarding the way human rights, justice and rights of victims are embedded in the UN’s counter-terrorism framework, I’d like to draw your attention to the so-called “Pillar I” of UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (GCTS), unanimously agreed by all UN Member States in a ground-breaking General Assembly resolution in 2006. The GCTS identifies “prolonged unresolved conflicts, dehumanization of victims of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, lack of the rule of law and violations of human rights” as “conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism”.

If the reintegration of fighters of groups such as ISIL/Daesh and Boko Haram and their families is to be sustainable following years of mass violence and human rights violations, and not to carry in it already the seeds of future violent extremism, support to reintegration needs to address the conditions conducive to terrorism and violent extremism. In my opinion, transitional justice approaches have a central role to play in this regard. Truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-recurrence are key concepts of transitional justice that need to be applied also in dealing with persons associated with groups such as ISIL/Daesh and Boko Haram.

Countries seeking to leave behind them years of conflict, including with terrorist groups, need the support of UN entities working closely together and with regional organizations, and willing to assist them with comprehensive approaches that bring together human rights, counter-terrorism, the prevention of violent extremism, SPRR, DDR processes, and transitional justice.

Zafar Gondal

Dear colleagues,

Below are my insights and inputs to the questions. 

1. UNDP’s Current thematic areas of focus are Political Engagement, Institution Building, Community Security, Access to Justice, Human Rights Systems, Transitional Justice, and Gender Justice. How should UNDP’s thematic focus areas evolve within the Rule of Law and Human Rights sphere? What needs to change? What are the trends and policy evolutions which inform your view?

All of the above areas remain super relevant and critical to our work and success.  However, I would suggest including and shift focus on legislative drafting that is critical for democratic development and justice, invest in human assets, judiciary processes and persons, free and impartial election, human rights institutions,  accountability institutions, the ecosystem for SMEs and innovation, environmental rule of law and nexus between public health and climate change. 

2. What trends related to the rule of law, security and human rights are you seeing in your current context and what trends do you see coming up on the horizon? What opportunities do you see for advancing the rule of law, security, and human rights over the next 5 years taking into account demands for integrity and transparency; climate justice, digital transformations, addressing inequality and insecurity/violence, and supporting risk-informed development?

The current justice institutions, justice products, and services are not meeting needs of the people. The majority are disfranchised. The institutions are serving and protecting interests of the few. There is huge demand and need for integrity and transparency; climate justice and rule of law, digital transformations, addressing inequality and insecurity/violence and supporting risk-informed development. protecting and promoting MSEs is essential for development. 

3. What trends related to DDR, small arms and armed violence reduction are you seeing? Do you think that these are being adequately addressed by the international community?

No. international community is under the influence of powerful lobbies and businesses. The sale of illegal small arms is going on. The FATF Recommendations are not being implemented. The state institutions and the rich countries are paying lip service to this and are not sincere to control small arms.  There is a need to reconsider the approach, policy ad strategy. 

4. Constitutions provide the overarching legal framework which sets out the basis of the social contract between a state and its people affecting all aspects of policy and society. What can we do better in our support to constitutional reform?

There is need to reform ad modernize the constitutions to ensure voice and representation of the vulnerable, neglected communities, clans, all segments of society, and even international. There is trend in the national constitutions ignoring the rights of the international citizens and the community. Some areas we need to include in the constitutions are the process of policymaking and consultations in drafting laws, impartial accountability institutions, environmental rule of law, NHRIs, judiciary and free legal aid, election institutions, security institutions, redressal of the administrative complaints and ensuring justice. UNDP is not focussing on administrative justice. 

5. What is the level and type of demands for justice, security, and human rights in your context? Are there specific areas of work you are seeing more or less of a need for?

There is a big demand and need for justice, administrative justice, community security, environmental rule of law,  and human rights. There is a need for a new social contract. The people's voices, inclusions in decision and policy-making, freedom of access to credible information for decision making, there is need for new products and services that meet needs of the people effectively timely and without incurring heavy costs. Justice is as important as health and education. The state must consider providing free of costs for all. This is a public common good for the nations and global. Without justice, security, and human rights, many of the SDGs will remain dreams.   legislative drafting, inclusive policy-making, impartial, representative, and competent judiciary and accountability are important areas for the future. 

6. How can the UN Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights and agenda for protection assist the rule of law, security and human rights at the national level?

The NHRIs are under the executive. these institutions have no capacity, are under-resourced and lack bite. These institutions are simply focussing on human rights violations and don't focus to address the root causes. The recommendations remain recommendations and don't become binding rules, so are quite ineffective. These have become a showpiece for the international community. The NHRIs and Ombuds institutions must be strong to reign the executive powers. However, I found these institutions weak every where-Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia.  Human rights protection at the national level is essential. Before that, we need to define, refine and agree on the fundamental human rights and then empower the Ombudsperson, NHRIs, and the judiciary to make executive respect, protect, and promote human rights including business. 


The biggest challenges we are facing now and in the future in advancing the rule of law are lack of government accountability and answerability, weak administrative justice, the capture of legislative (legislative drafting offices and parliaments) institutions by the rich elite, big businesses, and in many cases by the interest groups excluding masses and the vulnerable that is causing discontent in society, mistrust in public institutions, and even in the state. Second, there is corruption in the public and private sectors. There is an illicit flow of funds. the poor and vulnerable are at the losing end. The masses have no voice. in some countries, public institutions are there to protect the interests of the rich and the ruling class. One example is judiciaries. Judiciary, in theory, is the custodian of the rights of people. it is rather protecting the interests of the elite, powerful, and criminals. Third, state institutions lack capacity and are lethargic. These institutions have become a symbol of power. They should be at the service of people irrespective of the status of a person. Fourth, the exclusion of people from political power-sharing, decision making, and participation in policymaking. The masses are excluded from decision making, they are not consulted in the majority of developing countries. Similarly, in the international arena, there is a lack of equality among the state. the big purse wheel the power. the political participation and voices of all are important for confidence and trust in the state and her institutions. The election commission must be impartial, resourceful, representative, and competent. This is very critical for democratic development.    Fifth, lack of or weak ecosystem for entrepreneurs and SMEs. The promotion and protection of SMEs are essential for lifting the poor out of poverty.  The state must facilitate business and protect the SME's business. Also, the state must protect human rights violations or ignoring human rights by big corporations and businesses.  let us be since to ourselves, our fellows, and the globe. environmental rule of law is central to the rule of law, human rights, justice, peace, and security. Despite the Agenda 2030 priority,  we are not near to the environmental rule of law. In many cases, we are ignoring the principles and elements of environmental rule of law. 

Olena Ursu

Dear colleagues,

Thanks for this insightful discussion, and I am happy to see my colleagues have already contributed above. 

I just wanted to share more lessons learned and reflections which, we hope, might be of interest to some of you:

UNDP have successfully supported communities, national and local governments in reinforcing trust, creating dialogue opportunities, and strengthening a sense of participation especially by marginalised groups in the COVID-19 response which is an important ingredient of social cohesion and community resilience.

Social cohesion relies on the propensity and willingness of community members to trust each other and work together towards common goals. In Ukraine, the level of trust towards public institutions by the population was low prior to COVID-19, and the pandemic added further stress to this underlying situation, and diminished access to social, economic, civil and political rights. As a result, it affected the trust between citizens and in the authorities which in turn affect community resilience. This situation is true throughout Ukraine, and in particular there is an urgent need to transform the lives of those living in the conflict-affected areas and those in the rest of the country who similarly were out of school, out of work, offline and off the grid, even before the virus spread.

According to SCORE for eastern Ukraine, overall human security remains low (below 5 on a 0-10 scale). However, there were positive trends in 2019: political and economic security increased, which reflects the results of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections, which took place that year, as well as economic growth. Similar trends are likely to be observed at the national level.  High polarization and fragmentation of society and radicalization of political and societal fringes (by both external drivers and domestic political actors) remains however a problem. Finally, no change has been recorded over the perceived personal security in the conflict affected eastern regions of the country, which continues to be low.

The data shows that traditional gender norms (in terms of occupational segregation and division of responsibilities within the family) are supported by the majority of men and women. Social tolerance continues to be the lowest towards such groups as drug users and LGBTI. People who support traditional gender norms tend to have lower tolerance, greater normalization of domestic violence and civic pessimism.

UNDP programmes on political engagement, institution building, community security, access to justice, human rights and gender equality are instrumental in increasing this level if trust, especially at the subnational levels.

The delivery of administrative and other crucial social and legal aid services, as well as the mechanisms of public participation in the decision making processes, need to become more mobile and innovative and aimed at genuinely reaching out to women and men living along the “contact line” or crossing the line, as well as those living in remote rural communities in both Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. The programme already successfully piloted several similar solutions, including mobile administrative service centres, development of “Your Right” mobile app to provide online legal counselling to conflict-affected population, the establishment of legal aid offices at 2 entry-exit checkpoints in Donetsk Oblast, and provision of video-call equipment for CSWGs in target communities to include participants who live in remote areas, have limited mobility or who cannot otherwise be present.

At the same time, digital illiteracy among the local population might prevent them from benefiting from new digital/online services developed by the programme. UNDP will obtain reliable evidence of the scale of this problem, using robust large-scale surveys (AGORA, SCORE, and the Security and Justice Survey). The programme will be also investing additional resources in building the capacities of community members to actively utilise the available digital tools and mechanisms, as well as experimenting with new forms and methods of capacity building and the development of digital skills, especially among the most vulnerable (women facing multiple forms of discrimination, the elderly, and persons with disabilities). In this regard, UNDP work to support the implementation of a comprehensive digital transformation policy, including promotion of digital literacy, helps achieve better results in this area.

There is a persistent need to connect different development and  humanitarian initiatives, which can better contribute to durable solutions supporting the recovery, peace and reconciliation agenda in conflict-affected regions of Ukraine. Based on successful experience of 2019, the UN Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme will continue to organise joint activities with UNHCR, which focuses its programming in eastern Ukraine on strengthening IDPs rights and freedoms, livelihood support and community-based protection. In six pilot communities, both programmes will co-facilitate community-based dialogue building platforms and events (including through a UNDP-supported network of community security working groups and local peace activists), as well as the exchange of best practices for coherent advocacy, recovery and resilience at the local level.

Experience in, and exposure to, the court system tends to affect respondents’ perceptions of these institutions positively – court users have better opinions of justice institutions and trust the justice system more than the general population. This could indicate that the justice system functions better up close than it is perceived ‘from the outside’. UNDP will continue supporting the key justice institutions in their reform efforts to increase their transparency and the quality of communication with the general public.

The conflict and profound security, social, economic and political crisis has also resulted in deepening gender inequalities and discrimination, putting a key emphasis on men as protectors and heroes, and on women as caring supporters. The lack of adequate social support services has also brought an increased burden on women to shoulder the responsibility of ensuring the socio-economic well-being of families. Moreover, women are confronted with insufficient inclusion of their needs in the planning, analysis and budgeting of local public policies with regard to service delivery, community security, social cohesion, reconciliation, peacebuilding and others.

A COVID-19 related lesson learned regards the on-line format of meetings, learning sessions and even monitoring methodologies, which brought a side effect of saving some costs budgeted for travels and offline trainings, and allows to cover larger audience (geographically and structurally) and easily arrange thematic discussions with a wide number of stakeholders. Thus, the approach of remote mode for learning/discussions may be used in future activities even after the end of the lockdown.

Some external evaluation of UNDP Ukraine’s work on human rights reconfirmed that the Government and CSOs in Ukraine can form viable, dynamic and successful partnerships when the Government authorizes mechanisms and creates political “space” for cooperation with civil society. This is perhaps best exemplified by the successful expansion of the OO to the regional level.  Moreover, a more detailed, region-specific "institutional and context" analysis to inform regional-based programming and support the decentralization process going forward has benefited all stakeholders.

UNDP’s work to enhance institutional capacities of the Ombudsperson’s Office showcased great potential and further need for enhancing and strengthening the OO’s regional presence under the ‘Ombudsman Plus’-model from the perspective of (1) physical and at-distance accessibility of the institution, (2) cooperation with local civil society, including as liaison points with the community, that instils more trust and willingness to share, (3) enhancing effectiveness of the institution as a whole through locally gathered data, that are crucial in the context of conflict-related violations, gender inequalities and vulnerabilities, (4) raising awareness and trust on the institution among Ukrainian population.

Many of the complaints received by the Ombudsperson relate to social and economic rights, discrimination, access to information or malfunctions of government. To address them, the Ombudsperson relies on measures taken by other duty-bearers, in particular local authorities, to improve services and ensure fair treatment and effective access to justice for all. Nevertheless, while the Ombudsperson’s own role as a watchdog and accelerator for restoring human rights is crucial, at the same time sustainable changes can be achieved only if the recommendations lay down a foundation for the relevant changes. In this regard, strengthening capacities of the duty bearers especially at the local level, and an integration of HRBA and good administration principles into their work are the key preconditions for the sustainable human rights changes.

Since the beginning of the conflict in the east of Ukraine, the Ombudsperson’s Office has systematically promoted NHRIs’ role in conflict and post-conflict settings. Specifically, the Kyiv Declaration on the Role of National Human Rights Institutions in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations was adopted in October 2015. The Ombudsperson’s Office initiated hands-on implementation of the provisions of the Declaration, achieved agreement on relocation of prisoners from the non-Government controlled areas (NGCAs), fostered cooperation with her counterpart in the Russian Federation, and prioritized regular monitoring visits to areas near the ‘contact line’ to provide services and consultations to Ukrainian women and men living in NGCAs. As a result, a recent survey demonstrated an increased level of trust in the institution and its effectiveness.

I would like to thank my colleagues from UN RPP and Human Rights for Ukraine project team for providing their inputs to this collection of lessons learned.

Anton Tyshkovskiy, Ildar Gazizulin, Svitlana Kolyshko 

Svitlana Kolyshko

Dear colleagues, hello again from Kyiv, Ukraine. My name is Svitlana Kolyshko and I'm Project Coordinator (Human Rights Team Lead). Supporting thoughts that were shared by my colleagues already I'd like to add some my concerns and ideas as a lot of questions/ ideas/ thoughts/ challenges above in this conversation are very relevant to Ukrainian context and quite often we as well face them. 

  1. We as well quite often witness that lack of rule of law and good governance attention to the administrative sphere. Quite often the focus in the sphere of public administration loose human rights focus that can be strengthened. At the same time our researches and studies on human rights clearly identify that most of people quite rare have experience in criminal justice so they build their trust and attitude to the Government/judiciary/law enforcement system based on the experience of obtaining administrative/social services. So it’s quite important to promote HRBA and good governance in all spheres of UNDP interventions not only in our internal planning but making our partners aware and well informed. Our experience of cooperation with the NHRI proved that not only thematic training but involvement to our procurement, recruitment exercises as supervisors from the beneficiary influence the beneficiary’s policies, make them at least think of changes that can be introduced at the practical level without legislative changes.
  2. As another important observation regarding implementation of international commitments, UPR and UN treaty bodies recommendation we observe quite formal approach of the governmental partners. Development of relevant action plans/strategies became the formal exercise and a business as usual. And the key problem here is that relevant implementation documents remain at relatively low level of implementation with exception of those that are at the constant focus and advocacy of international community. To this end may be it worth to look deeply in planning of support in this sphere combining from the very beginning the whole proces of policy development and expert support to implementation, assessment of the progress. Again referring to our experience with the National Human Rights Strategy UNDP from the very first day of its adoption (in 2015) called the Government for development of the some clear M&E instrument as one can’t assess the progress and effectiveness of the interventions in the sphere. Only in 2020 after not so positive assessment of the Strategy implementation by CSOs conducted based on Human Rights Indicators we see the progress in the sphere and launching the discussion in this regard.
  3. Quite interesting and relatively new (at least for Ukraine) sphere of possible intervention is Human Rights for Business. And I cannot but agrees with my colleagues that this sphere opens a huge range of new opportunities for positive changes, partnerships. And again, I need to say BUT. In Ukraine there are quite positive step forward to engagement of the business to dialog on one hand and quite negative trend to put whole responsibly for human rights violations on the other. Definitely this goes from low level of human right awareness among public officials and quite normal desire to find some one to bear responsibility for human right protection and promotion in the country. At the same time this negative trend raises a question if there is a need of edition intervention/explanation to support establishing of this dialog with clear understanding of the roles of the Government and business ensuring that “and” won’t change to “vs”. And I believe that UNDP with experience and partnerships can play a key role here.
  4. Our experience of work in Ukraine proved that low level of human rights awareness require extensive and all-level interventions (school, high education, teachers, legal profession, public service) at the same time such approach is a long way with a number of challenges and structural changes. In this realm we piloted enhancing capacities of the media to promote human rights and tolerance. We do it through cooperation with journalism educational establishments and media (mostly local) as well through integration of HRBA to the educational courses on one hand and to daily routine of the acting media. Close work with media not only as a source to promote information but as partner to promote changes can also should be considered.
  5. Finally, I’d like to raise an issue regarding NHRI that can play a significant role and be our partners for human rights and rule of law promotion. At the same time our experience proved that NHRI with their mandate quite often are not taken as seriously as they should be by the national authorities. So I fully agree with my colleagues that this gap can be addressed and promoted by UNDP widely in course of our partnership with national authorities through engaging NHRI to and bringing NHRI position while development of policies/strategies/action plans/implementation of international commitments. I believe that NHRI can play significant role in conflict and post conflict regulations, in raising awareness of general public on human rights and public officials as well and many other spheres as well.
Tek Tamata

Thank you so much for sharing your experience on human rights and working with NHRIs. Regarding the work of the NHRIs during the conflict, let me also share few thing from our experience in Nepal. As you might be aware that Nepal is in post conflict situation. We have a decade long conflict in Nepal. There are thousands  of people killed and hundreds of disappeared. The issues of transitional justice is yet to be solved.

So far the experience of the NHRIs dealing with conflict induced issues is concerned, we have very good experience. The NHRIs Nepal has been very much proactive in addressing the issues through its continued monitoring of the situation, advocacy and necessary investigation as well as monitoring. There are about 7000 cases received by the commission during armed conflict. There are about 400 to 500 recommendations made in relation addressing conflict era human rights issues.

Besides the investigation and recommendations made on conflict era issues, the commission also has been playing a substantial role in policy reform. The Commission has been constantly asking the Government of Nepal to revise the current truth and reconciliation commission and also ensure certain level of independence of the commission. For relief and reparation as well, the commission has been activate in making local and province government accountable.  

The Commission has also been doing very good in terms of coordination with all the mechanisms established as transitional justice and conflict affected victims. In terms of empowerment of conflict affected victims as well, the commission continually works with them. At the meanwhile, support also provided to introduce and continue the coordination wit hall other agencies.

UNDP has been providing capacity support to the National human rights commission since 2002. During conflict, the support was mainly limited to monitoring and investigation. We provided support in developing all the guidelines, policies, SOPs and rules as well as regulations. The system for documentation and reporting were also established.



Bojana Balon

Dear colleagues,

thank you for initiating this discussion. Let me also quickly reflect on some of the good practices, and describe also some possible entry points for UNDP on SALW control.

I am Project Manager of UNDP’s SEESAC project, the Small Arms and Light Weapons Control project in South East Europe.

UNDP’s work though SEESAC in South East Europe (SEE) since 2002 has not only had an impact on SEE, but good practices and lessons learnt are successfully being replicated in other parts of the world. Most recently, SEESAC in partnership with Germany and France provided support to authorities in development of a Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of SALW and their ammunition in the Western Balkans by 2024, which was adopted by Heads of States and Governments of the Western Balkans London summit in 2018.

SEESAC not only provided the key support in development of the Roadmap, but is also responsible for overall coordination and monitoring of Roadmap implementation. Coordination is done though support for local coordination meetings twice per year, organised by SALW commissions, bringing together the national authorities, international organisations and donors supporting the Roadmap implementation. Coordination at the regional level is done though Regional Coordination meetings twice per year, organised by SEESAC, ensuring tracking of progress, identification of remaining gaps and coordination of efforts among all the stakeholders. Monitoring of progress is done though biannual narrative reports and detailed reports with statistical data on progress as per Key performance indicators submitted by SALW commissions to SEESAC, and inputs on projects implemented by international organisations.

The Roadmap and its coordination and monitoring mechanism have been praised by many, and efforts are underway to replicate the approach in other regions; UNDP though SEESAC in partnership with Small Arms and Light Weapons Commissions in the Western Balkans, Germany and France initiated a new trend.

The Caribbean, with support from Germany and UNLIREC, developed the SALW Control Roadmap following the model from the Western Balkans. Similar efforts are underway in Ukraine and West Africa.

Last week the EU Commission adopted the EU Firearms Action Plan as part of the new EU Security Strategy. As a major recognition to UNDP SEESAC’s work and the work done by the Western Balkans authorities, the EU fully integrated the WB Roadmap in the EU Action Plan. The EU not only embraced a policy developed by a region outside of the EU as part of the EU policy framework. It also stressed the importance of Western Balkans Roadmap monitoring framework which includes a detailed set of Key Performance Indicators and regular reporting on progress. The AP suggests that the EU member states use the same KPIs as the Western Balkans and report regularly on the implementation of EU Action Plan – the previous AP, namely, did not include any indicators. Please see Annex 4 of the Action Plan.

What are some of the elements of success?  To name just a few - There are no quick solutions. SEESAC has been supporting the governments in SEE in advancing SALW control since 2002 with a very strong and clear mandate. SEESAC was established as an initiative of the Governments in SEE and UNDP, combining the local ownership, political buy-in from the region and strong project implementation capacity. Longstanding support from donors – the EU has been supporting disarmament and arms control activities since 2002. Regional approach – facilitation of information exchange, knowledge sharing and development of joint solutions though regional cooperation platforms on strategic and operational levels – the SALW commissions in SEE; the South East Europe Firearms Experts Network; the arms export licencing authorities. Strong in-house technical expertise. Comprehensive approach to SALW control – from data collection, support for policy development and legislation, to awareness raising, physical security and stockpile management, enhancing capacities for detection and investigations of illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of firearms working closely with a wide set of stakeholders, from ballistic labs, police services, customs to prosecutors and judiciary.

I wish you all a relaxing weekend,



Kenta Inagaki

Dear colleagues,

Thanks so much for wonderful discussion in the past 5 weeks! I’ve been a moderator of the discussion room 1, but before the consultation comes to an end today, please allow me pose one question.

This week, I had the opportunity to attend the UN’s Open-ended intergovernmental expert group to conduct a comprehensive study of the problem of cybercrime as an observer and to listen to the discussions among Member States.

Although I prosecuted cybercrimes when I was a prosecutor, I am not an expert on cyber issues and this was my first time to attend a UN meetings on cyber issue. This meeting gave me a better understanding of the UN's cybersecurity and cybercrime discussions. At the same time, one question arose: does the UNDP's "security" portfolio include cybersecurity? If not for now, should it be covered in the future?

In the wake of pandemics, digital transformation is rapidly advancing in all areas of society. But are these information technologies really secure and can people really trust them? Ensuring the security of cyberspace is essential if people are to fully benefit from digital technology. I believe that the need for cybersecurity capacity-building will increase in the coming years. So, what should the UNDP's position and strategy on cybersecurity be? I am very interested in knowing what support UNDP country offices are currently providing and what kind of needs countries have in this area.

I am just beginning to think about this issue. Cybersecurity needs to be discussed in more depth in the context of UNDP's Digital Strategy. I look forward to contributing to developing this area in UNDP.

Best regards,

Alisher Karimov

Dear colleagues, greetings from Tajikistan. I am Alisher Karimov, UNDP Team Leader/ Governance. Let me also share some of the points on the future of the rule of law, human rights and security.

As you all well know, there is clear evidence that ineffective justice system cannot protect citizens and that they allow crime and violence to prevail, encourage corrupt practices, and hamper social and economic development. They are thus unable to protect citizens’ basic rights to safety and security. In the same vein, justice systems with well-planned strategies are not only better at preventing crime and victimization, but also promote community safety and contribute to sustainable development of countries. Seen in this perspective a future global goal may plausibly seek to pair justice and safety as equally important and possibly inseparable objectives.

There is an obvious link between development and justice, that threats to development stemming from organized violence, conflict, and fragility, cannot be resolved by short-term or partial solutions without legitimate institutions that provide all citizens equal access to security, justice, and jobs. As such, efforts to strengthen justice systems, manage and reduce vulnerabilities, and legally empower the poor, are not only crucial for dealing with crime effectively, but are also key for national development planning and policy.

Hence, addressing Security and the Rule of Law requires a systemic and integrated approach, based on the engagement of all concerned parties, i.e. governments, civil society and private sector. All have key roles to play whether in developing and enforcing regulatory frameworks, preventing crime or raising social awareness. A systemic approach is required because of the interlinkages with major risks such as corruption, weak institutions and civil servants capacity, or economic disparities which contribute to and are exacerbated by a lack of security and the rule of law.

So, for the future of rule of law and security sectors, UNDP shall focus on the following building blocks:

  1. Target a true separation of powers with a great focus on justice sector, i.e. judiciary. A separate focus shall be also made on crime prevention and criminal justice targeting police trough serious reforms and prosecutors office
  2. Accelerate the support to digital transformation of the justice sector along with innovative solutions for bringing justice closer to those who are in need, i.e. vulnerable group of people
  3. Legislative reform to ensure high international standards are in place and enforcement of sustainable state funded legal aid for poor and marginalized
  4. Capacity building of different actors (judges, police, prosecutors, legal aid providers etc.) to ensure security through justice
  5. Youth legal education, empowerment and engagement through innovative initiatives
  6. Partnership with media to create an open platform for dialogue to constructively discuss rule of law, human rights and security matters
  7. A great input has to be made on evidence based policy making, i.e. UNDP has to invest in number of strong analyses, studies and serveys in RoL, HR and security sectors to build a knowledge hub which can be shared with other COs and countries asking for certain support in mentioned areas.  
  8. The issue of corruption embedded to every aspect of RoL, HR and security sector is not a novel, hence not intensifying the issue of lack of transparency and accountability across state institutions will continue fragility and weak institutions.