|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Rule-of-law Work Demands Holistic Approach Linking Justice, Security, Development,
Says Deputy Secretary-General in Security Council Debate
Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson’s remarks to the Security Council on the effectiveness of the United Nations system’s support for the promotion of the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict situations, in New York on 30 January:
I thank the Security Council for its consideration of the effectiveness of the United Nations support to the promotion of the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict situations.
In January last year, the Council requested the Secretary-General to submit a report on this subject. Since that request, we have been working hard to improve our institutional arrangements in order to maximize the impact of our work on the ground. Today, I will provide an interim briefing on our efforts. We will report fully to the Council in June, once we have assessed the results of our efforts.
The General Assembly’s historic High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law last September recognized the Security Council’s positive contributions in this field. 18 of 23 Security Council missions contained rule-of-law activities.
The General Assembly meeting’s Declaration also emphasized that the rule of law provides keys to conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and peacebuilding. Indeed, delivering justice and security through the rule of law mitigates conflict and helps reduce the risk of relapse into further conflict. The Declaration also requested the Secretary-General to ensure greater coordination among United Nations entities and with Member States in order to improve the effectiveness of our rule-of-law efforts.
In his 2011 report to the Council, the Secretary-General acknowledged the need for stronger policy coherence to achieve real changes on the ground. At that time, roles and responsibilities were not clearly delineated and there was no single lead guiding the United Nations system in this work. After internal consultations, the Secretary-General made a decision in September to realign our institutional response to the challenges we face in supporting the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict situations.
At the field level, the Secretary-General enhanced the United Nations field leadership, making them responsible and accountable for guiding United Nations rule-of-law strategies, addressing local challenges, and coordinating United Nations country support on the rule of law. At the same time, United Nations agencies in the field continue to be responsible for carrying out programmes in their respective areas of expertise.
At Headquarters, the Secretary-General designated the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as the joint global focal point for the police, justice and corrections areas in post-conflict and other crisis situations, to support field leadership in carrying out their responsibilities. The aim is to link all relevant United Nations entities and coordinate our support to the field.
At the strategic level, the Secretary-General strengthened the role of the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group, which I have the honour to chair. This Group aims to ensure that the United Nations can foresee and address emerging opportunities and mobilize our partners in response. We plan, later this year, to assess the impact of these institutional arrangements. I have confidence that they are appropriate and useful.
At the same time, we have to acknowledge that evaluating the impact of our work is not easy. This is especially true in environments where it can take a long time to see real change and the effects of our actions. Justice- and security-sector reform, for instance, may not be linear; in some cases progress can be very uneven. Rule-of-law work demands a holistic approach which links justice, security and development and which aims to reach vulnerable groups. All these processes are difficult to measure.
While there has been significant progress in measuring impact in many sectors, rule-of-law measures continue to lack the benefit of systematically collected and analysed information with which to measure the impact. Even where we can measure tangible progress, it is difficult to attribute it to a particular entity’s assistance. We need baseline data to understand the context, define the objectives and measure progress. All rule-of-law initiatives should, in my view, be subjected to such analysis. We are working hard to ensure that this happens.
I want to give you some examples. In Malawi, information from the United Nations Development Programme-supported justice baseline study was used to shape the Government’s Democratic Governance Reform Strategy. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNDP-led public surveys have played a role in the development of a National Transitional Justice Strategy.
Improved availability and quality of national rule-of-law data would assist us in evaluating the impact of our work. Such data supports national policymaking and enables an informed public to hold Governments accountable — very important, in my view. Data-gathering should, however, clearly not be seen as an exercise in ranking countries. It is rather a tool for Governments to set their own priorities and, where needed, galvanize international support. National ownership is an important aspect of the work of the rule of law.
I urge Governments to make, or I encourage Governments to make, pledges to support these data collection efforts in conflict and post-conflict States. Such pledges could build on those made at the General Assembly High-level Meeting on 24 September, which generated more than 400 pledges to strengthen the rule of law. This is a very encouraging sign of the interest taken in this increasing new momentum on rule of law. Better data will help us better plan and better prioritize, so that we can optimize resources, carry out more accurate assessments and mitigate risks.
The United Nations has developed a number of tools to help States advance the rule of law. Let me again give you some concrete examples. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have developed the United Nations Rule of Law Indicators Project. This allows Governments to gather information on law enforcement, the justice and prison system, and measures transformation also over time. This tool is being used by the Governments of Haiti, Liberia and South Sudan. Next year, UNDP will publish a “User’s Guide to Measuring Rule of Law, Justice and Security Programmes”.
As we continue to enhance our ability to measure the impact of the United Nations work, there is evidence that our common efforts are indeed delivering results. Here in the Security Council, I am gratified to note that, in Côte d’Ivoire, the United Nations peacekeeping operation has supported the Ministry of Justice in reopening 17 courts and 22 prisons, a very concrete and substantial result. In Haiti, our Mission, MINUSTAH, has supported the start-up of 18 legal aid offices. In Serbia, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees worked with the Government and local non-governmental organizations to help prevent marginalized individuals from becoming stateless, providing more than 20,000 Roma with official documents. More than 250 persons have been indicted by the ad hoc international criminal tribunals for war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide, and more than 120 convicted to date. These initiatives have shown results in helping to deliver justice and setting societies on course for lasting stability.
In closing, let me reaffirm that there can be no peace without development, no development without peace, and neither without full respect for human rights and the rule of law. The focus of the Security Council on the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict situations underlines and strengthens this important relationship. I deeply, together with the Secretary-General, appreciate the Council’s in-depth consideration of the rule of law and look forward to your continued engagement.
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