The United Nations engages in wide ranging work in the rule of law area, including: the drafting of constitutions and legislative reform; the strengthening of institutions, including in the areas of policing, justice and corrections; and the provision of support to transitional justice processes. Given that the tasks are so broad, there has been a growing need to ensure a coordinated and coherent approach to the work of the United Nations.
In September 2012, the Secretary-General provided a new direction for the collective efforts of the United Nations system and created a new three-tier system to strengthen the Organization’s ability to deliver activities related to the rule of law at the field level, at the Headquarters (operational support) level and at the Senior Executive level.
At the field level, the power of United Nations field leadership has been enhanced. Leaders in the field are now responsible and accountable for guiding and overseeing United Nations rule of law strategies, resolving political obstacles and coordinating United Nations country support on the rule of law. While responsibility for programme implementation is left firmly in the hands of the different United Nations entities, in order to maximize the benefits arising from their comparative advantage, these entities are also required to cooperate with field leadership.
The Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections Areas in the Rule of Law in Post-conflict and other Crisis Situations
At the Headquarters level, the Secretary-General appointed the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to lead the Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections Areas in the Rule of Law in Post-conflict and other Crisis Situations.
The idea behind the Global Focal Point arrangement (GFP) is to strengthen the United Nations’ ability to fill critical civilian capacity gaps in the aftermath of conflict, facilitate collaborative work from the early planning phase onwards, leverage resources, draw on external assets and avoid duplication of efforts. It provides technical assistance, knowledge, people and advice on assessments, planning, funding and partnerships. DPKO and UNDP are responsible and accountable for responding to country-level requests, channelled through United Nations entities on the ground, with timely and quality police, justice and corrections assistance. This includes facilitating access to global knowledge and people, as well as providing advice on assessments, planning, funding and partnerships. The implementation of the GFP has involved co-location of staff, not only from DPKO and UNDP, but also from Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and UN Women.
The Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group
At the Senior Executive level, the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group (RoLCRG), which is chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General, has the overall leadership role for the rule of law. It ensures that the United Nations is able to foresee new opportunities and address new challenges. The Group takes into account the emergence of new realities and actors in the field of the rule of law and provides guidance to ensure overall coordination and coherence in the Organization’s support to Member States. With strengthened leadership and new institutional arrangements in place, the Organization is better placed to address the challenges faced in strengthening the rule of law.
To respond to the interest of encompassing within the framework of the rule of law a broader range of UN activities, the membership of the RoLCRG now includes 20 entities with important normative components in their mandates (DESA, DPA, DPKO, OCHA, OHCHR, OLA,OSRSG for Children and Armed Conflict, OSRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict, PBSO, UNDEF, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UN-Habitat,UNHCR, UNICEF, UNODC, UNOPS, UN Women, World Bank).