It is a pleasure and an honour to be invited to this event by the World Bank, I very much appreciate this opportunity to explore closer United Nations and World Bank collaboration on the rule of law.
The rule of law is the bedrock upon which the United Nations is built. It is fundamental to international peace and security. It is also a key to development and human rights, the other two pillars of the UN agenda.
This was reaffirmed by last September’s High-level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on the Rule of Law, and the substantial Declaration adopted by United Nations Member States on that occasion. The Declaration reaffirms that the rule of law is vital to peace and security, and that the rule of law and development and human rights are strongly interrelated and mutually reinforcing.
The rule of law provides keys to conflict prevention, peace-keeping, and peace-building. Strong institutions access to justice build the trust which is necessary for economic development. It also reduces fragility and the risk of relapse into conflict.
The rule of law is also essential for inclusive economic growth and sustainable development. It provides legal systems which foster economic development by increasing contractual security, reducing corruption, and allowing for transparent resolution of disputes.
Further, the rule of law enhances personal security and good governance. It widens access to public services and improves management of the environment and natural resources. It fosters norms and institutions, central to effective governance. In my experience, well functioning and accessible institutions, are core drivers of development.
It is also important that the rule of law and its interrelationship with development forms part of the post-2015 development agenda. Here the United Nations and the World Bank have common interests, bringing different strengths to the table. By cooperating, the World Bank and the United Nations can leverage these strengths in our cooperation with governments.
I know that the World Bank has extensive experience in strengthening rule of law institutions. And the United Nations brings a rich experience in conflict-affected and post-conflict situations, managing political dialogue with governments and supporting capacity-building through peacebuilding.
The World Bank has indispensable knowledge of the relevant economic framework and has the know-how in supporting institutional capacity and appropriate budget allocation. Effective public expenditure and financial management systems can underpin the success or failure of institutions.
The United Nations works to strengthen institutions and national capacity in line with international norms and standards. The World Bank’s experience in legal and judicial reform is a natural complement. The United Nations-World Bank Trust Fund financed by Switzerland and Norway is an example of the cooperation in the field between our two entities.
Let me also here mention the security sector public expenditure review undertaken jointly in Liberia by the World Bank and the United Nations Mission. The review will assist the government in prioritizing security needs when resources are limited. The end goal is a sustainable system that is more inclusive and more accessible for all Liberians.
At the level of country teams, much collaborative work is in progress – from discussions on justice sector support in Afghanistan to citizen security in Central America.
I was very glad that Anne Marie Leroy of the World Bank was also able to join us at the recent Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group retreat outside New York. The Group, which I chair, has overall strategic responsibility for guiding United Nations support to the rule of law and could be a useful tool for all of us.
Apart from the country-level, the World Bank and the United Nations should also work together at the strategic level.
Our rule of law joint or complimentary efforts is another step in the direction of a UN / World Bank cooperation growing not only in quantity but also in depth and quality. What should drive us is the conviction that this cooperation in the end will make a huge, positive difference in the lives of many millions of people around the world.