14 Apr 2015
Your Excellency Attorney-General of the State of Qatar, Dr. Al Marri,
Executive Director Mr. Fedotov,
Assistant Secretary-Generals Mr. Titov and Mr. Šimonović,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Allow me to express my gratitude to the State of Qatar for their generous and warm hospitality and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime for organising, within the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, this Special Event about UN rule of law assistance in conflict- and post-conflict settings.
The rule of law is critical to advance peace, to uphold human rights, and to foster sustainable development. The rule of law underpins economic development, helps to build resilience and consolidate peace. It also plays a critical role in preventing war and conflict from breaking out in the first place. In this torn world, this is no meagre issue.
The rule of law is fundamental to the quality of people’s lives and for the success of national development efforts:
Where laws protect women from violence and discrimination, their lives are immeasurably improved, providing a basis for their full social and economic empowerment. Where ordinary citizens know their rights and are able to seek and obtain justice, there is less discrimination and there are fewer human rights violations. Where local communities are free from the debilitating fear of violence or intimidation, inclusive and sustainable economic development can begin to take hold.
Thus, the rule of law is at the very heart of what is needed for development efforts to be effective. Conversely, shortcomings in the rule of law underlie the exclusion, discrimination, insecurity and poverty of many people. Especially the poorest and most vulnerable need to be able to secure their rights, access protection, and participate in decision-making affecting their communities.
UNDP works in 144 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion; including by enhancing justice and security systems and strengthening responsive and democratic governance systems based on the rule of law.
The rule of law is a key driver of inclusive, equitable, and sustainable development: it helps secure property and tenure rights; enables contracts to be enforced; and should allow disputes to be settled in a swift and impartial manner.
The rule of law also supports the transparent and accountable management of natural resources, which has so often been associated with political instability and conflict.
As highlighted by HE the Attorney-General and my distinguished senior colleagues, the needs are great and working together is a must. UNDP is committed to delivering our responsibilities together with other rule of law entities through the new global focal point arrangement, in joint leadership with DPKO and alongside UNDOC and OHCHR.
Even with its cumbersome name, the objective of the GFP is simple: good laws, fair justice, effective police and humane corrections. Our joined up efforts, uniting the different pillars of the UN, have proven particularly helpful in countries where Security Council-mandated missions are being established and where they are in transition:
In the cases of Somalia, the Central African Republic and Mali, the GFP was instrumental in ensuring from the start a UN-wide strategy, a fully integrated team and a common source of funding. We are striving to increase our overall impact rather than pursue narrow and isolated projectised approaches.
By the same token, proper mission transition planning is currently underway in Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire and Haiti.
UNDP is committed to playing its part and we look forward to a strategic partnership with the State of Qatar towards an enhanced cooperation with countries from the Global South, where citizens suffer and we can together offer solace and support.