Strategic planning, partnership and national ownership are the cornerstones to bolstering respect for the rule of law in countries that require assistance in their justice sector, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said today.
The multitude of organizations, including United Nations agencies, working to promote the rule of law has resulted in a “crowded field,” resulting in the lack of strategic planning, duplication and wasted resources, Ms. Migiro said.
Speaking at the start of a conference on “Enhancing Global Rule of Law Assistance,” she pointed to the example of one country she left unnamed, which is home to 10 million people and has fewer than 500 judges, and has been the subject of over 50 assessment reports on its justice system carried out by nearly two dozen donors.
“Efforts to strengthen the legal framework, police, prisons and judicial systems were modelled on those donors’ own approaches rather than the country’s specific needs,” Ms. Migiro said, adding that not surprisingly, many years of assistance have not produced much improvement in that nation.
The UN has embarked on a path to bring a more strategic approach to improving the respect for the rule of law, which has improved the impact of the world body’s assistance, she noted.
“We are, however, well aware that our efforts to strengthen UN coherence will make a difference only if they are part of a larger effort by the international community,” she said, reiterating a call by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for nations to reach consensus on assistance policies.
“The international community needs to commit to a comprehensive effort to empower national stakeholders and help them develop their own vision, agenda and approaches to rule of law reform and programmes,” Ms. Migiro said.
Also today, she highlighted the necessity of linking gender issues to disaster risk reduction, given that women – representing 70 per cent of the world’s poor – bearing a disproportionate share of suffering inflicted by natural disasters.
In remarks to the International Conference on Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction in Beijing, the Deputy-Secretary-General appealed for a wide-ranging partnership that brings together governments, civil society groups, international organizations and the private sector.
“You are ready to join hands with others to achieve things you could not possibly accomplish alone,” she said in an address delivered by Margareta Wahlström, Assistant Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction.