/ Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group /
Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group
Seminar organized by the RoLCRG and the Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN.
Under the ultimate authority and direction of the Secretary-General, responsibility since 2007 for the overall coordination and coherence of rule of law within the United Nations system rests with the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group. The Group is chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General and supported by its secretariat, the Rule of Law Unit. Members of the Group are the principals of the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The Group serves an important coordination function, while the operational role remains squarely with the individual UN entities.
The Secretary-General informed the General Assembly of his decision to create the Group in his 2006 report “Uniting our strengths: Enhancing United Nations support for the rule of law”. The system-wide arrangement laid out in the report includes a system of non-exclusive lead entities for various rule of law sub-sectors. Lead entities bear the responsibility for the coordination and facilitation of efforts in their respective sub-sectors of the rule of law.
The General Assembly has expressed full support for the overall coordination and coherence role of the Group, under the leadership of its Chair, the Deputy Secretary-General, and supported by the Rule of Law Unit in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General (A/RES/65/32, A/RES/63/128, A/RES/64/116).
The Group’s role is to ensure coherence and minimize fragmentation across all thematic rule of law areas, including justice, security, prison and penal reform, legal reform, constitution-making, and transitional justice. The mission of its members is to work together and in support of one another, in the spirit of shared values and principles, to ensure effective and coherent UN rule of law efforts that are aligned with the aspirations of partners at the national and international levels.
The specific tasks of the Group include: assisting in the development of overall strategies for rule of law assistance; providing policy direction by the preparation of policy papers, in conjunction with relevant lead entities; maintaining a clearing house of information about who in the UN provides what rule of law assistance, as an information resource for those inside and outside the United Nations; helping to ensure the Organization’s effective and coherent responses to requests from States for assistance, in close collaboration with lead entities; facilitating contact between United Nations actors involved in rule of law programming and Member States, regional and intergovernmental organizations, donors and non-governmental organizations; and acting as a resource for the Peacebuilding Commission and Peacebuilding Support Office.
The Group has agreed on a Joint Strategic Plan for 2009-2011 and has to date developed Guidance Notes of the Secretary General on: United Nations Approach to Rule of Law Assistance; United Nations Approach to Justice for Children; United Nations Assistance to Constitution-making Processes; United Nations Approach to Transitional Justice; United Nations and Statelessness; and UN Approach to Assistance for Strengthening the Rule of Law at an International Level.