Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group

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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 Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) , the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) , the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) , the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) , the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) , the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) , the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (OSRSG for Children and Armed Conflict) , the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (OSRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict), the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) , the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) , the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) , the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) , the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) , the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) , the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) , the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) , the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)  and the World Bank (World Bank) . The Group serves an important coordination function, while the operational role remains squarely with the individual UN entities.



In September 2012 the Secretary-General provided a new direction for the collective efforts of the United Nations system in the rule of law.   He 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 strategic 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, however, in order to maximize the benefits arising from their comparative advantage, these entities are also required to cooperate with senior field leadership.


At the Headquarters level, the Secretary-General designated the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as the joint global focal point for the police, justice and corrections areas in the rule of law in post-conflict and other crisis situations. In this capacity, the Department and UNDP will support field leaders in carrying out their new responsibilities, which now include linking up with all relevant United Nations entities in order to provide coordinated support to the field. The Global Focal Point maintains a field driven focus on improving United Nations support in post-conflict and other crisis situations.


At the strategic level, the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group, chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General, which was originally created in the 2006 Report of the Secretary-General “Uniting our strengths: Enhancing United Nations support for the rule of law” , has been given the overall leadership role for the rule of law.   It ensures that the United Nations is able to foresee new opportunities, address new challenges and develop linkages with a broad range of stakeholders. The revised terms of reference of the Group take into account the emergence of new realities and actors in the field of the rule of law, a more strategic approach to policy and external relations and a flexible approach to coordination.


Early in 2013, the executive heads of the entities that comprise the Group met to articulate a vision and priorities for the Group that will be developed into a United Nations strategy on the rule of law. In 2013 membership was expanded further to include other members of the United Nations family with a rule of law mandate.