[New York | Author: Rule of Law Unit, Executive Office of the Secretary-General]
A new website and document repository was launched this week to address the fact that, until now, the UN System has lacked common resources and databases on the rule of law that connect the various parts of the UN System and make the Organization’s work and knowledge accessible to Member States, other partners and the public.
The new promotional and educational tool for practitioners and the general public, called United Nations Rule of Law Web Site and Document Repository, was developed by the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group and the Rule of Law Unit. The Group is tasked to act as a repository for the Organization’s rule of law materials and best practices, and to establish and manage web resources on rule of law.
The new repository seeks to inform users about the UN’s work in the field of rule of law, and its efforts to coordinate and strengthen system-wide approaches in this field.
It is the central UN rule of law web-based resource, serving as a gateway to the rest of the UN’s related sites, and making more widely accessible information about UN rule of law issues and activities and the various tools, documents and materials on the subject.
The web site is also an avenue for users to access other web resources on or related to rule of law, developed by the UN or external organizations.
Development of the website
Key to the successful completion of the web site was agreement by the Principals of the Group to a clear and thorough concept for the web resource.
The technical development kicked off in November 2008 with the hiring of an external consultant for the design and technical work of the web site.
Throughout the process, the members of the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group provided extensive input. The Unit also organized focus group meetings with a mixed composition of UN, Member States and external representatives to identify a user-friendly design and site-map.
Important considerations in the web site development were achieving full conformity with UN accessibility guidelines, and making the web site accessible to the field by ensuring easy readability with limited bandwidth and old internet browsers.
The website was launched by the Chef de Cabinet, Mr. Vijay Nambiar, who opened a lunch-time panel on Tuesday, 17 November called "Linking up the rule of law community."
The event was organized by the Rule of Law Unit, Executive Office of the Secretary-General, together with the Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations and took place in the Delegates Dining Room.
In his opening remarks, the Chef de Cabinet noted that the UN is part of a large, diverse and vibrant community of stakeholders striving to enhance the rule of law. The work of the UN has expanded rapidly in the rule of law field, with some 40 entities across the system engaged in rule of law activities at the international level, and in over 120 countries and in all regions of the globe.
During the lunch panel, the Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations, Jarmo Viinanen, who chaired the event, expressed thanks to the Rule of Law Coordination Group and Rule of Law Unit for developing the web site and document repository.
Patricia O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, UN Legal Counsel, said that ensuring elaboration, implementation of and compliance with international law is crucial to the work of the Organization, and that the rule of law plays a central role in issues such as the responsibility to protect.
Jordan Ryan, Assistant Administrator, Director of the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, UNDP noted that knowledge sharing on rule of law was imperative for engaging those working in the field, “to add to the collective value of individual efforts” in this area.
Dan Rohrmann, Deputy Director of Programmes, UNICEF stated that children are the primary victims of war, gender-based violence and trafficking, and that the development of the Guidance Note of the Secretary-General on Justice for Children, by the Group, has helped to make progress in recognizing children as fully-fledged stakeholders in rule of law programming.
About the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group
Chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General and supported by the Rule of Law Unit, the Group’s membership includes the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).