[Dateline: New York | Author: EOSG]
On 20 April, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro opened the conference on Enhancing Global Rule of Law Assistance at the UN in New York.
The two-day conference, organized by the United Nations Rule of Law Unit in cooperation with the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID), brought together over 70 rule of law assistance providers, including representatives from bilateral donors, regional and multilateral organizations, private foundations, non-governmental organizations, as well as national leaders and United Nations officials from the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group, consisting of nine lead rule of law entities in the system:
Department of Political Affairs (DPA), Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Office of Legal Affairs (OLA), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF), UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The conference was part of the UN's efforts to bring a more strategic approach to improving donor coordination and coherence in the field of global rule of law assistance.
In the Secretary-General's report "Strengthening and coordinating United Nations rule of law activities" (A/63/226), the Secretary-General recommended to donors in the rule of law field to work towards greater coherence among multilateral and bilateral assistance providers "by fostering consensus on assistance policies, applying the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness to rule of law assistance and establishing donor coordination structures to support coherent and well-resourced rule of law efforts."
Opening the conference, the Deputy Secretary-General noted that the UN is only one among many rule of law assistance providers, which include a wide range of international, governmental and non-governmental actors. This diversity has resulted in a crowded field of assistance where a lack of strategic cooperation and coherence can produce duplication, and wasted effort and money.
She explained that successful rule of law assistance requires strategic planning, partnership and national ownership, all of which must be developed through increased policy coherence and coordination among assistance providers.
Keynote addresses were given at the conference by Supreme Court Justice Baha from Afghanistan, Ambassador Amina Mohamed, Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Justice in Kenya and Ambassador Hilario Davide, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations and former Chief Justice of the Philippines, enabling participants to explore examples of donor coherence and coordination in rule of law assistance in Afghanistan, Kenya and the Philippines.
In working groups, participants discussed challenges in policy coherence, modalities of engagement, professionalization of the rule of law field, and research on and measurement of assistance impact. The conference was designed to explore concrete ways and means of increasing harmonization in the context of the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness.
Ambassador Frank Majoor, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations, facilitated the final session of the conference, during which considerations of the way forward were discussed.
Participants concluded that a follow-up process is needed to reach consensus on donor and assistance policy and strategic frameworks, and advance donor cooperation in the field of rule of law assistance.
"The United Nations will continue to support collaborative efforts that bring together recipients of assistance with assistance providers to work towards greater national ownership, more coherence in rule of law approaches and improved effectiveness of assistance", said Jamal Benomar, Director of the United Nations Rule of Law Unit.
The conference closed with concluding remarks by Sir John Sawers, United Kingdom Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations and H.E. Mr. Heraldo Muñoz, Permanent Representative of Chile to the United Nations and Chairman of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission.