Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General, briefed the Board on a major advance on the issue of the rule of law. At the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the rule of law at the national and international levels, held on 24 September 2012, Member States unanimously adopted a Declaration which proclaimed that all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to just, fair and equitable laws and are entitled without any discrimination, to equal protection of the law. The text further reaffirmed that the rule of law was upholding respect for human rights, as well as peace and security, and sustainable development.
In the ensuing discussion, CEB members concurred that a strong link existed between the rule of law and the sustainable development agenda and that the rule of law was critical for achieving human security. Many CEB members pointed to existing normative frameworks that provided the mandate and guidance for their organizations’ work, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. One member even indicated that its organization’s constitution made an explicit reference to the rule of law. United Nations system organizations were already actively engaged in supporting Member States in the implementation of the rule of law, including in areas of crime prevention and criminal justice, environmental law, the right to education, freedom of expression and safety of journalists, the right to scientific progress, the protection of cultural and natural heritage, the fight against illicit import, export and trafficking of cultural property, urban planning, and access to health services. Women’s access to justice was seen as a priority area and gender needed to be systematically mainstreamed into all aspects of work on the rule of law. Members also stressed the importance of the issue of enforcement of laws at the international level. The Chair of HLCP conveyed to CEB the Committee’s strong support for including the issue of the rule of law in its rolling agenda and contributing to efforts towards seeking coherence and coordination among United Nations system organizations regarding the rule of law. Regarding the integration of the rule of law in the post-2015 development agenda, CEB members favoured the mainstreaming of rule of law indicators across a number of goals or targets in the post-2015 development agenda.
The Board thanked the Deputy Secretary-General for his briefing. It welcomed an initiative to enhance coherence and coordination among United Nations system organizations on the rule of law and supported the integration of the rule of law in the post-2015 development agenda. The Board requested HLCP to take up this issue at its twenty-fifth session.