Exemplary Inter-Agency Cooperation: Applying gender-sensitive approaches to strengthen the Rule of Law (RoL) in Balochistan

28 November 2022, Islamabad - In the area of rule of law, the UN is rebuilding public confidence in the formal justice and security sectors through reform and development at policy, management, outreach and accountability levels, with special focus on gender-responsive programming through a EU-funded Rule of Law (RoL) programme (2021-2025). These efforts are co-implemented by a strong inter-agency cooperation of the UNODC, UN Women and UNDP.

Under the Inter-Agency Gender and Development Group (INGAD) a two-day gathering was organized on November 23-24, 2022, on the theme of governance, with emphasis on access to justice and rule of law. The agenda set in motion this year’s 16 Days of Activism, field visits to flood affected areas and meetings with government stakeholders, civil society, and other key stakeholders to inform about progress and challenges in the Government of Baluchistan’s Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Policy 2020-2024.

One of the highlights of INGAD gathering celebrated the launch of Women Service Provider Network. It was followed by a panel discussion on ‘Strengthening Gender Responsive Justice in Balochistan’ and a joint pledge to unite and push forward in shared mission to end violence against women and girls. Further discussions were held by country representatives of the UN Agencies, as well as Dr. Riina Kionka, Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan and Mr. Luke Myers, Head of Cooperation High Commission of Canada Embassy. The objective of these meetings was to showcase the Rule of Law institutions in line with RoL Roadmap, assess the impact of the floods on women, girls and the most vulnerable, and to express solidarity with the commitments and vision of GEWE.

Dr. Jeremy Milsom, Country Representative UNODC also met with Mr. Zahid Saleem, Additional Chief Secretary Home and Tribal Affairs Balochistan, Abdul Khalique, IG Police Balochistan and paid a visit to the Governor House of Balochistan to strengthen UNODC cooperation and partnership with government stakeholders. He reiterated the importance of the joint work of UNODC, UN Women, and UNDP to strengthen the Rule of Law with a special focus on supporting and applying gender-sensitive approaches.

UNODC has been working closely with the Government of Balochistan for more than a decade to bolster the criminal justice institutions. The ongoing funding and support of the EUD provides a strong platform to join hands with UN Women with an intensified focus to provide gender-responsive policing and ultimately supporting the whole of the criminal justice chain to customize their responses to protect and support girls and women victims/survivors of GBV in Balochistan.  Furthermore, UNODC is currently working with RoL stakeholders and partners including civil society organizations and academia to revise the current Balochistan Rule of Law Roadmap with a lens where safety, protection, and provision of justice to women will be at the heart of the roadmap.

The INGAD two-day gathering concluded by endorsing pledges with the office of the Chief Minister of Balochistan. The agreed priorities ensure women’s health, hygiene, and safety needs as a priority in the flood-affected areas; increase of women-only “Safe Police Stations”; increase the representation of women in key service provider roles in the RoL sector (police officers, levies forces, judges and judicial staff, lawyers, and prosecutors); and develop gender accelerators for the Planning and Development Department of Balochistan.