Weak rule of law and lack of good governance a major threat to development, says UNODC Executive Director

Bangkok (Thailand), 15 November 2013
- UNODC Executive Director Mr. Yury Fedotov said today that investments in justice systems and the rule of law were "pre-requisites" for long-term prosperity. Mr. Fedotov made his comments in his keynote speech at the inaugural Bangkok Dialogue on the Rule of Law, organized by Thailand's Institute of Justice.

"Weak rule of law and lack of good governance pose a major threat to social and economic development the world over, and they have hindered progress in attaining the Millennium Development Goals," said Mr. Fedotov. "Effective and humane justice systems and institutions are fundamental to building societies that facilitate growth and development."

Rule of law refers to a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly broadcasted, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights, norms and standards.

The Rule of Law is an integral element of the UN's agenda, in its role as the guardian of international legal frameworks. Particularly, advancing the Rule of Law stands to directly and positively impact global economic development and human rights.

In her keynote speech, Permanent Representative of Thailand to the UN in Vienna HRH Princess Bajrakittiyabha Mahidol highlighted the need to invest in the rule of law, crime prevention and criminal justice for the post-2015 United Nations development agenda.

"The illegal economy is not subject to taxation or the rules of the game like the formal sector," said HRH Princess Bajrakittiyabha. "The illegal economy puts legitimate businesses at a great disadvantage. Money from the illegal economy can infiltrate state institutions and lead to severe corruption. This impedes sustainable development and diverts resources from poverty reduction and delivery of public services."

The Bangkok Dialogue brought together world leaders and global experts to discuss how the role of fair and equitable justice systems can help protect and advance sustainable development for economic growth to the benefit of all people. Speakers included, amongst others, Thai PM Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra; Tshering Tobgay, Prime Minister of Bhutan; and Marty Natalegawa, Indonesia's Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Through the discussions, the Dialogue aimed to build momentum and contribute ideas and actions towards the deliberations of the post-2015 Development Agenda and ongoing review of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals.

Following speeches by Mr. Fedotov, HRH Princess Bajrakittiyabha and political leaders, academics and civil society leaders engaged in high-level panel discussions.