Emphasizing the rule of law as a vital element of conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and peace building, the Security Council today underlined the importance of the support of United Nations peacekeeping and special political missions to host countries in strengthening rule-of-law institutions. In a Presidential Statement following up on its 19 February open debate on the rule of law, the Council emphasized the vital importance of promoting justice and the rule of law as an indispensable element for peaceful coexistence and the prevention of armed conflict. The Council underscored that sustainable peace required an integrated approach based on coherence between political, security, development, human rights, including gender equality, and rule of law and justice activities. Outlining rule-of-law activities that might be part of UN peacekeeping and special political missions, the Council noted, among others, the provision of clear, credible and achievable mandates, as well as guidance by UN mission leadership on the Organizations rule-of-law activities and coordination in their conduct. Further to the statement, the Council underscored that support to the host nations rule-of-law institutions should be considered in a country-specific context, while recognizing the contribution of national justice systems, as well as that of the International Criminal Court, in accordance with the principle of complementarity.During the Council’s open debate in which nearly 70 delegations took part, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that the rule of law is at the heart of the work of the United Nations and said that it is vital to ensure that the Organization makes the most of its assistance in this area to help post-conflict countries build the foundations for long-term peace and stability.The Secretary-General highlighted four important points that should guide rule of law mandates. First, mandates should reflect the specific challenges of a country and identify priority areas of support. Also, sequencing or establishing phases for the implementation of the different components of assistance is vital, since promptly addressing peoples immediate security and protection needs is crucial to laying the groundwork for the long-term success of institutions and processes. Given limited human and financial resources, a gradual or progressive implementation strategy may be the most effective in transitioning from peacekeeping to long-term development assistance, he continued.And lastly, assessing progress is essential to making policy decisions supported by evidence and responsive to particular needs.The Security Council has made important inroads to promote monitoring and evaluation of UN rule of law assistance, Mr. Ban said. Specific and sequenced mandates, which include data collection and evaluation capacities, would further support these efforts.