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Measuring Justice in the Post-2015 Development Framework

In 2015, the nations of the world will decide on a global development framework that succeeds the UN Millennium Development Goals.  Justice plays a fundamental role in eliminating poverty; it empowers the poor with themeans to challenge the root causes of deprivation, displacement, and dispossession.  Yet, justice is missing from the current round of goals.

Namati and the Open Society Foundations are rallying allies from around the world to campaign for the incorporation of justice and legal empowerment into the post-2015 development agenda. Join us as we advocate for a post-2015 framework under which all people can exercise their basic rights to dignity, safety, and livelihood – the underpinnings of equitable development.

In years since the Millennium Declaration in 2000, governments and civil society organizations have made significant advances in measuring progress towards improving justice outcomes. Government agencies now collect diverse and comprehensive sources of data and the post-2015 development framework provides a unique opportunity to consolidate these national gains in a global framework. The post-2015 framework should include access to justice and legal empowerment targets in a governance goal to address issues most critical to human development: access to information, legal identity, legal participation, and legal services. Access to justice and legal empowerment targets and indicators should be included in other goals too, including those aimed at ending poverty and using natural resources sustainably. These targets will help to secure broad development gains by addressing structural barriers to fuller participation in society. Each target builds on the recommendations of the Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and can be clearly incorporated into the development framework through relevant indicators.

1. GUARANTEE THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT TO INFORMATION AND TO ACCESS GOVERNMENT DATA

People should have information about the laws and regulations that govern their lives. States should commit to disseminating simple statements of law and policy, with a focus on the rules relating to essential services. They should also grant an enforceable right to government information. A growing body of evidence shows that right to information regimes enable people to ensure that laws are implemented effectively.

2. ENSURE NO ONE SUFFERS FROM A LACK OF SECURE LEGAL IDENTITY

Legal identity is crucial for people to engage fully in society. If you are not legally recognized as a person, it is difficult to make the law work for you. State-issued legal identity documents are often a precondition for important activities, from opening a bank account to owning a mobile phone. Governments should ensure that access to legal identity is universal while guaranteeing that no one is unfairly denied basic services or economic opportunities due to a lack of documentation.

3A.  INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF LAND FOR WHICH COMMUNITIES HAVE SECURE TENURE AND DECISIONS ARE TAKEN THROUGH AN OPEN AND ACCOUNTABLE PROCESS

3B.  ENSURE THE PARTICIPATION OF CITIZENS IN MONITORING ESSENTIAL SERVICES, INCLUDING HEALTHCARE, WATER, AND EDUCATION

People should be able to take part in creating and implementing laws and policies, especially those that affect them most directly. This includes local governance over land and natural resources. Approximately three billion people around the world live without secure rights to what are often their greatest assets: their lands, forests, and pastures. Increasing global demand for those assets has led to exploitation and conflict. Research shows that giving communities the power to govern their land and natural resources leads to poverty reduction and more sustainable development. People’s participation in the laws that affect them should also include community governance in public services such as healthcare and education. Participation in governance should not be limited to elections every few years. Citizens should have a role in shaping the fundamental, everyday work of their governments.

4. ENSURE ALL PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO JUSTICE INSTITUTIONS AND LEGAL AID SERVICES THAT ARE AFFORDABLE , FAIR, AND TIMELY

Everyone should have access to fair, effective forums for resolving conflicts, for seeking protection from violence, and for addressing grievances with the state. Equitable administration of justice requires quality services from a broad range of institutions, including the police, the courts, administrative tribunals across government sectors, ombudsman offices, and customary institutions. For people to have a fair shot when they approach those institutions, it is critical that they have affordable access to legal aid. Legal aid efforts that combine a small corps of public interest lawyers with a larger frontline of community paralegals can find creative solutions and more effectively engage the full range of justice institutions.


March 21, 2013 | Namati


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