On February 7, 2019, Ministers and high-level representatives from countries and international organisations convened in The Hague to come to a shared understanding of the opportunities to strengthen support and commitments for access to justice ahead of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) and the SDG Summit in 2019.
Participants explored strategies for the achievement of SDG 16.3 “equal access to justice for all” and discussed opportunities for implementation of innovative models, identified barriers and obstacles to reform, and considered recommendations and potential commitments to deliver on access to justice for all.
Participants recalled that the 2030 Agenda is based on a vision of a “just, equitable, tolerant, open and socially inclusive world in which the needs of the most vulnerable are met.” The SDGs contain a pledge to leave no-one behind.
Participants considered that many people live outside the protection of the law and lack access to reliable and fair mechanisms to solve disputes. It is estimated that across the world, billions of people (men, women and children) have unresolved justice problems.
Participants further noted that unresolved legal problems impact negatively on the health, income and productivity of individuals and communities. Societies and economies bear the associated costs of having large numbers of unresolved justice problems. This affects economic growth, and may exacerbate inequality and can fuel violent conflict.
Participants recognized, that in order to make substantial progress towards “equal access to justice for all”, new approaches and additional efforts are required.
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