From 19-20 June, Ministers of Justice and Attorney Generals from the twenty g7+ Member States gathered in The Hague for the g7+ Ministerial-Level Meeting: Access to Justice for All in Conflict-Affected Countries. They were joined by representatives of international organizations, development agencies, and civil society, including Namati. The objective of this meeting was to develop common priorities in strengthening access to justice in Member States. Representatives from Namati – a supporting partner of the Justice for All Campaign – contributed to the discussion and the peer-to-peer session on ‘access to justice and legal aid.’
The meeting culminated in the signing of the Joint Action Plan for the Declaration on Equal Access to Justice for All by 2030. The Joint Action Plan acknowledges the importance of making people-centered justice a reality for conflict-affected countries, stating that justice is indispensable for conflict prevention as well as realizing the entire spectrum of objectives in the Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, the Joint Action Plan calls upon all actors to integrate justice considerations into peace, security, and development strategic planning.
The Joint Action Plan also acknowledges that increased investment in access to justice must come from increases in domestic budget allocations and from expanded international donor commitments. Recognizing the unique challenges of conflict-affected countries, the Joint Action Plan states that achieving justice for all requires addressing systemic and structural problems, including those that most affect women, youth, and other vulnerable groups.
It also recognizes the importance of innovation, such as community paralegals and mobile courts, and partnerships between civil society and state institutions to achieve access to justice for all. The importance of empowered citizens and creative approaches was echoed by many leaders during the events, including the remarks by The Elders Chair Mary Robinson and Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag.
The Joint Action Plan concluded with the following commitments toward achieving more inclusive and people-centered justice in conflict-affected countries:
- Present the perspective of conflict-affected countries at the High Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals
- Participate in SDG Voluntary National Reviews
- Improve data collection, monitoring, and evaluation of people’s justice needs
- Develop national access to justice strategies
- Ensure that national indicators are aligned with global indicators and national justice strategies
- Collaborate with donors to embed the justice needs of conflict-affected countries in their assistance policies and strategic framework
- Enhance regional and global coordination on access to justice
- Convene regular meetings on access to justice