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The SDGs indicators on rule of law need to respect the targets agreed in September

Nicholas Menzies's picture
Click here for an interactive map of countries already collecting “legal needs” survey data which could inform the SDGs rule of law indicators: http://map.gastonpierri.com/

On Monday, the final round of discussions will get underway in Bangkok on the indicators to measure the Sustainable Development Goals that were agreed by all UN Member states in New York last month. The agreement from New York calls for the underlying indicators to “preserve the political balance, integration and ambition” of the agenda.

Target 16.3, as agreed in New York, is to “Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all.” The proposed indicators for 16.3, to be discussed in Bangkok, do not respect the ambition of the target as they both focus on the criminal justice system. Whilst criminal justice is important to many people’s lives – in truth, only a small percentage of the population comes into direct contact with the criminal justice system. Sustainable development is about much more.

Justice systems and the rule of law contribute to sustainable development through resolving land and natural resource disputes, keeping governments accountable, and giving businesses the confidence to enter into and enforce contracts. All of these (amongst many others) lie outside of the criminal justice system. It is important to choose global indicators that capture this.

We propose the following indicator:
 
“Proportion of those who have experienced a dispute in the past 12 months who have accessed a formal, informal, alternative or traditional dispute resolution mechanism and who feel it was just.”
 
This indicator gets to the heart of what justice systems do – which is resolve disputes. Disputes between people, between businesses, and between citizens and their governments. The indicator also captures criminal justice issues as well.
 
National Statistics Offices (and others) in more than 25 countries – in all regions - have already been collecting data for such an indicator over many years. A selection of these “legal needs” surveys are contained in this database.
 
Target 16.3 on rule of law and equal access to justice, has a much broader scope than just criminal justice. To faithfully reflect this, member states meeting in Bangkok should consider an indicator that captures the broader set of links between justice and sustainable development.

Comments

Submitted by Oyeyemi Ogundokun on

It is well that the rule of law and equal access to justice is more important to humanity than criminal justice. So it imperative to primal it with the backing of such agenda and policy formulated.

Submitted by Noralba Carrillo on

Muy buena noche, el sector rural tiene una importancia fundamental en cualquier propuesta orientada a un desarrollo nacional y regional sostenible y con equidad.En todos los países de América Latina, la población rural sigue siendo muy importante situándose el promedio regional en aproximadamente en el 25% los espacios rurales abarcan la mayor parte del territorio, sus potencialidades económicas, culturales, y ambientales son muy grandes. Pero también alberga a la mas alta concentración de pobreza: De cada tres pobladores rurales dos, son pobres y entre ellos hay sectores aún mas vulnerables quienes son las mujeres, los niños, los ancianos y las etnias indígenas. Esta realidad obliga a que cualquier estrategia de desarrollo coherente que pretenda erradicar la pobreza tiene que actuar prioritariamente en este sector en el marco de la cumbre del milenio del año 2000 los líderes mundiales reconocieron que la pobreza es el mayor desafío para la humanidad,y la clave para reducirla esta en asegurar el progreso de las áreas rurales, por supuesto que esta preocupación esta en linea con el objetivo general de Fesmundial, para el plan Trienal 2015 - 2018, de consolidar y aumentar la capacidad, participación y contribución fesmundial, para incidir en los debates y procesos de la sociedad civil, orientados a generar propuestas alternativas de desarrollo incluyente y sostenible para el campesino Colombiano con visión de internacionalizar sus productos en un menor tiempo posible.

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