Blog June 3, 2024

Justice Action Update #6—June 2024

Front page of Justice Action Update #6—June 2024
  • Justice
  • Justice Action Coalition

This issue of the Justice Action Update is the first update under the auspices of the new, permanent structure of the Justice Action Coalition. It will, therefore, showcase the Joint Deliverables from the initial phase of the Coalition and highlight new and exciting aspects of people-centered justice activities that lie ahead. 

A key update to the Justice Action Coalition is that the secretariat is now hosted jointly by Pathfinders for Peaceful, Justice and Inclusive Societies (Pathfinders) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The workstreams coordinated by these organizations will be unpacked in this issue.

We will also provide a recap of a virtual senior-level meeting of the Justice Action Coalition held in January. This meeting was the first to bring together member countries and partners following the launch of the Coalition’s permanent structure in 2023. Participants discussed the new structure, secretariat, and work plan, reflected on the Coalition’s journey, and deliberated on the next steps.

This issue of the Justice Action Update highlights the Justice Action Coalition’s Joint Deliverables, shares an update from the most recent senior-level meeting, and unpacks the permanent structure. It also places Indonesia in the spotlight, shares exciting news about the Young Justice Leaders, and much more!

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1. Update on the Justice Action Coalition

The Justice Action Coalition was launched in 2021 with a Joint Letter to the UN Secretary-General urging action on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.3 by the second SDG Summit in 2023. By May 2022, the Justice Action Coalition had, at the Ministerial level, decided that it must continue to conduct its work beyond 2023 as a permanent structure promoting and accelerating action for equal access to justice for all.

A Task Team was set up to design this permanent structure and suggest its hosting arrangements. The Declaration of the Justice Action Coalition was adopted at a ministerial meeting in June 2023, and it was agreed that Pathfinders and UNDP would jointly host the secretariat in partnership with the OECD. It was also agreed that the first two years of the new structure (2024 – 2025) will be an inception phase to set a firm foundation for the permanent structure.

Governance Structure of the Justice Action Coalition

  • Ministerial meetings are where key decisions are taken. The Ministerial Meeting will occur in 2025, possibly in October, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Sixth Committee meeting. This meeting will take stock of the two-year inception phase and provide direction for the next phase of the Coalition’s work, looking forward to the third SDG Summit in 2027, 2030, and beyond.
  • Senior-level meetings bring together Coalition members to discuss key updates and plan for ministerial meetings. One senior-level meeting will be held every year.
  • Board meetings take place twice a year. 
  • Secretariat meetings: The secretariat will function as one and communicate regularly. It will meet four times a year along with the host organizations to ensure its smooth functioning. 

Within the Secretariat, Pathfinders is responsible for the smooth functioning of the key governance structures. They will organize all key meetings and ensure effective communication within the Coalition, including sharing new requests for membership. 

Justice Action Coalition: Workstreams

In addition to the governance structure, the Coalition is organized around four workstreams led by the OECD, Pathfinders, and UNDP. 

Workstream 1 – Data & Evidence 

Led by the OECD, the objective of workstream 1 is to support countries in pivoting to people-centered justice to close the justice gap. To achieve this, the workstream will support countries in gathering data to develop effective strategies to address people’s justice needs. The workstream proposes to create a robust measurement framework on people-centered justice and strengthen the business case for justice. It will develop internationally comparable indicators, gather evidence, and produce a comprehensive report on the state of people-centered justice, including policy recommendations and good practices, to advance and monitor reforms.

Workstream 2 – Strategy, Programming & Innovation  

UNDP will lead this workstream to support strategic and innovative people-centered justice initiatives at the national level by co-creating strategies with countries and national stakeholders. It will also provide access to international expertise, partnerships, and financial support to countries willing to pivot to people-centered justice. The emphasis is on assisting justice actors in designing data-driven, evidence-based programs tailored to their context.

Workstream 3 – Communications, Narrative & Connection to the SDGs

Pathfinders will lead Workstream 3 to unlock the Coalition’s impact by ensuring a shared vision and a coherent joint narrative supported by strategic communications and advocacy. The workstream will lead advocacy on people-centered justice, linking it to the SDGs and engaging with UN processes to promote and profile people-centered justice. Core messages and global “asks” will be developed in consultation with other workstreams, primarily focusing on data and evidence, national action, and justice financing. 

Workstream 4 – Justice Financing

There is a growing recognition among experts that it is not enough to merely acquire more investment in justice. It is equally important to understand and have a shared vision of how to invest effectively in justice. In short, the sector needs not just more funds but also a better understanding of how to allocate these funds effectively to ensure equal access to justice for all. 

Pathfinders will lead Workstream 4  to move the needle on effective financing for justice by supporting preliminary research and dialogue between key stakeholders to arrive at a shared understanding of how governments and donors can effectively finance people-centered justice to ensure equal access to justice for all under SDG 16.3.


2. Senior-Level Meeting

On 17 January 2024, the Justice Action Coalition held a virtual senior-level meeting. This meeting was the first to convene member countries and partners following the launch of the Coalition’s permanent structure in 2023. Participants discussed the new structure, secretariat, and work plan, reflected on the Coalition’s journey, and deliberated on the next steps. 

Ms. Nathalie Olijslager, Director of the Stabilization and Humanitarian Affairs Department of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in her opening remarks, emphasized the critical role of access to justice in the current context of multiple crises threatening the rule of law and exacerbating polarization. She recalled the success of the Coalition in strengthening the people-centered justice movement and spreading its narrative in the multilateral, regional, and national arenas. She emphasized that as we take forward the agenda of the Coalition, ensuring political commitment, funding, and coherence of assistance among members and partners will be crucial to maximize impact. 

On behalf of the Justice Action Coalition partners, Sam Muller, CEO and founder of the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL), reflected on the history of the people-centered justice movement and the Coalition’s achievements and presented the joint deliverables of the Justice Action Coalition

These ten research products agreed upon in 2022 were finalized and presented at various pivotal moments, such as on the sidelines of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF), the SDG Summit in 2023, and the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) in 2024.

  1. The World Justice Project produced two reports on justice data. “Dissecting the Justice gap in 104 countries” offers invaluable new insights into the size and shape of the justice gap. In the second report—Disparities, Vulnerability, and Harnessing Data for People-Centered Justice, the World Justice Project looks at disparities, vulnerable people, and the relationship between formal and informal justice systems. These two reports provide critical data, allowing a much deeper understanding for those who work on or invest in closing the Justice gap.
  2. The OECD and Pathfinders produced a policy paper for improving monitoring and reporting on SDG 16.3.3. Collecting and using data to improve justice services is critical for transformation.
  3. The Ibero-American Alliance for Access to Justice produced its first-ever regional report on the state of access to Justice in the region. This report will strengthen regional collaboration and hopefully lead to an Ibero-American convention on access to justice.
  4. HiiL developed a menu of “Gamechangers”: justice service delivery models that are sustainable, scalable, and can provide solutions to people’s most pressing Justice needs. Seven such models were identified. This will hopefully help direct efforts and investments to delivery models that are more likely to succeed.
  5. The Working Group on Customary and Informal Justice (CIJ) and SDG16+ produced a report highlighting key approaches to working with CIJ systems. The report brings together opportunities for engagement that are critical for closing the justice gap. The report issues a groundbreaking call to action in the form of recommendations, representing a new consensus among key stakeholders in the global justice community on engagement with CIJ.
  6. The Working Group on Transitional Justice, led by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), produced a report on how to integrate transitional Justice into sustainable peace and development. One key idea of the report is integration: ensuring that transitional justice efforts are not isolated and are incorporated into peacebuilding, political agendas, and developing inclusive institutions. 
  7. The Justice for Women deliverable, led by UN Women in partnership with the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), Pathfinders, UNDP, and the World Bank, produced a study examining gender budgeting in justice delivery for women and girls in the context of violence. The study, which focuses on Uganda, was launched during CSW in March 2024.
  8. The first cohort of Young Justice Leaders was launched in 2022. This group of young justice changemakers from across the globe—supported by Pathfinders—works to promote and achieve people-centered justice. The group successfully brought youth perspectives to traditionally closed justice and multilateral spaces.
  9. The Working Group on SDG16+ Justice for Children, led by the Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures, released a series of policy briefings highlighting children’s most common Justice problems, how and why they occur, and who faces them. The policy briefs discuss digital justice for children, new intergenerational partnerships, and smarter financing. One more policy brief on data and evidence will be published in 2024, as will the implementation of the Intergenerational Toolkit created by the working group in Sierra Leone.
  10. Led by Pathfinders and UNDP, the Working Group on Key Messages developed a Toolkit on people-centered justice messages to support our collaborative work in making the business case for better strategy and funding for people-centered justice programming.


3. The Young Justice Leaders—Watch this space!

The inaugural cohort of the Young Justice Leaders spearheaded a range of people-centered justice activities leading up to the 2023 SDG Summit. This was to harness young people’s voices, insights, and innovative ideas towards the collective responsibility of reducing the global justice gap, in which 5.1 billion people lack meaningful access to justice.

To this end, the group successfully facilitated intergenerational dialogues, built networks, and contributed to the global justice for all movement and policy—demonstrating that people-centered justice is both possible and necessary. Following the success of the first cohort, Pathfinders embarked on the rigorous process of selecting a new cohort of Young Justice Leaders from across the globe.

A new 2024 – 2025 cohort of Young Justice Leaders has been selected, and a formal announcement with each cohort member’s details has been made. Watch this space to learn about the incoming cohort, including their aspirations for placing people and their needs at the center of justice systems!


4. Reports, Policy Briefs, and Other News

  • HiiL, with the support of USAID’s Inclusive Justice program, gathered justice needs data from 16 of the 76 Colombian municipalities where the Inclusive Justice program has a presence. This research fed into the Justice Needs and Satisfaction in Colombia survey. It highlights justiciable problems in the past four years, the paths of justice to resolve them, and the perception of the outcomes achieved by nearly 6,000 Colombians.
  • HiiL released the 2024 Justice Needs and Satisfaction (JNS) in Uganda survey. The 2024 JNS survey sheds light on people’s justice needs and the paths they navigate when faced with legal issues. Unlike other surveys, it provides a comprehensive understanding of what a successful justice journey entails and offers invaluable insights for improving justice service delivery in Uganda.
  • IDLO released a factsheet, Making Laws and Institutions Work for People: IDLO’s Work in Enhancing Anti-Corruption and Transparency. It provides examples from IDLO’s global anti-corruption portfolio with specific case studies from Armenia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Somalia, and Ukraine and includes key insights on promising rule of law approaches, good practices, and lessons learned from implementation.
  • IDLO, UN Women, and the Kenya Law Reform Commission partnered to produce the legal assessment report Strengthening Gender Equality in Law: Mapping Discriminatory Laws against Women and Girls in Kenya. The report analyzes discriminatory laws against women and girls in Kenya and makes recommendations for reform, repeal, or passage of new laws to ensure that the principle of equality and non-discrimination is reflected in law.
  • OECD produced a report entitled Developing Effective Online Dispute Resolution in Latvia, which assesses online dispute resolution (ODR) in Latvia. It looks at the country’s efforts to modernize its justice system and develop dispute-resolution mechanisms, identifies areas for improvement in line with the OECD Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Framework, and provides examples of the application of ODR in other countries. 
  • Pathfinders released a timeline of Justice at the Center of the Global Agenda. It showcases the progress made and highlights the possibilities for closing the justice gap.
  • Two new videos were released in PathfindersWhat Does Justice Mean series. Allyson Maynard-Gibson KC, a Barrister, former Attorney-General and Minister for Legal Affairs of The Bahamas, and former member of the Task Force on Justice (the predecessor of the Justice Action Coalition), shares insights on what justice means to her. Young Justice Leader Vino Lucero highlights what justice means to him. Vino was also featured in an interview entitled Access to Justice Means Listening to People on the Ground
  • The Executive Summary and Key Messages of the Financing Women’s Justice Needs: Global Perspectives on Violence against Women and a Case Study on Uganda were released by UN Women, UNDP, IDLO, World Bank, and Pathfinders. The report underscores the interrelatedness of gender-responsive laws, justice policies, institutions, and budgets.
  • World Justice Project (WJP) released a report suggesting that Sustainable Development Goal 16 Won’t Meet 2030 Agenda Targets at the current trajectory. Despite the lack of progress, correcting the course is not too late.


Justice for All Calendar 2024

Date Event Name Organized By
March 11–22
Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) UN Women
March 18–20
Seoul, South Korea
3rd Summit for Democracy Government of the Republic of Korea
May 6
New York, United States
SDG16 Conference International Development Law Organization, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
and Italy Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
May 13–17
Vienna, Austria
Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, 33rd session United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
June 25–26
Washington D.C., United States
Global Forum on Justice and the Rule of Law The World Bank
June 8–18
New York, United States
High-Level Political Forum United Nations Economic and Social Council
August 28–30
Nairobi, Kenya
OGP Africa and the Middle East Regional Meeting Open Government Partnership
September 22–23
New York, United States
Summit of the Future United Nations (UN)
September 10–24
New York, United States
79th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA79) United Nations (UN)
October 9–10
Ottawa, Canada
OECD Roundtable Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Dakar, Senegal
Knowledge Platform Annual Conference KPAC24 Knowledge Platform & Security Rule of Law
Location (TBC)
Hague Justice Week The Hague Project Peace and Justice (HPPJ)
December 3–6
Brasilia, Brasil
OGP Americas Regional Meeting Open Government Partnership

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