Development’s Missing Ingredient

Development targets should involve not just access to education, healthcare, clean water and other vital services, but also access to justice.

How can we eradicate global poverty and deliver sustainable development for all?

That is the question that governments are now considering at the United Nations in the process that will determine the world’s post-2015 development priorities. 

As head of a global network of foundations that provides almost $1 billion of funding every year to civil society groups around the world, I care about development very much. And I welcome the UN’s stated commitment that this process “should also promote peace and security, democratic governance, the rule of law, gender equality, and human rights for all.”

These are issues that are at the heart of our work at the Open Society Foundations, and they are vital to peace and development.

But when UN members drew up the current set of measurable global development targets in 2000, they didn’t include goals for the rule of law, or governance. The skeptics argued that these things were too political, they infringed on sovereignty, or they couldn’t be measured.

Now, we have an opportunity to change that. Together, we need to come together to persuade members of the UN General Assembly that development targets should involve not just access to education, healthcare, clean water, and other vital services, but also access to justice.

What does that mean? It means that anyone should know and be enabled to claim the protections and services due to them under the law, be it in a formal court, an administrative procedure or a community-based forum. It means that no one is left behind because they don’t have the right legal identity documents. It means that people should know about and play a role in shaping the laws and regulations that govern their  lives, and that communities should have the power to manage their land and natural resources.

I am happy to join global leaders, development experts, and grassroots groups in endorsing a statement that sets out in more detail how these five principles can become measurable goals in the new global development framework. As UN members begin to prepare the first drafts of that new strategy for the world, this statement makes compelling reading.

It’s my hope that they hear this simple message: development needs justice.

108 Comments

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Thank you Soros for your immense initiative for Access to Justice .
A Just world was the dream of our ancestors when they drafted the UDHR in 1948.
Access to Justice is not only the foundation of development but Human Rights of the people. Human Rights can't be realized with out Justice.
sushil pyakurel, Chair- Alliance for Social Dialogue, Nepal.

Many thanks Sushil. Good to hear from Nepal. We have had so many expressions of support for this effort - from Uganda, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan and more. I hope our governments listen when they vote on the post-2015 development targets!

Best wishes, Jonathan Birchall, Communications Officer, Open Society Justice Initiative

according to reflexivity their are some groups which can reshape reality from truth for thier own sake and impose on society but the qustion is how long they will continue base on fallibility we have to understand our fallibilty and make harsh the situation for them and pass his paradigm on harsh test becouse we are the ultimate who affect negatively from this approach...if we start believing on perception to fact and fact to perception we can make our society better pace in every aspact and many many thinks to george soros give us a beautiful idea how the world work he is my personal inspiration about financial market and for open society and i will work for reflexivity and open society in my entire life

Justice is a necessary for every people. Indeed justice and equity are two important things that should prevail in any society if development is to be realizes. Inclusive Gender Justice is required for under developed country.

dear friends,
one way to eradicate poverty as I have written before, begin with turning the weapon industry down.......that includes the drug organizations............then we can talk about justice about the poverty........................they only protect the rich ones..........too low..........for this century...............

A well-written statement and carefully considered priorities. Let me add my name to this list of honorable supporters.

Indeed, everyone should have the right to obtain redress for violations of her rights and for violations of the law committed around her. However, we cannot forget the structural problems linked to poverty, like colonial heritage, like investments (protected by investment arbitration), bilateral investment treaties, unfair distribution of the land at the moment of the decolonization, abuse of the eminent domain, etc, which cannot be redressed by Courts. Political choices, real redistributive policies, and a direct support to the poor are essential and inevitable steps that have to be taken together with access to justice. We cannot think to change the world through courts, especially when the law is always (or in the majority of the cases) written by the winners.

Dear Tomaso,

Thanks for your thoughts on this. We would very much agree that ensuring access to justice/legal systems alone is not going to deliver development, but that it is a vital ingredient. Best wishes, Jonathan Birchall, Open Society Justice Initiative

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