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.

Learn More:



I know that too well being a poor woman who had no access to justice and serving time because of that lack. Now I advocate for others behind me to have it stopping it in the case of our state at the legislative level, then the district attorneys level of deciding who receives what charges issued with an uneven hand to some over others. And not receiving respect as a human after that time especially in places where we are suppose to be represented but have no respectable voice because of that stigma with the uneven hand always having to have another person to validate our worthy intelligence to being a subject matter expert through learned experience of injustices.

Justice for everyone!

Me Sorosis -
You've made the world a better place and I thank you!

We deserve autonomy

Development does indeed need justice.

We have recently lost two lifelong promoters of justice--Nelson Mandela and Pete Seeger--and need more brave and authentic leaders who exemplify social justice values and practices.

You really do feel God like and want to infulence the world.
May God make his decision concerning this.

is missing also equity

I have always been for these freedoms and justices. I gladly sign my name to these intentions.

Justice delay is justice denied
The biggest motivator of injustice is fear (Maya Angelo)

Add privacy to your list. Without it, there is no freedom.

Amen Brother

I do believe on the requirement of justice for development. I support the message: Development Needs Justice. Justice in actions for alliviating acute poverty in the world.

Yes, we an eradicate poverty even earlier than 2030 if we stop spending on manufacturing Arms and Weapons more than need of a country...$1.7 trillions are spent every year. We need only $200bn approximately for eradication of poverty and around so much for healthcare of every humankind on the planet.

Kind of flys in the face of the NDAA doesn't it??

I sit on the American Bar Association's International Section committee on Privacy,eCommerce and Digital Security(PEDS) as leader of the subcommittee on Diversity. I have been aware of the lack of rule of law and any focus on it globally for many years.
The key is enforcement. The same is true on all topics touching PEDS. I am suggesting, for all electronic issues a new court system, perhaps starting between the EU and USA and any other interested countries. This system would be involving qualified judges and specialized legal counsels, all with expertise in the underlying technologies and even the physicis and engineering underpinnings of the systems. Enforcement could be through what are generally civil procedures--fines, frozen assets, transaction limitations and jurisdiction could be established by agreement.
Without this any rule of law on criminal matters involving harm to human life will only be a bandais on the global community, security, social and economic environment.
The global networked economic systems, from currency trading to food supplies and everything inbetween are impacting all human life. Accountability and transparency are not present. The economic measures to deal with povertyat its root causes, human suffering, environmental dangers and basic societal continuance are impossible so long as this remains the case. Laws and legal systems created in ancietn times and carried forward across centuries but ignoring modern developments place every human being at unacceptable risk. It seems appropraite for you Mr. Soros and the Soros Foundationto lead in this most basic level of human experience.

The absent of justice has made the judicial system becoming a tool contribute to severe poverty to the people(Cambodia case). I do agree with the arguement of the skeptics, but why can't we touch on politics? Every deal is involving with politics.

While the united nations may include justice as one of the key development incrediants, like many other United Nations declaration aclaimed to, oppressive societies like ours will ignore and take away justice from us.....under the nose of sovereignty. Organise programs at civic society level that educate people and remove fear of their own government.

You are a champion. Move on, i support this idea, i have witnessed, seen, read , about people who languish in abject poverty perpetuated by the haves at the foots of injustice due to lack or poor governance and the rule of law.

One must be proud to offer a voice for thoses that cannot speak of fairness & justice. All people should be entitled to the necessary basics to survive and a opportunity for a better life..Selfishness and hate will never encourage the Peace & Love this world needs

I endorse the views expressed in the Petition. However, it is unfortunate that emphasis was not placed on the arbitrary actions of the police in many developing countries and economically deprived communities worldwide. The fear of arbitrary detentions, extrajudicial killings, inability to obtain adequate legal assistance are factors which act as deterrents to development. Apart from the obvious violation of Right to Life, the other violations of rights which arise need to be clearly linked
to the developmental process at the individual, national and international levels. I do hope the Petiition will be successful.

Thanks for the comment, Florizelle.We agree in deploring arbitrary policing. The kind of abuses you write of do indeed impact development - excess pretrial detention, for instance, has a devastating impact on the health and economic well being of families and communities. Our hope is that access to justice, such as the paralegal projects we have supported in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Malawi and Mexico, create constraints that can curb abuses. You can find out more here:

Democratic governance and rule of law incorporates all vision mentioned in your document. Democracy means meaningful participation of people of all walks of life. And free media would play a role of bridge between people and the government.
This is an era of new thinking and aware intervention. People focus on two essence; Public Morality and Individual Accountability.

Just to add that justice for the poor should routinely include protection of socio/economic rights - indicators such as police stations/courts etc.. do not amount to much for these categories of marginalized populations.

Thanks for the comment Masheti. The five areas outlined do in this appeal to UN members for access to justice are vital for all rights. For instance, it's hard to get healthcare or education without a legal identity document; the right to information allows people to make sure that government services and benefits are being properly distributed, and so on.
Jonathan Birchall, Communications Officer, Open Society Justice Initiative

Every good proposal to eradicate poverty should be good publicity.During this season many people who have no houses die of cold or severely suffer from cold atmosphere.During many school rooms will be empty and the above category of people can be accommodated.And I gave email to a responsible organization in New Delhi.They did not care.I request any of you take pains to pursue the matter. .It is a party ruling Indian State capital

I co-sign this petition, and suggest that Justice be applied in urban neighborhoods undergoing redevelopment.
Especially one like mine which was fueled by the involuntary dislocation of over 700 families in East Baltimore. Public policies which impale a community's
history on the altar of eminent domain need to guarantee that those neighborhoods be encouraged,
socially, politically and financially to create Heritage
Centers that acknowledge the history of families and
communities sacrifice toward progress.
Yes, count me in with this amendment.

Justice is cross-cutting, including in the realization of the right to health. Justice means communities participate in decisions around allocation of funds for health promotion and prevention of accidents and diseases, as well as treatment, care and support. A new angle on justice and health: role of law enforcement - see

Thanks David. We agree! Our public health team has recently produced a videos showing examples of how law and health come together in Kenya and Macedonia, with one on Russia comming soon. You can find them here:

Jonathan Birchall, Communications Officer, Open Society Justice Initiative

Mr Soros...your move is a perfect one keep on.Africa is take over by poverty...we need such programmes.

This is a good point to be considered by the Government at different levels. we need to uphold it with great effort!

Good luck with this initiative George. Legal protections are important. However, enforcement is a problem. Even here in the great democracy of the USA during Nixon's dirty tricks I had a newspaper article I wrote reporting on a strike lifted from the US Mail and "deep sixed." I had a car stolen from me by a government informer. I had a gun planted in my home. etc etc. So having legal process is vital (I would have been in prison for protest activities if it had not been for an effective jury system that saved me from the dungeon) But system needs mechanisms of enforcement and transparency.

Surely the prime guarantor of equity and justice remains, fifty years on, the continued fight for the recognition and application of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Indeed, there is no peace, and of course developement, without justice!

You have great vision. Justice is anemic and the ability to partially rectify that rest in the hands of the U. S. Supreme Court. Primitive fundamentalism in the courtroom serves as "Satan's umbilical cord." It needs to be severed. Justice is required. Success in this particular matter will help to foster improved empowerment of the UN.

Justice is a necessary condition for sustainable development. Socio-economic justice is fundamental to any developmental development efforts whether at communities, national of global level . As a matter of fact, global resources is not inadequate what is lacking is injustice and inequitable allocation and distribution of these resources endowment freely given to mankind by God. The issues is asymmetry of allocation and distribution of global resources. It is a public governance issues. UN should look inward and frankly address these issue in the interest of global peace which it was set up to promote and protect. Finally, God bless George Soros and other progressive like-minded global citizens advocating and working on these issues.


That Justice is a blind godless
Isa thing to which we black are wise;
Her bandage hides two festering sores
That once perhaps were eyes.


Before we all get on board the fight for justice, we must agree on what 'justice' is.

A previous commentator praised the recently-deceased Pete Seeger and Nelson Mandela.

Both of them fought for their conception of justice, which, over a long period of their lives, they believed was realized in the Soviet Union. Not everyone would agree.

So let's look at the present. Do commentators believe that there is a better system of 'justice' in the United States, or Cuba?

What is the problem is also the solution – the problem is a contradiction between resources and environment with the size and demands of the human population on earth. A billion or more people can not support themselves – from drought, flood, over grazing, too many mouths to feed on too little production. The failure of groups at the socialization of unemployed youth, mostly men and group and tribal conflict over resources makes for wars and terrorism, crime, social decay, corruption, gangster tactics..none of us is safe - it is only getting worse. The conflict zones increaase and law and order, peace decreases.
All and everything - please follow us on:We all need mothers' love and TLC for our place, tribe, neighborhood, the Earth and our groups need help. The PRC mass mobilization is by groups, a hundred thousand packs, tribes, clans, villages, offices, troops, units, sections, divisions, regiments, platoons, farms, with over a billion members. The groups leaders represent the group at the next level of democratic centralization.

What is required is a global social contract - the price of a stable and sustainable planet fit for human habitation is social mobilization. A system that makes it possible to earn a living and to socialize new generations. Using the Chinese model cadets would work to form committees in millions of groups, villages, blocks, offices and factories. Each would have a program of action, sanitation, education, production, banking and finance, with seed resources borrowed from the regional development bank. The key is reciprocity,synergy with a balance between giving and receiving, the individual and the group.

Dr. Peter E. Pflaum, GlobalVillages wiredbrain

Indeed justice and equity are two important things that should prevail in any society if development is to be realizes. I work for Uganda Society for Disabled Children but we always struggle to convince people that children with Disabilities deserve to have the basic necessities of life like education which other can easily get at government public school. Hope all those can be incorporated in the post 2015 Agenda

Nous voulons la paix et nous insurgeons contre qui se met en travers de notre route pour nous la ravir car notre avenir en dépend

I believe that this is a very powerful vision and analysis of our vision for a humane world for all. Setting targets to achieve justice and inserting this pillar of human rights in the dialogue is both needed and critical.

One day "...justice and peace shall kiss".

This is very true to have development in todays civilized world , Justice for all people is vital. you can not have balanced development if certain sections of the society are being oppressed and no attention is being given to their needs and voices.

As Plato's Republic says; a society divided by rich vs poor is unjust. Justice for everyone is only attainable where resources are shared more fairly ! Our increasingly hostile world of " all against all " everyone looses ! An open democratic world of empathic folks for all beings !

I support the idea, the rule of law is one of the most fundamentals of development. If our leaders are not accountable for the mess they drive our states to then we cant foster any kind of development whatsoever. we need equality for all in order to create a peaceful environment where other basic components of development will conglomerate great development.

I salute you Mr. Soros. Justice is a necessary precondition for development. Without justice, development is robbed of spirit. Without justice, development becomes a privilege reserved for society's elite.

Knowledge,wisdom,truth and Justice a motto to live for.Thanks Mr Soros for your immence contribution towards the evolution of mankind.The world has been overwhelmly blessed by your life.

It is easy to sign a petition, more difficult to know what I as an individual can do to ensue that Justice is made and implemented as one of he key objectives


Add your voice