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The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) has released several new publications for practitioners and policymakers regarding timely justice issues, including gender-based discrimination, women’s participation in the justice sector, engagement with customary and informal justice mechanisms, and harnessing technology to improve the accessibility of justice and the transparency and accountability of justice providers. These publications present data, analysis, and recommendations to address critical issues in the rule of law field and help ensure that programming is as impactful and effective as possible. Development partners who engage with gender-based justice issues, customary and informal law and the integration of technology into legal systems will find these publications valuable.
Women Delivering Justice: Contributions, Barriers, Pathways continues IDLO’s Gender Pledge series, delivering on a commitment to address the barriers women face when accessing justice and seeking roles within the legal profession. This publication establishes a clear way forward for practitioners, outlining the challenges women experience when entering the profession, the impact that greater representation has on substantive justice, and specific initiatives that can be pursued to improve professional participation by women in the justice sector. These include investing in women’s law networks, pushing for reform of legal admission and appointment, and providing expertise and training on gender to both male and female legal professionals.
Justice for Women [also available in Spanish] is a comprehensive report on common justice challenges for women, produced in collaboration with UN Women, the World Bank, and the Task Force on Justice. The publication utilizes extensive quantitative and qualitative evidence to provide a full picture of the extent and pervasiveness of gender-based inequality. It also presents a reasoned case for why this challenge must be a priority for practitioners and governments, including the economic consequences of discrimination. By aggregating the expertise and knowledge of four leading organizations and combining data with country-level examples, the report represents a definitive guide to help close the justice gap for women. This issue is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda which commits to gender equality and the realization of peaceful, just and inclusive societies.
Similarly, in a bid to help make justice accessible for all in furtherance of Sustainable Development 16 of the 2030 Agenda, IDLO has launched Consultations on customary and informal justice systems, underpinned by a series, Navigating Complex Pathways to Justice, which includes both a Policy and Issue Brief and a Practitioner Brief. Notably, customary and informal justice mechanisms are in many cases the only accessible or trusted way for marginalized communities including women, the poor, and minorities to seek justice. The briefs highlight both the challenges and opportunities presented by this dynamic. Traditionally, these systems have been neglected by practitioners and policymakers in part due to the lack of actionable research, but these publications review ways of carefully and respectfully engaging with local systems, broadening the impact of justice programs. The Policy and Issue Brief provides insights into the strengths and weaknesses of engagement, outlining paths forward, while the Practitioner Brief addresses in specific detail how complexities can be carefully navigated, detailing programming risks and challenges.
Finally, IDLO’s publication, Enabling Sustainable Development reflects on the results of an IDLO project in Kyrgyzstan in cooperation with USAID to strengthen access to justice through e-justice. The project harnessed information and communications technology (ICT) to increase transparency and enhance the ability to justly resolve disputes. The report analyses the results of the four-year initiative aimed at transcending the challenges that have often accompanied the adoption of technology in the justice sector. When implemented effectively, e-justice can markedly reduce barriers to access, corruption, and opacity, and this publication outlines ways in which practitioners can harmonize a flexible and iterative approach with other rules of law initiatives to help ensure the success of e-justice programs.