On March 22nd we were joined by Jennifer Tsai from the American Bar Association, Constantinus Kristomo from Public Legal Education and Legal Aid Center, and John Romano from the Transparency Accountability and Participation (TAP) Network to learn how to translate international justice commitments into national reform.
Specifically, our team of expert panelists discussed TAP Network’s new publication, Advocacy: Justice and the SDGs, a comprehensive guide to help civil society understand how to utilize the SDGs as a means of pushing forward on needed justice reforms in their countries and showcase implementation efforts already underway by governments and civil society.
Jennifer Tsai provided us with a breakdown to the guide’s step by step process:
- Outline the opportunity to use the SDGs
- Address the action needed by answering questions about which policy reforms should be included and how to get a baseline assessment of access to justice in a country
- Collaboratively design an advocacy strategy for a national justice plan
- Address risks and challenges and how to troubleshoot
- Provides an international review for users to identify global indicators and ways to leverage support
The Advocacy: Justice and the SDGs guide is intended to be a living document, so feedback and suggestions are encouraged.
Constantinus Kristomo spoke to how Indonesia is using the SDGs to improve access to justice and establish strong engagement between the government and the public. Because of Indonesia’s islands and rural areas, many citizens are unable to access legal services since most lawyers live in cities. To increase access to justice, the Indonesian government has increased legal aid services by empowering local paralegals in rural areas and villages. The implementation of monitoring tools, case management, key performance index of legal aid providers, and an online reimbursement are being used to measure the quality of the legal aid to ensure the goal of public legal awareness is being met.
John Romano supplemented our knowledge with another helpful toolkit, the Goal 16 Advocacy toolkit created by TAP Network. The main objective of the guide is to help civil society organizations at the national level understand goal 16 of the SDGs and how to approach the advocacy work involved. **
During the webinar, participants had the opportunity to ask questions to our panelists. Summary of full Q&A below:
What is the content of the poverty proof letter, who issues this letter?
Constantinus: The poverty proof letter is required to provide individuals with legal aid and the letters explain that whoever is issued one is actually low-income. The criteria to get a letter is mostly economic, which is based off of income and conditions of the holder.
How is the program in Indonesia funded - does the government fund CSOs?
Constantinus: The funding comes from our national budget.
Stacey: The toolkit states where you can get funding and how to coordinate where that money is spent.
Can you provide a better explanation on monitoring?
Jennifer: The guide has a whole section on monitoring, which includes using indicators to track your own progress and national level progress to realize SDG 16.3. The aim is to develop indicators relevant to your work, identify sources for each indicator and then use that data to see if it aligns with the data collected by your government.
How do you maintain the online monitoring resource? And how effective has it being in helping access to Justice in Indonesia?
Constantinus: The online monitoring resource makes sure that legal aid is line with the quality that is written in our government’s recommendation. The online reports give us feedback to ensure that legal aid work follows our program.
How is the 2030 Agenda complementary to other global platforms such as the Open Government Partnership?
John: They are complementary and should be viewed as additional commitments that governments are making to advance institutions toward open governance. The Advocacy: Justice and the SDGs toolkit provides ways that individuals can push their government to prioritize access to justice if their government is not committed to either the SDGs or OGP.
Senior Access to Justice Advisor
American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative
Constantinus Kristomo Public Legal Education and Legal Aid Center @ConstantinusKristo
John Romano Coordinator Transparency, Accountability, and Participation Network
Don’t forget to check out Part I and II of our SDG Webinar series! Links to their descriptions and recordings below: