As Wednesday, January 21th, 2015, marked the first full day of meetings for attendees at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, members of one of the Forum’s Global Agenda Councils aim to advance efforts in the pursuit of justice.
The Network of Global Agenda Councils is a global community of over 1,500 thought leaders who are the foremost experts in their fields of academia, business, government, international organizations and society. Launched in the fall of 2014, the Global Agenda Council on Justice formed to commit the next two years to together “improving the delivery of justice in a nation-based justice system, particularly in countries with weak rule of law and where rulers no longer rule.”
In addition, the Council says it is working to identify emerging and innovative mechanisms, notably new technologies, and assist countries with weak legal systems to enhance the rule of law and deliver justice to its people.
“One of the Global Agenda Council on Justice’s aims is to support efforts to advance the adoption of the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, especially in its initial commitment to the pursuit of justice,” says Lisa Ventura, Global Agenda Council Manager.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years.
The SDGs follow, and expand upon, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were agreed by governments in 2000, and are due to expire at the end of this year.
Members of the Justice Council attending this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos aim to elevate the conversation on justice, in agreement that recent years have seen an increased focus on questions of transitional justice and rule of law in conflict and post-conflict societies, enhancing the need to ensure a common basis in international norms and standards.
“It is my belief that the World Economic Forum is an utterly unique opportunity for the world’s governmental, corporate, and civil society leaders to constructively and thoughtfully engage the most important and complex global issues of our time,” says Gary Haugen, Member of the WEF Global Agenda Council on Justice and President of International Justice Mission, based in Washington, DC.
“This is especially important for issues, such as the reality of lawless violence, that might otherwise stay far below the radar because they disproportionally affect the lives of very poor people, who number more than 2 billion, but have weaker voices and less access to governmental and economic power. Uniquely, these voices are brought to the table of global engagement at the highest level because of the World Economic Forum’s work to engage and include civil society leaders who live and serve amongst these marginalized constituencies and communities. It is my hope and belief that seeking this kind of comprehensive conversation and mutual understanding will ultimately help leaders in all sectors build a stronger and safer global context for business and beyond.”
There has been encouraging progress made in recent years to elevate rule of law on the global agenda as not only a human rights issue, but also a needed focus for business and global governance issue.
For the first time, 193 state leaders declared during the UN General Assembly opening debate in 2012 that the rule of law is important, and adopted the Declaration on the Rule of Law at national and international levels.
But there is still much work to be done to be certain the issue of justice is understood to be essential to enhance human rights, encourage economic development, promote accountable governance and peacefully resolve conflict. It is this very pursuit that fuels the work of the Global Agenda Council on Justice.
To learn more about the Global Agenda Council on Justice, including members and current projects visit: http://www.weforum.org/content/global-agenda-council-justice-2014-2016-0.
International Justice Mission is the world’s largest international anti-slavery organization, working to end modern-day slavery, human trafficking and other forms of violence against the poor by rescuing and restoring victims, restraining perpetrators, and transforming broken public justice systems. Learn more at www.ijm.org.