Date: Thursday 26 March 2015
Venue: Garden Court Nelson Mandela Boulevard, Cape Town
The inclusion of Goal 16 relating to the “Promotion of peace and inclusive societies for sustainable development and improving access to justice for all…” in the proposed sustainable development goals (SDGs), the subsequent endorsement by the UN synthesis report and the high likelihood of this goal being retained in the post-2015 framework to be adopted in September (2015) signals an imminent victory for the global advocacy campaign for the inclusion of peace, human security and justice in the post-2015 development framework. Justice, peace and human security are strong ingredients and prerequisites for sustainable development. Access to justice allows for development to be more equitable and representative, thereby complementing the peace and human security initiatives that underpin sustainable development. But what will the adoption of goal 16 mean in reality?
While discussions on this goal have by and large been underpinned by the reference to “fragile and violent conflict affected states”, a forward-looking discussion about implementation and domestication of the post-2015 framework necessitates a conversation about its relevance to the South Africa context. This means that we also have to discuss the link between justice and peace, and how they collectively contribute to development within South Africa. Moreover, given that the post-2015 framework discussions are still ongoing, how can an understanding of the relevance of this goal to our local context help to improve the framing of the present goal and its targets?
As part of our Development Dialogue Series meant to enrich post-2015 development framework discussions, SALO was delighted to convene a workshop that brought together government, business, civil society and the diplomatic community to consider the relevance of goal 16 and related targets to the SA context and what access to justice means in South Africa. The workshop further looked at the practical means of guaranteeing “access to justice” to potentially vulnerable groups such as migrants, LGBTI persons, and people with disabilities.