from Development Channel

Welcome to the CFR Special Series on Global Justice

The Scales of Justice, France, 2009 (Courtesy Reuters/Stephane Mahe).

February 20, 2014

The Scales of Justice, France, 2009 (Courtesy Reuters/Stephane Mahe).
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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

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In the coming months, the Development Channel will devote a special series to the theme of Global Justice. We will explore the relationship between written law, access to justice, and the realization of freedom and opportunity for all people.

The series will highlight diverse perspectives from practitioners and experts around the world, who will shed light on issues that are often invisible to those not directly affected by injustices. The first piece in the series, from Natalie Bridgeman Fields, founder and executive director of Accountability Counsel, stressed the importance of impartial arbitration of disputes between communities and major global development finance institutions like the World Bank, to ensure that the needs of the worst-off are not ignored in development projects. Upcoming pieces will investigate global justice from a variety of perspectives, examining issues as diverse as land grabs, legal empowerment, and how the international community can better support communities in their struggles for dignity, fairness, and sustainable livelihoods.

In my series last year on post-2015 development issues, I argued that justice is fundamental to global development, and that it is feasible, politically possible, and imperative to include governance and human rights in the post-2015 global development agenda. I have since argued that to realize those goals we need not only fair rules on paper, but also empowered people and communities with access to advocates who will work to ensure that justice is made real for the worst-off – a “lawyers without borders” approach.

Support is growing for such global justice measures. Just this week, a coalition of civil society organizations issued a call to action demanding that the United Nations include justice in the next round of global development goals.

What do you think? How does justice relate to development? Are these concepts inextricably intertwined, or are they distinct policy agendas with inevitable trade-offs, as some of my own research suggests? To submit an Op-Ed for consideration for inclusion in our Global Justice series, email me at tlawson-remer@cfr.org.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

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