Honiara, Solomon Islands – A mapping of formal justice and police services across the country was launched today by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs Ethel Sigimanu to guide planning and policy making in the justice sector.
The report, entitled Mapping of Justice Sector Service Provision in the Solomon Islands, charts the delivery of justice services and includes information on related non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) services for women and girls affected by violence.
Several maps which show the array of services provided by the government and NGOs will be shared with relevant counterparts and published with the report on the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office website.
“The fact that this mapping proves useful shows that there is a lot of work being done across many provinces by many different actors,” said Ms. Sigimanu.
“We can also see from these maps that there are many provinces that do not have regular access to formal justice services.”
The maps and report are a step towards providing evidence-based planning to achieve the goal outlined in the Justice Sector Strategic Framework 2014-2020 for all people in Solomon Islands to have access to a robust, independent justice system.
“This is where we are as a sector at the end of 2018,” said Ms. Sigimanu.
“We have made progress in some areas but still have significant work to do in others.”
She added, coordination among the many different ministries, NGOs and development partners working in the justice sector across Solomon Islands’ nine provinces is key for service provision.
The Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs and UNDP jointly undertook the mapping of justice sector service provision in 2018 as the initial activity of the Access to Justice Project. The project is implemented by the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs in partnership with UNDP and supported by the Government of Australia.
In her remarks at the report launch, UNDP Solomon Islands Country Manager Azusa Kubota said she hoped the narrative description and illustrative maps in the report would support evidence-based discussions and decision-making processes in the justice sector.
She said with support from the Government of Australia, stakeholders and UNDP are pursuing one of the report’s recommendations, which is a comprehensive baseline survey of perceptions about current access to justice services and their effectiveness as well as the public’s justice sector needs.
“UNDP, through its extensive experiences globally, has seen that efforts around justice sector reform without a clear baseline and indicators to measure progress have serious limitations in ensuring short as well as long-term results because it is not clear where the reform efforts should rest, nor is it clear what, if any, progress is being made,” said Ms. Kubota.
She added that to ensure no one is left behind, justice services need to reach the roughly 80 percent of Solomon Islanders who live outside of urban centres.
“We must ensure women, people with disability and, indeed, all on the margins of society have the chance to have a dignified life characterized by fairness and justice,” she said.
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