Nadi, Fiji - Access to justice is a clear priority in the Pacific region and South-South Cooperation initiatives are the bold means to strengthen cooperation for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Pacific Regional Conference, convened by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), endorsed regional level South-South cooperation for programming to enhance rule of law and access to justice, with support from the Australian Government.
Key national justice sector officials from 11 Pacific island countries (PICs), including the Cook Islands, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu, met to discuss challenges in the existing systems and practices, with an eye toward development of potential solutions over two days, 7-8 March in Nadi, Fiji.
The regional delegates agreed that strengthening the populations’ ability to understand their legal rights and the mechanisms in place to assist them is a key element in improving access to justice for vulnerable populations and the population in general across the region.
Ms Ernestine Rengiil, Attorney General for the Republic of Palau, one of 22 participants from the region said, “the mapping of the state of access to justice in the region shared in this Conference was useful for us to identify the areas we need to address further. Training for the police and human rights in prisons would be among the issues we need to look at. Regional cooperation for access to justice is necessary to overcome the limited resources in Palau.”
The regional initiatives seek to focus on the rule of law situation across the Pacific through the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 5, which commits governments to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and SDG 16, which seeks to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build eﬀective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.