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Justice for the Poor Newsletter, December 2011

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About Justice for the Poor (J4P)

The World Bank’s Justice for the Poor (J4P) program supports the emergence of equitable justice systems.  The program focuses on identifying and supporting substantive justice outcomes, rather than pursuing predetermined institutional structures.  The program operates in countries where legal pluralism presents a particular development challenge. As a result, J4P is marked by three essential characteristics:

  • The program engages the justice sector as a whole, working with the range of justice institutions present in each country including state, non-state, and hybrid systems.  
  • The program designs and implements innovative justice initiatives across development sectors, recognizing that rights and accountability are instrumental to achieving broader development outcomes.  
  • The program is grounded in evidence-based approaches as improving justice outcomes and processes of reform requires better understanding of existing structures and dynamics. 

Justice for the Poor works in countries across East Asia and Pacific (IndonesiaTimor-LestePapua New GuineaSolomon Islands and Vanuatu), as well as in Africa (Sierra LeoneKenya and Nigeria).


 Read more about the J4P program


Program Highlights


Solomon Islands


State-Supported Community Justice Workshop Explores Strategies to Engage With Community Justice Systems


GroupThe J4P program, with the support of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands and the World Bank’s South-South Experience, held a three-day workshop in Honiara on the role of state-supported community justice systems. The workshop built on the on-going Justice Delivered Locally project of the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs of Solomon Islands and brought together practitioners, academics and government officials from Africa, East Asia and the Pacific working on or in areas relevant to state-supported community justice systems.  Participants discussed characteristics of legitimate and effective state-supported community justice systems including flexibility in decision making, ways to incorporate custom into the justice system, and mechanisms to enhance community ownership.  Resources from the workshop, including video interviews with various workshop participants, are posted on the J4P website.  For more information please contact Peter Chapman in Washington DC or Daniel Evans in Honiara.  





Supporting Community Discussion Around Land and Natural Resource Decision-Making


The Vanuatu Cultural Center, with support from Jastis Blong Evriwan (Justice for the Poor program in Vanuatu), has launched a pilot initiative titled Exploring Governance Arrangements for the Communal Management of Land.” Under the initiative, the Vanuatu Cultural Center will facilitate discussion on governance issues in target communities and support processes of inclusive and equitable group decision-making with regard to land and natural resources. The Vanuatu Cultural Center, a statutory body, responsible for the "preservation, protection and development of various aspects of the rich cultural heritage of Vanuatu", will document lessons learned from the initiative with a view to informing national policy dialogue on land leasing and the development of advisory services for communities. For more information please contact Milena Stefanova.


Papua New Guinea


Might the Ok Tedi Mining Agreements in Papua New Guinea Improve Economic, Social, and Governance Outcomes for Women?


Women hold fewer productive assets than men, yet research shows that increasing women’s control of resources has an out-sized positive impact on general welfare.  Women in Papua New Guinea are often excluded from decision-making processes around the extraction of natural resources but are disproportionately burdened by the costs of mining and typically receive fewer of the benefits.  The J4P program is researching negotiations, implementation, and economic, social and governance outcomes for women under the Community Mine Continuation Agreements (CMCA) (first agreed in 2001 and revised in 2007) for the Ok Tedi Mine in Western Province, Papua New Guinea.  Unlike other agreements in Papua New Guinea, women played a role in negotiating the Ok Tedi agreements and the revised CMCA provides for improving women’s outcomes from mining both in terms of participation and benefit sharing.  For more information please contact Nicholas Menzies.




Ministry of Justice to Explore How Alternative Dispute Resolution May Expand Access to Justice at the Local Level


LiberiaParamountChiefCourt.jpgThe Ministry of Justice of Liberia, with support from the J4P program, the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) unit and the World Bank’s State and Peacebuilding Fund, will soon begin a scoping study of alternative dispute resolution and grievance mechanisms at the local level. Project activities will build upon existing government and civil society efforts, including the work of the Land Commission’s Land Dispute Resolution Taskforce, and help to design pilot projects in the areas of alternative dispute resolution, community-based justice, and legal empowerment initiatives.  For more information please contact Peter Chapman.


J4P Welcomes New Staff


Christopher Nelson has recently joined the team as Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist.  Based in Sydney, Chris is responsible for supporting all J4P-EAP programs in designing and reporting on M&E, and is also leading the J4P program’s thematic work on development effectiveness.


Events and Publications

GenderWDRSession.jpgJustice for the Poor Discusses Innovations and Empowerment for Development at the World Bank’s Law, Justice and Development Week

The Justice for the Poor program convened panel discussions exploring justice aspects of the World Development Report 2012 (Gender Equality and Development) and 2011 (Security, Conflict and Development).  The first included speakers from UNWOMEN, the World Bank’s Development Economics Vice Presidency, the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction and Economic Management's Gender and Development Group, and the Justice for the Poor program, and discussed the role of women's access to justice in challenging inequalities and promoting equity.  The second featured speakers from the United Nation's Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions, International Development law Organization, US Agency for International Development and the Justice for the Poor program, and focused on the role of justice institutions in helping break cycles of fragility and conflict.


Discussion on Law and Justice in Melanesia and Beyond

Justice institutions underpin access to resources and essential services, and are therefore a key focus for development. The question is how, and in what forms, fair, effective and legitimate institutions can or should be supported.  The World Bank’s September Praxis session featured Ali Tuhanuku, J4P Team Leader of the Justice Delivered Locally Project in Solomon Islands, who discussed the role of justice institutions in Solomon Islands and what can be done to support fair and equitable outcomes for all citizens of Solomon Islands. 


Cambodia's Arbitration Council: Institution-Building in a Developing Country

This paper, a joint effort of the International Labour Office and the World Bank, provides background on the establishment of the Arbitration Council, a quasi judicial body that deals with collective labor disputes in Cambodia. The story of the Arbitration Council provides an example of how development partners (first the ILO and later the World Bank and AusAID) can support iterative approaches to justice reform with measurable results. 


How Capital Projects are Allocated in Papua New Guinean Villages 

This report presents findings from a household survey investigating the determinants of the location of local infrastructure projects at the lowest level of government in Papua New Guinea.  Over the last fifteen years Papua New Guinea has worked to bring government closer to the people and this study assesses the impact of institutional changes and indentifies the importance of other factors, in particular local collective action.  A key finding is that wards with residents active in social groups are more likely to receive development projects. 


Rethinking Justice Reform in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States 

Drawing on donor experiences in Liberia and Afghanistan, this chapter by Deval Desai, Deborah Isser and Michael Woolcock first problematizes the conceptual underpinnings of existing justice reform efforts: that of rule of law linked to state building, and that of justice reform linked to economic growth.  The chapter then argues that justice reform is best understood as an adaptive rather than (primarily) technical problem and one that requires a sustained commitment to understanding the idiosyncrasies of the context(s) in order to more correctly identify binding constraint problems and possible solutions. 


Perspectives on Involving Non-State and Customary Actors in Justice and Security Reform

This volume published by IDLO and DIIS and co-edited by Justice for the Poor program manager Deborah Isser is a synthesis of papers presented at “Access to Justice and Security: Non-state actors and the local dynamics of ordering” held in Copenhagen in 2010.  The volume aims to combine insights from empirically-based scholarly studies with discussions of policy options and international programs that engage non-state justice and security provision.


Between International Law, Kastom and Sustainable Development: Cultural Heritage in Vanuatu    

On the basis of a case study of Vanuatu’s Chief Roi Mata’s Domain – an official UNESCO world heritage site since 2008 – this article, co-authored by the Coordinator of the Justice for the Poor program in Vanuatu, Milena Stefanova, explores options for utilizing international and regional agreements in the sustainable development and preservation of heritage sites.  The ultimate question is how can indigenous culture be protected and simultaneously sustainably accessed as a ‘development resource’?

Top 5 in 2011

The most dowloaded J4P publications of 2011 are: 

  1. Public Land Governance in Solomon Islands 
    Shaun Williams, J4P Briefing Note, February 2011
  2. Community Land in Timor-Leste | Tetum 
    Draft Policy Options Paper, October 2010
  3. The Hybrid Courts of Melanesia
    Daniel Evans, Michael Goddard with Don Paterson, Justice and Development Working Paper Series, Vol. 13, 2011
  4. Leasing in Vanuatu: Findings and Community Dissemination on Epi Island  | Bislama 
    Milena Stefanova, Raewyn Porter, and Rod Nixon, J4P Briefing Note, November 2010

The Justice for the Poor program is supported by a variety of partners, including the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID); Government of the Netherlands; Government of Japan; Government of Ireland; and the Governments of Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden.

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Last updated: 2011-12-21

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