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Legal Empowerment

 

Legal Empowerment: Advancing Good Governance and Poverty Reduction

Law can be used to help the poor and disadvantaged exercise greater control over their lives. As a by-product, "legal empowerment" contributes to good governance, poverty reduction, and other development goals. This Asian Development Bank-funded report explains the connection between legal empowerment and the achievement of these broader objectives through an examination of various legal empowerment programs in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mongolia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. It analyzes their impact and why some programs have succeeded and others failed. A variety of recommendations for mainstreaming legal empowerment programs in development projects is also included.

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World Bank: Legal Empowerment of the Poor

The assignment of this paper was related to the launch of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor (LEP), which held its first meeting on January 20, 2006. This paper draws on research and consultations conducted over a short ten week period leading to a first draft that was presented to the President of the World Bank on January 10, 2006. This revised version has benefited from a wide range of comments by lead specialists and managers responsible for relevant Bank units. The paper will need to be further refined and modified into a full-fledged strategy document. At this stage, its main purpose is to spearhead a reflection that shapes an Action Agenda for the World Bank on legal empowerment of the poor. It maps out a field in which the World Bank has been involved for the last ten years and sheds light on the concept and its key elements. It does not seek to be a detailed description of LEP tools and activities, or to provide an exhaustive conceptual analysis. This paper does not attempt to provide a "cast-in-stone" definition of legal empowerment of the poor. Rather, it aims to map out the principles that underpin LEP. Finally, the paper rests on the assumption that where LEP initiatives are undertaken there is an existing state structure (even if weak) that it is willing to address the challenges of legally empowering the poor. This assumption leaves to be addressed in situations where the state is absent, such as post-conflict situations.

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