On May 14, 2015 the ICJ in collaboration with the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) presented a program session titled Equity, Inclusion, Poverty Reduction....It's about Justice! Integrating Justice into the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda as part of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) and the Canadian Association of International Development Professionals (CAIDP) annual International Cooperation Days Conference. This year, the Conference had the theme “ Universal Goals Canadian Challenges”. It was held in Gatineau, QC from May 12-14th and brought together 400 of Canada’s leading development professionals from civil society, the private sector, academia and government to focus on the post-2015 global development agenda.
The ICJ/CBA session was chaired by Errol Mendes, President of ICJ Canada. The objective of the session was to consider rule of law and access to justice as a universal goal and as a means to achieve the outcomes of other proposed post-2015 sustainable development goals and, in particular, to ensure equality and inclusivity in their implementation. Panelists included Adrian Di Giovanni, Senior Program Officer, Law and Development, International Development Research Centre (IDRC); Andrea Redway, Director of International Initiatives, CBA; and Petra Andersson, Director of Programs, Parliamentary Centre. To inform the discussion each of the panelists reflected on the collective experiences of Canadian legal institutions and each of their respective organization’s work on rule of law and access to justice issues in Canada and in developing countries. The conference attendees were invited by the chair, the panelists, and the session facilitator, Jennifer Khor, CBA Project Director, to consider how integrating access to justice and rule of law initiatives -including establishing legal frameworks, strengthening institutions and empowering citizen engagement- might meaningfully advance education, health, environmental, and equality development goals.
Response to the ICJ/CBA session was enthusiastic. As one participant noted, “there was a tremendous amount of interest in the room, a good discussion, and I know that I am excited and keen to bring these debates to more of our members”.
A draft policy paper prepared by Robin Sully, Secretary-Treasurer of the ICJ, was provided to the participants as a background document to help inform the discussion.