Intervention by the Permanent Representative of the Argentine Republic, Amb. Martín García Moritán
It is an honor for me to speak today on behalf of the Minister of Justice of Argentina, Germán C. GARAVANO, who could not be here today due to an unforeseen circumstance.
First, I would like to address the question of "Justice for All", as a central promise of SDG16. Argentina has worked in a close partnership with the Netherlands and Sierra Leone to contribute to the achievement of justice for all. Our countries are very different, but we’ve created a strong partnership in leading the Task Force on Justice. We have been joined by The Elders in chairing the Task Force and their political and moral leadership has strengthened our resolve and ambition to accelerate the implementation of SDG16.
We’ve worked together to better understand what we need to do to build just societies. We believe there are three things we need to do to provide equal access to justice for all: 1) to place justice at the heart of sustainable development; 2) to put people at the center of justice systems; and 3) to move from justice for the few to justice for all.
To further the shift to people-centered justice, we are mobilizing others and bringing together ministers of Justice to work on people-centered justice. We need to focus on people’s everyday justice problems and help people resolve them. We need to change how people experience the justice system. This requires a fundamentally different approach.
To close the justice gap, we must challenge some basic assumptions about what justice systems must do and how they do that. Those challenges are:
Putting people at the center
Focusing on a legal needs perspective and a “whole-of-person” approach.
Supporting multi-stakeholder and inclusive partnerships
Optimize investment on access to justice.
Develop unmet legal need studies.
The Argentine Government has committed itself to achieve a higher level of State openness, with a more active role of citizens in designing, assessing and controlling the outcome of the administration. This implies the development of a new philosophy of government, oriented towards a more accessible, transparent, participative and responsible public administration.
In Argentina we have invested heavily in such a different approach with the creation of over 90 Centers of Access to Justice — which provide legal services to those who are furthest behind and serve as a gateway to other services provided by the state. Recently we have expanded their reach to the most remote provinces via mobile units.
In addition, we are working with vulnerable and marginalized groups from the North-Western region of my country, by implementing the North-Andean Corridor for Legal and Medical Assistance, through a system of stations and mobile units. In this way the presence of the State becomes real for these populations.
Moreover, the Argentine Ministry of Justice has adopted a philosophy of open justice in all its actions and has created specific programs to that end. The Program Justice 2020 incorporates the values of participation and transparency. It is a platform for face-to-face and on-line dialogs through thematic working groups for the purpose of fostering and ensuring active transparency and citizen and institutional participation in designing, implementing and following public policies, projects and legislative initiatives on innovation and judicial modernization.
The Open Justice Program is focused on applying the principle of transparency and access to information. The Open Judicial Data Portal ensures access to information and has 57 open databases on topics such as access to Justice, transparency and fight against corruption, gender and Justice or the Argentine penitentiary system.
The Ministry of Justice has also established a Quality Program targeting the Argentine Justice System. This Program focuses on three themes: applying the ISO-9001 (nine thousand and one) standards to 150 (one hundred and fifty) internal procedures of the Ministry; supporting the modernization of judicial institutions at the provincial and federal level; and giving a National Award for Judicial Quality.
A systemic approach in justice policies is fundamental to fulfill the 2030 Agenda, particularly for the SDG16 that sets forth the need to build more just, pacific and inclusive societies.
Policies of open justice and access to justice implemented by the Argentine Ministry of Justice are regional examples of an effort in which the justice traveled where the need of people was. By these means the Argentinian justice sector is building the institutional architecture to achieve a greater social inclusion.
I thank you.