Rwanda: Justice Sector Moves to Domesticate SDGs

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The justice sector and its partners are working on ways to domesticate Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to make them resonate with local context.

Officials said the domestication process is needed given that SDGs goals are set globally yet they are not a 'one size fits all' approach and each country needs to tool them in national development context.

Officials from several government and private institutions, and NGOs, last week, held a two-day technical meeting to discuss how to domesticate goal 16 of SDGs. The governance and rule of law indicators are enumerated under Goal 16, as fundamental catalysts for development.

The goal is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels, according to the United Nations. According to Xaverine Mukaneza, justice sector policy planning and strategy specialist at the Justice Sector Coordination Secretariat, the workshop was an opportunity to discuss technically how SDGs related to justice can be domesticated to promote equitable justice to all Rwandans and equally. Mukaneza said Goal 16 of SDGs has 17 indicators but the justice sector is concerned with 10 of them.

"We have discussed how to domesticate SDGs in justice sector, this was a technical workshop, and we need to work on our goal of promoting peace for sustainable development through justice," she said.

Mukaneza said the next step would be putting together the recommendations which would also be shared with the steering committee before taking them to implementers.

"We are optimistic that most of the targets would be met as the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda indicated that most targets are practical within the Rwandan context while others are partially reflected but ways to implement them will also be discussed," Mukaneza added. She said what is needed from various institutions was information sharing to ensure that what is being done reflects what is needed at the implementation level. There is also a monitoring and evaluation matrix draft that would help institutions to monitor and evaluate themselves on the implementation system.

The global goals

Last year, the United Nations and world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 SDGs to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030, among others.

They were adopted after the conclusion of Millennium Development Goals, as global targets to achieve sustainable development. Rwanda is among countries which succeeded in implementing MDGs and this partly informed the decision to make Rwanda the host of the African Centre of Excellence for SDGs.

Before adopting the post-2015 development agenda, Rwanda had been selected to pilot the agenda "helping to strengthen capacities and build effective institutions" as well as "governance and rule of law."

Participants at last week's meeting said it helped them exchange views on how Goal 16 can be domesticated and all indicators met, and committed to work together to make it successful.

"When you look at justice sector, we needed to see how to domesticate some targets because implementation varies from country to country, we have been looking at what fits us and we saw that most of them are possible, this will help all of us in sustainable planning for better reporting and competing globally," said Liberal Bujyambere, professional and development officer at Rwanda Bar Association. The meeting brought together 14 public institutions, private sector and non-governmental organisations. It was organised by the Ministry of Justice and the United Nations Development Programme.

Lamin Manneh, the UN resident coordinator, hailed the Government for having started SDGs domestication process not only in justice but also in other sectors, adding that the process would help the country attain its desired goal of enjoying peace, justice and human rights. He said integrating SDGs into national, sub-national, and local development visions and plans would make the implementation process easier.

"The justice sector and partners need to work together in terms of defining the justice sector-related indicators and targets and to integrate them in their development plans and budgets," Manneh told The New Times yesterday.

"The implementation and domestication of SDG16 is crucial as it contributes to most of the other goals, because without peace and security, development cannot be sustained. The better we plan the domestication process, the easier the implementation. If the justice sector agrees on a set of indicators and targets that are realistic and that respond to the needs of the people, then the implementation and monitoring will be easier."

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