Global Week for Justice: Justice for All for a fair, resilient, and inclusive recovery


“The pandemic, its economic and financial impacts, and the socio-political dislocation that we are now witnessing, form the biggest challenge that justice systems around the world have ever faced. That is why justice leaders must come together.”

(Photo: Giannis Papanikos /

Justice in a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global emergency. The public health crisis is the worst since influenza killed 50 million people in the wake of World War I and the economic downturn is the most threatening since the 1930s. The pandemic exposes inequalities, exacerbates existing injustices, and contributes to a wave of protest and unrest in a growing number of countries.

Justice systems and justice workers are on the frontline of the response to the pandemic, asked to design, implement, and enforce restrictions on the freedom of movement and of association that aim to prevent the spread of infections. Lockdowns and other emergency measures create new risks of discrimination and abuse and can be used to close legitimate channels for public protest, can limit the right to information, and can complicate judicial and legislative oversight.

The pandemic will also increase demand for justice. The OECD Economic Outlook projects that global GDP may decline by as much as 7.6 % this year. This will lead to a wave of layoffs, bankruptcies, debt, evictions, land loss, and disputes between businesses and consumers. The lockdown has increased domestic violence and is triggering a spike in divorces and other family disputes.

Finally, the pandemic has laid bare the disparate impact of the coronavirus on vulnerable groups and a wave of protests has resulted in growing recognition of the need to address remaining systemic discrimination. The persisting inequalities across the globe call for action by governments, including justice actors, to advance greater transparency and participation, and strengthened accountability for justice outcomes.

Just as health leaders are working together to scale up testing, seek new treatments, and develop a vaccine, there is an important opportunity for justice leaders to work together to transform justice systems so that they can respond to the changing needs of people, communities, and societies, while ending the abuses that risk destabilizing societies and creating mechanisms for grievance redress.

(Photo: Mike Dotta /

Global Week for Justice

The Global Week for Justice is initiated by Justice Canada, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies. It will be held from 19–24 October 2020.

The global community working for justice will come together virtually for a series of dialogues, brainstorms, and round tables to advance SDG16’s call to ensure equal access to justice for all during the Decade of Action to Deliver the Global Goals. The Global Week will include:

  • The Global Dialogue of Justice Leaders will provide a platform for people-centered justice and for putting justice institutions and actors at the service of communities and societies during this complex emergency. It aims to support countries’ efforts to implement SDG16 to ensure equal access to justice for all. Chaired by Justice Canada, Ministers of Justice from around the world will come together to discuss strategies and plans to increase justice as part of COVID-19 response and recovery.
  • The Inaugural Meeting of the OGP Coalition on Justice will be the first official meeting that brings together a growing coalition of justice ministers and partners in OGP to share how they advance justice through commitments co-created by government and civil society in their Action Plans and to discuss future action. It is co-hosted by the Department of Justice Canada, a member and leader of the Coalition and the Open Government Partnership.
  • The Workshop on Investing in and Financing Justice will provide an opportunity to reflect on the need for investment in effective and accessible justice and explore innovative policy approaches to increasing access to civil justice financing and responding to legal needs across different sectors and legal needs issues. It is co-hosted by the OECD and the Open Society Justice Initiative.
  • The Round Table on Justice Data Priorities and the Pandemic will be a discussion among policymakers and data producers to generate better and more timely justice data to help target the COVID-19 response. The pandemic has made justice data more urgent, because justice problems are increasing and changing and more difficult as data collection efforts are hindered by public health measures. The Round Table is convened by the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, World Justice Project (WJP) and Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI).
  • The Private Sector and Justice for All brainstorm session will identify opportunities for the Business Leaders for Justice initiative which brings together business leaders from all sectors to forge a coalition to accelerate access to justice for all and to elevate ambition by sharing their work and spotlight successes, innovations, and measurable results. The brainstorm is initiated by the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), Responsible Business Initiative for Justice (RBIJ), and Global Citizen.
  • The Webinar Series on Enhancing Access to Justice for Women in the Context of Religious and Customary Laws will foster dialogue among women human rights defenders (WHRDs) and religious and customary justice actors. The focus will be on ensuring the protection of women’s rights and access to justice in contexts where religious and customary laws are prevalent, within a framework of rule of law and international human rights standards. The webinar series are convened by Cordaid and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).
  • The Panel discussion on Justice for Women and Girls: Moving from Commitment to Action Amidst COVID-19 seeks to discuss how we can address justice gaps and accelerate joint action and investment on justice for women and girls. What lessons or good practices are in place to resolve women’s justice problems, especially those exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic? How can we urge increased national commitment and action on justice for women and girls? The panel discussion is co-organized by: International Development Law Organization (IDLO), UN Women, World Bank, The Elders, and the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies.

More information on the events and how you can participate can be found here: