During a year in which the rule of law became ever-more contested and politicized, the World Justice Project provided common ground and a credible guide to driving justice forward. Our latest research and engagement priorities focus on the world's most pressing governance challenges: rising authoritarianism, unequal access to justice, corruption, environmental destruction, imperiled human rights, and a public health crisis.
In 2021, the WJP Rule of Law Index will grow to cover 140 countries, providing practical insight from ordinary citizens and legal experts alike. The new report will highlight how the rule of law across the globe has been impacted by COVID-19 and point the way to needed investment to build back better.
Our recent efforts in Mexico show how effective WJP's work can be in helping policy makers, activists, government leaders, and the media understand how people perceive and experience the rule of law. Indicators from the WJP's Mexico States Rule of Law Index have been used by local and federal government to evaluate performance and identify areas for improvement: it has been cited in six state-level and four national official plans and reports. Meanwhile, WJP analysis of inmate surveys is providing key insights for criminal justice reform.
When the COVID-19 virus began crossing borders in early 2020, it did so amidst a continuing, global downturn in the rule of law—as reported in our 2020 WJP Rule of Law Index. As one crisis fed the other, WJP launched a series of policy briefs highlighting the challenges and a global competition to crowdsource solutions. Taken together, the policy series and World Justice Challenge 2021 competition and webinar series are helping identify high-impact, replicable approaches to these challenges and guiding us toward an effective recovery.
When fears of a contested election grew in the closing days of the U.S. presidential election, WJP organized a non-partisan Joint Appeal to Protect the Rule of Law in the 2020 Elections, calling on those in positions of public responsibility to "take all necessary measures to safeguard the election process so that all Americans can have confidence in the ultimate outcome." More than 150 signatories joined the effort, including prominent leaders from the private sector, law, and labor; philanthropy, higher education, and think tanks; professional associations and faith-based groups; and former military, former elected officials of both parties, and former officials from each of the past five U.S. presidential administrations.
In late 2020, WJP brought new attention to the implementation gap in environmental laws. Environmental Governance Indicators for Latin America and the Caribbean is the first-ever cross-country assessment of how environmental governance works in practice.
"It is precisely studies like the one you have generated that allow us to promote data to generate better, more comprehensive policies that can help us understand and attend to complex problems [of climate change]."
Andrea Brusco, Environmental Governance Regional Coordinator - Latin American and Caribbean Office, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Journalists Pavla Holcová, Arpád Soltész, and Eva Kubániová were awarded the 2020 WJP Anthony Lewis Prize for Exceptional Rule of Law Journalism in June of 2020. Their reporting on the murder of their friend and colleague, journalist Ján Kuciak, and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová revealed a system of rampant corruption in Slovakia. As a result of the investigations and mounting public pressure, the former government stepped down in 2018.