A photo of the Identifying What Works plenary speakers. Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation is speaking.

The World Justice Forum 2022: Building More Just Communities gathered over 1,200 people from 116 countries in The Hague, Netherlands and online for a week of learning, collaboration, and agenda-setting for the international rule of law and justice community. From May 30 to June 3, the Forum hosted participants from across civil society, government agencies, the private sector, inter-governmental organizations, the donor community, and media. 

The World Justice Project (WJP) and co-producing partners focused the Forum agenda on three intersecting themes critical to addressing the root causes of injustices exacerbated during the pandemic: Anti-Corruption and Open Government, Access to Justice, and Equal Rights and Non-Discrimination. The program featured dynamic plenary discussions, interactive working sessions, the Justice Expo exhibition hall, off-site visits to explore local initiatives in The Hague, presentation of the World Justice Challenge finalists and winners, and cultural activities including music, dance and cartoonists. 

Following a special welcoming reception on May 30, the action-oriented agenda began on May 31 with a focus on diagnosing key challenges and priorities across the Forum’s three themes. 

See Day 1 highlights with speakers including WJP Chairman of the Board William Hubbard, Ugandan justice official Edgar Kuhimbisa, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Pam Wood, Sierra Leone Justice Minister Mohamed-Lamin Tarawalley, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, and European Commission Vice President Věra Jourová:

June 1 was dedicated to highlighting promising approaches for impact and change, with a focus on effective rule of law projects presented by 30 World Justice Challenge finalists from 27 countries. 

See Day 2 highlights featuring WJP Board Member and Rappler journalist John Nery, former Polish Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka, Uzbekistan Justice Minister Ruslanbek Davletov, Kenyan Justice official Paul Kimalu, and International Trade Union General Secretary Sharan Burrow:

June 2 featured recommendations and commitments to take action on the key issues identified and highlighted during the Forum. And on June 3, the Forum hosted partner side events and workshops on a diverse array of rule of law topics.

See Day 3 highlights including from the World Justice Challenge award ceremony and remarks from WJP Executive Director Elizabeth Andersen, former Irish President and Chair of the Elders Mary Robinson, Ruth Bader Ginsburg Legacy Keynote speaker Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, CIVICUS Secretary General Lysa John, and WJP Co-founder and CEO William Neukom:

For the first time ever, this year’s Forum was held in a hybrid format to allow interactive participation for both in-person and online attendees around the world. To support broad and diverse engagement, Arabic, French, Russian, and Spanish simultaneous interpretation was offered for all key program components, in addition to the Forum’s primary language of English. 

At the close of the Forum WJP Executive Director Elizabeth Andersen shared the Forum’s final statement, which was drafted collaboratively with partners to capture key insights and priorities for strengthening the rule of law that emerged from the week’s activities. This included a commitment to rescue the global rule of law from its current downward trajectory, a call for re-doubled investment and political will towards a people-centered justice agenda, and a confirmation in our shared conviction that the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, and particularly the fulfillment of SDG 16, remains the best path forward for all countries. 

These commitments have already been bolstered by numerous outcomes that emerged from the Forum, which served as a critical platform to establish and advance rule of law priorities. 

Initiatives and outcomes that emerged from the 2022 World Justice Forum include: 

Many more outcomes continue to develop and will be featured in a final report coming in September. 

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Rede Wayuri is a network of 55 Indigenous communicators in the Rio Negro region of Brazil. Through their use of WhatsApp and local radio, they have not only reported on topics like illegal mining in the Amazon, but also distributed accurate information about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines.   At the World Justice Forum in The Hague this past June, Rede Wayuri was presented with the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Award for their outstanding work in countering disinformation by bringing accurate, reliable information to 23 Indigenous peoples and 750 communities in five local languages and Portuguese. 

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When I was taking off to attend my first World Justice Forum, I had every expectation that I would hear the brightest minds debating the most complex social issues of our time. I was ready to learn about challenges unknown to me, faced by communities outside of the United States. What I didn’t expect was to see so many effective and transformative solutions that had already been implemented across the globe. The Justice Expo was not a showcase of proposals, suggestions, or hypotheses. It was an inventors’ forum: a spectacular display of evidence that dramatic change and global healing are achievable through innovation.

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During the World Justice Forum, Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, founder of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM), called on the international community to save Afghan music, women musicians, and all Afghan musicians. He described the human rights that have been stripped away since the Taliban’s August 2021 takeover made Afghanistan a “silent nation.” You can read Dr. Sarmast’s full remarks from June 1, 2022, in The Hague below, edited for clarity, and watch a performance by ANIM students who now live in exile Portugal.  

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As one of Cambodia’s first human rights defenders, Vandeth recently made the difficult decision to stay home when the World Justice Project invited 30 World Justice Challenge finalists to showcase their exemplary rule of law projects at the World Justice Forum in The Hague.

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