As we start a new year, it’s important to reflect on a global perspective on access to justice.
In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, which are a collection of 17 global goals designed to serve as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all and intended to be achieved by the year 2030. It was a huge international achievement for the SDGs to have included for the first time a goal for “access to justice,” signaling the understanding that justice was integral to enhancing a person’s quality of life and making a sustainable future for our planet. The Maryland Access to Justice Commission helped inform this global effort on a local scale by participating in the Sustainable Cities Initiative convened by the University of Baltimore and developing access to justice indicators to track progress towards the global goals. For many countries internationally, access to justice starts with something we take for granted here – a birth certificate.