From Monitoring to Reform: Boosting Global Civil Society

Approximately 15 representatives from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa participated in the workshop on judicial monitoring for civil society organizations.

Approximately 15 representatives from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa participated in the workshop on judicial monitoring for civil society organizations.

July 2010 

In June, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and the Arab Council for Judicial and Legal Studies (ACJLS) hosted a workshop on judicial monitoring for civil society organizations (CSOs). The workshop, held in Amman, Jordan, trained CSO representatives on the application of a Justice Sector Monitoring Framework, which was developed by the ACJLS with previous ABA ROLI support. The workshop gathered approximately 15 CSO representatives from Asia, Africa and the Middle East and North Africa, and featured training sessions led by a diverse group of international experts.

The workshop and the framework are part of ABA ROLI’s Justice Sector Monitoring and Public Education Initiative, implemented in partnership with ACJLS and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. To develop the framework, ABA ROLI and ACJLS formed an international working group of experts from Europe, the United States, Asia and the Middle East. The working group held a series of virtual and in-person meetings, including moderated blog discussions and a meeting in Bahrain. The framework will serve as a tool for local CSOs to monitor judicial performance, empowering both regional and local organizations to participate more fully in judicial reform.

Along with presenting strategies for promoting reform, the training covered the technical aspects of judicial monitoring, including: assessment of judicial independence, effectiveness and accountability; assessment of court performance; challenges to obtaining data; and the use of surveys. For one interactive exercise, participants evaluated their respective judicial systems against the framework’s benchmarks, later identifying specific reform goals based on the findings and designing objectives for achieving reform. Group discussions examined the role of CSOs in judicial development, with interactive sessions on setting reform goals, assessing stakeholder positions, building partnerships and developing communication strategies.

Looking ahead, ABA ROLI and the ACJLS will support four CSOs from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa in piloting the framework over a six-month period. Based on the findings, each CSO will publish concrete recommendations for improving their judicial systems.

To learn more about ABA ROLI’s Justice Sector Monitoring and Public Education Initiative, contact >. 

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