July 11: The Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and UNDP on Monday, July 9, launched the Enhancing Access to Justice through Institutional Reform (2018-2020) project aimed at enhancing access to justice of women, poor and vulnerable groups in Nepal.
To be implemented through the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs (MOLJPA) jointly with the Office of the Attorney General and Nepal Bar Association, the $4.6 million project is funded by the Norwegian Government and UNDP.
Norway’s Ambassador to Nepal Lasse Bjørn Johannessen, and UNDP Country Director Renaud Meyer signed the agreement on Monday at the ministry in Singha Durbar, Kathmandu. The Norwegian government will contribute $3.6 million and UNDP $1 million to the project, according to a joint statement issued by the Government of Nepal and UNDP.
The three-year project aims to enhance people’s access to justice by helping the ministry make needful reforms in the legal aid regime in Nepal. The project will also support in effectively implementing the integrated legal aid policy, currently being finalized by the Ministry. The policy aims to provide free legal aid services to the poor and vulnerable people across the country.
The project will help reform the criminal and civil justice systems by providing necessary technical and capacity support to the judicial committees set up at the local governments of Province 2, 6 and 7, particularly with the aim to promote access to justice of women, poor and vulnerable groups, said Rajib Gautam, secretary at the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.
In order to promote participation of women and vulnerable groups in the justice system, the project will provide scholarships, internships and other professional opportunities to law students coming from these groups. The project will explore opportunities to support effective delivery of justice for inclusive economic development through tailored trainings to the concerned stakeholders.
“We are pleased to sign this new agreement and are grateful for the generosity of Norway which enables UNDP to continue working under the leadership and ownership of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs to improve the rule of law and access to justice, particularly for the poor and most vulnerable population of Nepal,” said Renaud Meyer, country director of UNDP Nepal.
“We want to make sure that no one is left behind when it comes to accessing justice as it is a fundamental pillar of any democracy and at the heart of both the Constitution of Nepal and the mandate of the UN.”
“Upon the request from the Government of Nepal, Norway is very pleased to be here today and commit ourselves to continue our support in the justice sector. The project we have signed today will enhance access to justice through an instrumental reform in Nepal,” said Norwegian Ambassador Lasse Bjørn Johannessen, adding, “Norway appreciates the commitment of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs to take on the lead for implementing this project.”