Rule of Law Index, Opportunity Fund Introduced During World Justice Forum Kick-Off

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The World Justice Forum is about “actions, not discussions; programs, not declarations,” said William H. Neukom during a news conference that kicked off the Forum earlier today.

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actions, not discussions; programs, not declarations

The World Justice Forum is about “actions, not discussions; programs, not declarations,” said William H. Neukom during a news conference that kicked off the Forum earlier today. The event, which will run through Saturday, is sponsored by the World Justice Project; Neukom is the Project’s founder.

The Project and the Forum are focused on advancing the rule of law through multinational, multidisciplinary collaboration. The Forum is bringing together participants from 95 countries representing 15 disciplines, including architecture/engineering, media, public health, environment, education and law, to name a few. Neukom emphasized this broad spectrum by stressing that it was important to note that we refer to global justice as rule of law, not “rule of lawyers.”

Two main elements of the Project were introduced: the Rule of Law Index and the Opportunity Fund. The new Index unveiled during the Forum is the first comprehensive measure of countries’ adherence to the rule of law. It evaluates 100 variables that make up the rule of law, which is a departure from other indices that measure only aspects of the rule of law, such as human rights or competitiveness. The information will be “put in front of people who care” about shaping their communities so that they can make strategic decisions about ways to spend scarce resources to address community problems most effectively.

The second prong introduced by Neukom, who is also president of the American Bar Association, is an Opportunity Fund that will provide seed money for pilot programs developed during the Forum. Participants will be encouraged to submit applications centered on programs to advance the rule of law in their communities. Distributions of $10,000 to $20,000 are expected to be made for those programs.

The Forum is the culmination of Phase I of the World Justice Project; future forums will analyze programs that have been incubated with the funding announced today, and with additional monies as fundraising efforts continue.

The World Justice Project's sponsors include the World Federation of Public Health Associations, People to People International, Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, the International Trade Union Confederation, the International Chamber of Commerce, Human Rights Watch, the Association of International Educators and the American Society of Civil Engineers. The American Bar Association, the world’s largest volunteer professional membership organization, is a founding member of the project.

Participation in the World Justice Forum is by invitation only. For registration by media and citizen journalists, visit http://www.abanet.org/media/events/wjf_form.shtml . Additional information is at http://www.abavideonews.org/ABA517/ .

With more than 413,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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