Gaborone, Botswana, September 9, 2020 – In continued efforts to increase access to information UNDP and the Government of Botswana launched the Botswana Legal Information Institute project office at the Government Printing and Publishing Services. This initiative is delivered through a joint programme “Support to the fulfilment of Human Rights, access to Justice and the Empowerment of Youth and Women” Project (2018 – 2021) which seeks to increase access to law and legal services as a way of promoting the rule of law and access to justice in Botswana.
“As Botswana seeks to accelerate towards a knowledge-based economy and the broader transformation agenda, access to justice and legal empowerment and a clear and accessible legal and policy regulatory framework are more essential than ever,” said Margunn Indreboe Alshaikh, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative to Botswana at the event. With the COVID-19 pandemic, access to technology and digital literacy have become critical for ensuring equal access to and continuity of services as well as economic recovery. Ms. Indreboe Alshaikh added that open access to legal information also promotes investor confidence which is key to inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
The Botswana Legal Information Institute (BotswanaLII) Project was established under the joint UNDP Government Programme to provide access to legal information online and free of charge. In fact, the project is building on the work done by the Attorney General’s Chambers in establishing Botswana e-laws and the legislations published online up until 2013. The courts have also been publishing cases and distributing them on CD Rom for a fee.
Botswana is well placed, therefore, to move forward, to leapfrog into new technology and ensure its legal documents are widely available online, free of charge and Government welcomes the partnership with UNDP to achieve this goal.
A Reference Group was formed in April 2019 to guide the process of establishing the BoswanaLII. The Reference Group includes Government Printing and Publishing Services, Administration of Justice, Attorney Generals’ Chambers, the National Assembly, University of Botswana and the Department of Information Technology.
Under the auspices of the Project, African LII, Laws Africa and Kenya Law visited Botswana in 2019 to share their experiences of providing free access to law online, the challenges, the pitfalls and the successes. This knowledge exchange will continue throughout the project.
UNDP has supported training of key government staff in the Development and Management of Legal Information Systems at the University of Cape Town Law School in October 2019. With the provision of equipment to enable the rapid digitization of documents at the new BotswanaLII Project Office, work can now start in earnest.
The launch of the Botswana LII Project Office at the Government Printing and Publishing Service therefore marks an important milestone in access to information in Botswana. Laws, policies, court decisions, Government Gazettes and parliamentary documents dating back to Independence will soon be available and searchable through the click of a button on the BotswanaLII website.
The Botswana LII Project is well aligned with key government priorities.
Relevant NDP11 KPIs are:
Transparency of Government Legislation and Policy making
Efficiency of Legal Framework and Regulations
Providing an online platform for the laws of Botswana will go a very long way towards achieving these KPIs.
Botswana’s National Development Plan 11 (NDP 11) counts good governance, observance of
the rule of law, and stable security environment among the critical ingredients of development.
The Government of Botswana recognizes these principles and pledges to continue to
strengthen the country’s systems of effective governance, as well as support efforts to improve
governance at regional and international levels.
The BotswanaLII Project will also contribute towards achieving the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
· Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all
· Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels
· Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels
· Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements
For more information and media interviews, contact:
Lebogang Tlhaloso, UNDP Communications Associate - Tell: +267 363 3745; | Mobile:+267 71 686 682; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joella Marron, Human Rights Advisor – Governance, - Tell; +267 363 3000 | Mobile; +267 75 938 852 Email; email@example.com