Legal Inclusion Mapping

SDG 16: leaving no one behind

In 2015, world leaders adopted the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development 2016-2030. SDG 16 tackles the issue of legal inclusion and good governance: ‘to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
The challenge for governments, policy makers, lawyers, international organizations, NGOs and other stakeholders for the next decade then is: How do we close the global legal gap while ‘leaving no one behind’?

Legal Inclusion Mapping Method

The Legal Inclusion Mapping Method, developed by Microjustice, is a simple and cost-effective tool to implement the targets formulated in SDG 16. The Mapping Method focuses on the legal empowerment of vulnerable citizens as well as on the protection of nature.
The method has three phases:

  1. Mapping the Legal Inclusion situation of a country
  2. Drafting Comprehensive Legal Empowerment Plans with stakeholders at all levels
  3. Providing an Implementation Tool and Progress Monitoring Framework on SDG 16

The Mapping Process

Since 2018, Microjustice has started mapping the legal Inclusion situation in three countries: Bolivia, Kenya, and Serbia. Egypt and Jordan will also be mapped in 2020. While the same legal issues occur worldwide, the specific legal systems to solve these issues differ from one country to another. Therefore, extensive research on the legal practices and defining action priorities in a country is vital for developing policy targets for legal inclusion.
The first phase of Microjustice’s Legal Mapping Method consists of examining a country’s overall situation of legal inclusion and exclusion, and identifying excluded groups and their needs for legal empowerment. To do so, the Mapping Method makes use of three sets of indicators, which relate to the three agents of legal interaction: people, legal assistance and the State.

The Microjustice legal inclusion mapping teams, consisting of lawyers and professional researchers, engage with experts and stakeholders on various levels. The teams identify legally excluded groups per country by doing extensive desk research and surveys. They make use of questionnaires and interviews with hundreds of citizens, social and development organizations, academia, businesses and representatives of the excluded groups to get an accurate picture of their legal vulnerabilities. Besides this, consultations take place with legal experts, government institutions and the justice sector to get the relevant legal expertise and know how to solve those legal vulnerabilities.

For each mapped country a database is set up, presenting the state of legal inclusion according to the legal inclusion indicators. This includes the mapping results of excluded groups: their situation of vulnerability and related legal issues, and the available legal and institutional framework to solve these issues.

Agents of legal interactions

Mapping legal inclusion: indicators on country level

Mapping inclusion situation of Excluded Groups per group

SDG 16



  • Poverty level
  • Education Level
  • Groups at risk

Description of the vulnerability of the specific excluded group

Peaceful and Inclusive Societies for Sustainable Development


Accessibility, affordability, transparency and quality of the legal and institutional framework

Legal and Institutional Framework applied to the specific group, and research into the legal tools available to their legal empowerment

Effective, accountable and inclusive institutions on all levels

Legal Assistance

Accessibility and quality of legal assistance

Legal assistance available per excluded group

Access to Justice for All



Comprehensive Legal Empowerment Plan to achieve Legal Inclusion with the stakeholders:

  • Recommendations for legal empowerment at the state level
  • Legal Empowerment Service Provision Programs for excluded groups

Implementation Tool & Progress Monitoring Framework for SDG 16

Legal exclusion: six areas of urgency

The research done by the Microjustice mapping teams shows that the most urgent legal exclusion problems come down to six areas:

  1. Civil documentation- birth certificates and documents relating to personal identity which give access to education, health services, social benefits, microfinance and voting
  2. Property and housing - property registration and documents relating to property transfer and rental issues which provide legal protection and access to loans
  3. Income and work – documents for setting up businesses, co-operatives and other legal entities, contracts and basic labour issues
  4. Family law – papers related to inheritance, divorce, and child recognition
  5. Disasters and conflict – issues and documents relating to post-war or natural disasters, refugee crises, environmental issues
  6. Natural environment – issues and documents related to legal personality, representation and recognition

After the research and analysis phase is concluded, the Microjustice mapping teams draw up a Comprehensive Legal Empowerment Plan to implement sustainable and inclusive solutions to meet the excluded groups’ legal needs. The Plan involves both stakeholders in the specific excluded groups and stakeholders in the legal and government sector.

Want to know more?