International Development Law Organization

IDLO's work on COVID-19

IDLO'S work on COVID-19

As an intergovernmental organization dedicated to promoting the rule of law and access to justice in every region of the world, IDLO believes that good governance and the rule of law are central to managing the COVID-19 crisis and promoting resilience against future shocks. Now more than ever, strong legal capacity is needed to support effective national and international responses to the COVID-19 crisis. As part of its response to the pandemic, IDLO's work has focused on: strengthening legal and policy frameworks for managing the COVID-19 emergency and its aftermath; mitigating the impact of the crisis on justice systems and justice seekers; and advocating for the critical need for continued support and investment in justice and the rule of law.


  Programs on the ground


  Policy statements and commentary

  Strategic Plan 2021-2024



30 April, 2021
Rule of law can play a key role in sustaining peace by helping to address the root causes of conflict and insecurity, which often lie in issues such as discrimination and marginalization, lack of respect for human rights, unequal distribution of public goods and services, corruption, impunity, and lack of accountability. Effective laws and institutions can promote inclusive economic recovery, strengthen preparedness for future crises, and help us transition to a greener and more climate-resilient development model. IDLO’s Policy Brief on Rule of Law and COVID-19 identifies eight priority actions that collectively set out such a Roadmap for a Rule of Law-Based Recovery. View More
8 September, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every part of the world. The effectiveness of government measures to contain the pandemic and Build Back Better depends upon the capacity of public institutions and their leadership to provide transparent, effective, and accountable actions, in compliance with the rule of law. With its emphasis on rule of law as an enabler of peace, justice and inclusion, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can help promote...
21 May, 2020
Justice for Women Amidst COVID-19 documents major challenges to women’s access to justice in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It presents a global synthesis of the state of justice systems in connection with women’s justice needs, highlights innovative interventions underway in many parts of the world, and urges justice leaders and all stakeholders to take action to increase justice for women and girls during the global health emergency.  Justice for Women Amidst COVID-19...
20 July, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging governments around the world to manage, coordinate and expand the key building blocks of a well-functioning health system. At both global and local levels, the law is a powerful tool for advancing the right to health and addressing public health emergencies. Now more than ever, strong legal capacity is needed to support effective national and international responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Advancing the Right to Health: The Vital Role of Law (2017) and...


Programs on the ground

Notes from the Field: The notes series ‘Rule of Law in the time of COVID-19’ provides a perspective from the field of how the justice system has been affected by the pandemic and how national justice actors are responding and adapting to the situation. By documenting responses and practices by those working in some of the world’s most complex environments, the notes seek to provide a better understanding of opportunities and challenges for promoting the rule of law during this extraordinary time.

Read the notes

The Shadow Pandemic: Addressing gender-based violence during COVID-19: Amid the pandemic, IDLO is working around the world to eliminate gender-based violence in all its forms. With approaches tailored to the local context, IDLO is adapting existing interventions and innovating new components of programming to ensure justice for women is not derailed during this crisis.

Read more

Pandemic Preparedness and Response Project: IDLO, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), is implementing a self-funded project that aims to strengthen legal and policy frameworks to prevent, detect and promptly respond to Public Health Emergencies of International Concern and other public health risks, including COVID-19. 

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Strengthening Food Security in Honduras and Uganda: IDLO, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is implementing a program that aims to enhance food security and nutrition for vulnerable groups, particularly women and girls in the context of a COVID–19 emergency response and recovery in Honduras and Uganda.

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28 - 30 April 2021

SDG 16 Conference 2021

Transforming Governance for a more Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Future: SDG16 as the roadmap to respond to COVID-19 and build back better

Building on the outcomes of the first SDG 16 Conference held in Rome, Italy, in May 2019, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) and the Government of Italy organized a second SDG 16 Conference. The 2021 Rome Conference considered the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on SDG 16 as well as the transformative contribution SDG 16 can make in helping to safeguard and accelerate progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.




Thursday 4 February 2021 | Friday 2 October 2020  | Wednesday 1 July 2020

Crisis Governance Forum Series

The Crisis Governance Forum is a series of multi-stakeholder dialogues for sharing insights, experiences and solutions among policymakers and practitioners at all levels involved in the COVID-19 crisis management. A main focus of the speakers' interventions, and of the interactive dialogue that follows, is to illustrate concretely the relevance of the 2030 Agenda, and in particular SDG 16, as a roadmap for the policies and measures required to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and build more resilient and just societies in the future.



23 October 2020

Justice for Women and Girls: Moving from Commitment to Action Amidst COVID-19

The need to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to women’s lives and livelihoods, as the pandemic has created new obstacles to gender justice or exacerbated existing ones. It has curtailed women’s access to justice institutions, magnified gender gaps in digital access, worsened risks of gender based violence, threatened further injustice against women workers, and many more. As part of the Global Week for Justice, this event discussed how we can address justice gaps and accelerate joint action and investment on justice for women and girls. 



08 October 2020

Access to Justice in the Context of COVID-19 in East Africa: Experiences from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda

The webinar facilitated discussions on the status of access to justice in East Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing experiences and lessons from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania; analysis of the various country adaptation responses to emerging access to justice needs, including for the women and girls and other marginalized groups; and proposed recommendations on appropriate response strategies.  



16 September 2020

Democracy Day in the Time of the Pandemic: A Sustainable Response to the Global Crisis based on Multilateralism and the Rule of Law

A central element of the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic is that the quality and sustainability of the recovery will depend to a very large extent on governance capacity at all levels – local, national and international; on the transparency and accountability of public institutions; and on strengthening people’s trust in the state. International IDEA and IDLO co-organized an online event co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Sweden and Italy to the United Nations to discuss



30 July 2020

COVID-19 and Trafficking in Persons: The role of first responders

The role of first responders – police officers, immigration officers, prosecutors, judges, civil society, medical personnel and others – is essential to effectively combat trafficking in persons, but in many countries the role of these responders has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar – held in the context of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons (30 July) – brought together speakers from Liberia and other African countries, to discuss the impact of the pandemic on their work and share lessons learned, good practices and emerging strategies.



30 June 2020

Gender-based violence and COVID-19: Emerging solutions in justice programming

There is increasing evidence that the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19 is fueling widespread violations of women’s rights, including elevated risks of domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence (GBV). At the same time, the increase in GBV cases has been accompanied by a decrease in the capacity of the justice sector to respond to the rights and needs of survivors. IDLO hosted a webinar discussion with global and national experts focusing on GBV-specific justice responses in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, highlighting lessons, entry points and emerging solutions available to ensure access to justice for GBV survivors.


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Policy statements and commentary

A rule of law based response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Statement by IDLO Director-General, Jan Beagle

Read the statement

Data, laws and justice innovations to address violence against women during COVID-19

Joint blog post with the World Bank Group

Read the blog

COVID-19: Pre-existing gender discrimination provides fertile ground for increased inequality, to the detriment of food security and nutrition

Joint blog post with the Secretariat of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS)

Read the blog

"No country is immune": IDLO interviews health law expert on COVID-19

Interview with Prof. Magnusson, The University of Sydney

Read the interview


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Strategic plan

On 24 November 2020, IDLO launched its new Strategic Plan 2021-2024 following its endorsement by the Assembly of Parties. The Plan was developed against the backdrop of COVID-19, the most significant disruption the world has faced since the Second World War. Based on the concept of ‘people-centered justice’, IDLO’s new Strategy seeks to empower justice seekers and emphasizes that justice systems must be built around a better understanding of people’s needs and human rights. The Plan reflects our understanding of the rule of law as both an outcome and enabler of peace and sustainable development as well as our commitment to maximizing the rule of law’s contribution to a more peaceful, just and equitable future.


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