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SDG Summit Leaders’ Dialogue 4: “Strengthening integrated policies and public institutions for achieving the SDGs”

Statement by the Director-General, Ms Jan Beagle

SDG Summit Leaders’ Dialogues
Leaders’ Dialogue 4: “Strengthening integrated policies and public institutions for achieving the SDGs”
New York, 18 September 2023

As Director-General of the International Development Law Organization, the only global intergovernmental organization exclusively devoted to promoting peace and sustainable development through the rule of law, it is a pleasure to participate in this Leadership Dialogue.

We have heard a sobering message from the full range of stakeholders at this SDG Summit.

A perfect storm of crises, including conflict, climate change, and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, have wiped out decades of hard-won progress and put peace and sustainable development in grave jeopardy.

But we have also heard commitments that give us hope.

As we look at ways to reverse negative trends, allow me to draw on IDLO’s experience in almost 100 countries since its creation 40 years ago, to offer three concrete ways in which SDG 16, and the rule of law, can accelerate progress on the 2030 Agenda.

First, rule of law is essential for building trust in public institutions, which will be key to promoting the integrated, whole-of-society approaches needed for sustainable development.

It can enable institutions to better understand and meet people’s needs, tackle the corrosive influence of corruption, and resolve disputes before they can spiral into violence.

A people-centred approach to justice systems can empower women, young people, and others who have been historically excluded, with the tools and knowledge to claim their rights and participate in decision-making.

Second, SDG 16 on peace, justice, and inclusion, with the rule of law at its core, can help to catalyse progress across all seventeen Goals.

Many SDGs draw on the principles of inclusivity, equity and non-discrimination and require the creation of legal frameworks and institutional capacity for their implementation.

New policy frameworks are also needed to promote cross-sectoral collaboration on complex, interlinked issues to maximize synergies, while managing trade-offs.

For instance, effective laws and dispute resolution systems provide the clarity and predictability countries need to attract investment, and promote economic development, while ensuring that it is both sustainable and inclusive.

Third, the rule of law is needed to address complex, transnational challenges that pose significant obstacles to sustainable development.

Tackling issues of climate change, humanitarian crises, extreme inequality, and the digital transformation will require new mechanisms and processes that allow countries to cooperate fairly and equitably.

It will be essential to increase political and financial support for the rule of law and justice institutions in national budgets and development assistance, particularly in fragile and crisis affected contexts.

And to integrate the principles of equality, justice and human rights in governance and policymaking, including in new and emerging areas.

IDLO pledges to continue to support our partners to unlock the rule of law’s potential as a driver of peace and sustainable development.