International Development Law Organization

Rule of law key to COVID-19 recovery efforts; IDLO releases policy actions

8 Sep 2020

Policy guidance published today by IDLO underlines the importance of commitment to the rule of law, participatory policymaking and investment in justice systems for an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

IDLO’s Policy Brief: Rule of Law and COVID-19 is aimed at guiding governments, policymakers and practitioners at national, regional and global levels as they formulate rule of law-based responses to the COVID-19 pandemic that further progress towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and provide pathways to Build Back Better. It recommends eight priority actions that they can take to support and effectively manage the crisis, protect the most vulnerable and promote a just, inclusive and sustainable recovery.

“Around the world, states are grappling with the most effective way to contain the spread of coronavirus and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said IDLO’s Director-General Jan Beagle. “In order for them to be successful, it is essential that public institutions and their leadership implement transparent, effective and accountable actions that comply with the rule of law.”

Rule of law actions for an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Foster participation, involve and empower individuals in decision-making processes
  2. Ensure that emergency restrictions are anchored in the rule of law
  3. Promote fair laws and policies for recovery
  4. Invest in justice services and expand legal aid
  5. Foster equitable justice innovation
  6. Engage with alternative dispute resolution and customary and informal justice in line with international standards
  7. Enhance justice for women and girls
  8. Promote a renewed spirit of multilater­alism in alignment with the SDGs

The Policy Brief highlights three key elements – enabling legal frameworks, mitigating impact and continued investment in a culture of justice – essential for a rule of law-based response to the pandemic. 

For each of these areas, the Policy Brief also spotlights efforts IDLO and other justice actors are undertaking through past and current programs, research and advocacy.

For instance, through initiatives in Kenya and Kyrgyzstan, IDLO has been actively promoting efforts to modernize justice sector operations by harnessing and expanding the capabilities of digital justice innovation.

IDLO is supporting legal preparedness for global health emergencies and has published key lessons for managing, coordinating and expanding the building blocks of a well-functioning health system. The lessons are based on the report Advancing the Right to Health: The Vital Role of Law (2017) and its Update and Summary Guide (2018), co-published by the World Health Organization, IDLO, the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University and the University of Sydney.

IDLO also co-authored Justice for Women Amidst COVID-19, documenting major challenges for women’s access to justice in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and detailing recommendations to accelerate action and address threats to progress on gender equality.

With its emphasis on rule of law as an enabler of peace, justice and inclusion, Sustainable Development Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda can help promote stronger institutions, more successful government action and reduced inequalities that can prevent and mitigate disease outbreaks such as COVID-19.

As the only global intergovernmental organization exclusively devoted to promoting the rule of law and advancing its contribution to peacebuilding and sustainable development, IDLO believes that the rule of law is an enabler of peace, justice and inclusion, and can help promote stronger institutions, more successful government action and reduced inequalities and contribute to preventing and mitigating disease outbreaks such as COVID-19.



Policy Brief    |    Summary


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