Rome, November 29, 2017 – As the number of conflicts around the world continues to rise, IDLO's Director-General Irene Khan has pointed out that “at the root of popular discontent, fragility and conflict lie problems of injustice, inequality, exclusion and deprivation”.
“Strengthening the rule of law cannot wait until violence has subsided or the economy has recovered but must occur alongside humanitarian response, political action and economic development as an important measure of stabilization,” Ms. Khan noted. “Peace cannot be sustained, nor development made sustainable without investment in the rule of law.”
Her remarks were made at IDLO’s 2017 Partnership Forum that is addressing the relationship between peace and development and the role that the rule of law plays to promote stable and inclusive societies.
Held annually in conjunction with the meeting of IDLO’s Assembly of Parties, the multi-stakeholder Partnership Forum is taking place at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Rome on November 28-29, 2017.
“Societies with greater levels of inequality are more fragile and their economies grow more slowly. Building more efficient institutions and protecting human rights means investing in sustainable peace,” said the Italian Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Senator Benedetto della Vedova.
Strengthening the rule of law and promoting inclusive, sustainable growth are increasingly recognized as necessary components of a comprehensive approach to peacebuilding, to prevent conflict by addressing its root causes.
In a series of interactive dialogues, participants of the Partnership Forum are discussing:
- ways to build effective and accountable institutions, examining the importance of context sensitivity, local ownership and effective change management;
- strong legal frameworks, equitable access to economic opportunity and effective dispute resolution mechanisms as powerful vectors of sustainable, inclusive economic development;
- gender equality, women’s empowerment, and the contribution of the rule of law to ensure fair and equitable outcomes for women and girls.
Delivering the keynote address, the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination, Fabrizio Hochschild, spoke from his personal experience in countries experiencing and emerging from conflict, noting: “The importance of the rule of law is enshrined in the preamble of the United Nations Charter. However, over the last 20 years there has been a great realization of the fundamental and practical importance of the rule of law as the basis and prerequisite for sustainable peace and development.”
Other speakers during the first sessions included the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development of South Africa, the Attorney General of Somalia, the Legal Counsel of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and others.
As the organization’s first female Director-General, Ms. Khan emphasized IDLO’s achievements in promoting gender equality over the past four years, noting that “justice for women improves when justice is dispensed by women”.