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Informal Consultations on the Summit of the Future

Statement by International Development Law Organization (IDLO), delivered by Henk-Jan Brinkman, Permanent Observer of the International Development Law Organization to the United Nations

Thursday, 9 November 2023


Thank you for the opportunity to take the floor on behalf of IDLO.

The events over the last few weeks have brought into stark reality - yet again - why universal observance of the rule of law is critical to all that we do. It is critical to the functioning and legitimacy of multilateralism and the UN; it is critical to ensuring fairness, equity and consistency in approach; it is critical to ensuring accountability and justice.

This is valid at the national level as much as at the international level. This is why the rule of law and justice must lie at the foundation of the Summit of the Future and the Pact for the Future. Likewise, they must be at the heart of the Declaration on Future Generations and the Global Digital Compact. They are critical in making progress on the 2030 Agenda, strengthening multilateralism and advancing an agenda that promotes peace and security and protects the interests of future generations and the planet, as well as deliver climate justice.

Let me elaborate further with the following: 

Firstly, it is our hope that the Summit of the Future and Pact for the Future will strengthen the implementation of the 2030 Agenda by addressing sustainable development challenges, such as inequalities and exclusion, that far too often lead to violence. A failure to do so will further erode trust in goverments and multilateralism and condemn current and future generations to an unequal, unjust and insecure existence. 

Secondly, the rule of law at the national and international level is critical to provide a legal underpinning to justice, equality and inclusivity. It will be vital therefore to ensure the rule of law is mainstreamed throughout discussions leading up to the Summit next year and reflected in the Pact for the Future, in all of its parts, and other outcome documents agreed upon by Member States.

Thirdly, throughout the process, we must draw on the expertise of diverse stakeholders. If we want to achieve the SDGs for all, an inclusive whole-of-society approach that puts people at the centre, by addressing and responding to their needs, is key. This requires meaningful engagement and consultation to ensure trust, ownership and buy-in, with a particular focus on vulnerable and/or marginalized groups, especially women and girls, youth, Indigenous people, LGBTQI+, and disabled and displaced peoples. 

Excellencies, the Pact for the Future, the Declaration on Future Generations and the Global Digital Compact must be solution-orientated and look towards the future, creating a pathway for impactful reform and change as envisaged by the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda, with the rule of law as a foundational element. In this respect, agreement on a Pact and the holding of the Summit itself next year should not constitute the end, but the end of the beginning of our work toward that change.  

This means that these forums should not merely be a drafting exercise, but entail substantive discussion, inputs and the engagement of stakeholders and other experts, as well as consideration of the Secretary-General’s numerous policy papers. This should inform our actions in the coming months and years, as reflected and codified in the agreed outcome documents.

IDLO stands ready to engage actively in these processes in the next 10 months and offers its support to the co-facilitators and the Member States as much as we can.