International Development Law Organization
Home > News E-Library > Policy Statements

ItaliAfrica Summit

Statement by the Director-General, Ms Jan Beagle

Session IV: Vocational Training and Culture
Rome, 29 January 2024

It is a pleasure to speak to you today on behalf of the International Development Law Organization.

I would like to thank the Prime Minister and our host country, Italy, for organizing this important discussion, and for placing a high emphasis on Africa, and on capacity strengthening, in its development cooperation and G7 presidency.

IDLO was founded in Rome in 1983 as a training institute for legal professionals from developing countries.

And while in the past 40 years, it has grown into the only global intergovernmental organization exclusively devoted to promoting the rule of law, capacity development remains at the heart of IDLO.

We work with people and governments in all regions, but Africa is our largest region of operations, where we partner with many of you to promote access to justice and support solutions to complex development challenges, from food insecurity to pandemic preparedness.

IDLO’s approach combines programming, research, and policy advocacy to maximize impact.

Our work is guided by the principles of national ownership and context specificity, and we work across both formal and customary and informal justice systems.

IDLO’s experience confirms that the rule of law can be a powerful driver for peace and sustainable development.

It can help address the root causes of conflict and insecurity, promote prosperity and equitable digital innovation, and tackle challenges like gender inequality and climate change.

I would like to share briefly three concrete ways in which effective, accessible, and well capacitated legal systems can play an important role.

First, they encourage growth by providing stability and certainty and resolving disputes fairly and expeditiously.

Through initiatives like our public/private partnership Investment Support Programme, IDLO helps Least Developed Countries to build capacity and legal frameworks to attract and sustainably manage foreign investment.

In the Gambia, for instance, we facilitated the development of a new model bilateral investment treaty and supported the government in securing a favourable settlement in an investor-state dispute.

Second, the rule of law can help make development more inclusive and sustainable.

We know that the full and equal participation of women and girls in public life for example is both a human right and essential for development.

Yet one recent estimate put the annual output losses associated with current levels of gender discrimination at up to US$12 trillion, or 16 percent of global GDP.

IDLO works in partnership with UN Women, and governments in many countries, to undertake comprehensive reviews to identify and reform gender discriminatory laws. And we place priority on increasing the participation of women in all parts of the justice sector.

Third and finally, increased legal capacity can help to address complex transnational challenges.

In Somalia, for instance, IDLO has supported the development of a specialized Financial Reporting Centre to combat illicit financial flows, which is helping to disrupt the financing of al-Shabab.

In Liberia, we are working with the law enforcement agencies to reinforce their capacity to prevent and respond to trafficking in persons, which has led to the introduction of new legislation.

This work is now being expanded to the Mano River Union Countries of Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone.

And in Tunisia, in partnership with the Bar Association and the International Association of Women Judges, we are providing training on constitutional rights, particularly for vulnerable groups.

At this time of multiple crises, we welcome this initiative by Italy to promote dialogue and partnership for action at the highest political level.

We share the belief that for development to be effective it must be nationally led and include the full range of stakeholders.

Investing in proactive conflict prevention, the rule of law and people-centred justice, social inclusion, effective and accountable institutions, and capacity building, especially for youth and women, is not only good policy, but it makes economic sense.

In this context, IDLO is committed to continue partnering with you and we look forward to supporting the implementation of the Mattei plan.