IDLO Statement at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly - Sixth Committee on Item 85 on the Rule of Law at the National and International Levels
12 October 2021
Delivered by Sarah Papineau, Permanent Observer a.i. to the United Nations, IDLO
Thank you, Madam Chair.
As the only global intergovernmental organisation exclusively devoted to promoting the rule of law’s contribution to peaceful and sustainable development, the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) is pleased to address the Sixth Committee.
Allow me to congratulate you, Madam Chair, and the Bureau on your election.
Madam Chair, for over a year, humanity has been humbled by a microscopic virus.
The pandemic is exacerbating existing inequalities within and among countries, and its brunt has been borne by the poorest and most vulnerable.
Data shows that within 18 months the pandemic has reversed five years of hard won development gains since the SDGs were adopted.
More than anything, it exposed the fact that the status quo is not working and that we must make fundamental choices about the kind of future we want to build.
In Our Common Agenda, the Secretary-General set out his vision for a more inclusive and effective world capable of addressing our shared challenges.
IDLO welcomes the report’s acknowledgement of the need for a “new vision” for the rule of law.
Drawing on our three decades of experience to promote the rule of law and access to justice around the world, allow me to offer two elements that will be important parts of our new vision for the rule of law.
First, it must put people and their needs at the center of justice systems in order to renew the social contract.
Chair, so many of the issues driving mistrust are ultimately rooted in injustice and inequality: corruption, lack of access to justice and services, impunity, and unequal distribution of wealth.
By protecting and empowering the vulnerable and ensuring fair, equitable, and transparent decision making, the rule of law can help rebuild public trust in government.
Effective laws and institutions can address the multiple and intersecting layers of discrimination faced by women and girls, and others living in conditions of exclusion.
Whether supporting the judiciary to automate its operations in Kenya, establishing ADR centres in Somalia, or bringing justice officials and communities together through the Cadres de Concertation in the Sahel - IDLO works through both formal and informal pathways, including digital platforms, to promote this people-centred approach to justice.
Second, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that to address global challenges, national efforts must be complemented by cooperation at the international level.
This will be critical to the global new deal proposed by the Secretary-General.
A new vision for the rule of law must therefore enable us to address complex and transnational challenges that traditional instruments of governance are ill-suited to handle.
This will require rules-based mechanisms that allow countries to cooperate fairly and equitably on issues like climate change, vaccine inequity, extreme inequality and the digital divide.
For example, a rule of law approach to climate action, in line with Sustainable Development Goals 13 and 16, can help accelerate transformative, sustainable, and low-carbon development.
It can also empower communities to take the lead in climate action, helping those who are most affected have a voice in setting climate and biodiversity-related policies that help reduce inequalities and eliminate climate-related drivers of conflict.
Under its new Strategic Plan, IDLO is working to promote effective, fair and transparent rule-based policies and institutions, particularly in fragile and developing contexts.
Madam Chair, in conclusion IDLO is committed to working with the United Nations and Member States to promote this emerging, broader vision for the rule of law.
Together we can work to restore trust in institutions, put people at the centre of justice, and leverage the rule of law to build peace and sustain development.
The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) enables governments and empowers people to reform laws and strengthen institutions to promote peace, justice, sustainable development and economic opportunity.