Achieving a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda: The Contribution of the Rule of Law to Equity and Sustainability

This week IDLO, together with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the context of Italy’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, organized a conference in Rome on on “Achieving a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda: The Contribution of the Rule of Law to Equity and Sustainability.”  The objectives of theconference were set in the context of the ongoing discussions at the UN on framing an effective, truly transformational post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

The conference discussed the contribution of the rule of law as a fundamental factor to advance inclusive development and ensure its sustainability, as well as its impact on reaching key goals of the post-2015 agenda. Ambassadors and Representatives of Rome-based Missions and Permanent Representations to the UN attended, as well as experts leading on the post-2015 agenda from the UN in New York, EU Member States, and other capitals.

 I was very pleased to have the opportunity to attend this conference as IDLO staff.  It was held at FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.  (FAO is a pretty big deal in Rome.  It seems like every other person works there.)  At the beginning of the day, I escorted speakers and participants into the building.  This gave me the chance to talk and introduce myself to some pretty influential people in law and development!  People came from all over to attend, and I was very impressed with the participants and the conference as a whole.

The conference itself was held in a large room, each seat with its own microphone and earpiece to hear the panelists.  (The earpiece went over one of your ears – I felt like a CIA agent.)  I had never seen such a set-up before, so I was very impressed.  I know I already said that, but this was, like, really cool.

There were two main panel discussions during the conference.  The first was “Shifting the Development Paradigm: the Contribution of the Rule of Law,” which focused on the contribution of the to the sustainable development agenda through strengthening laws and courts, building institutions, empowering women, eradicating poverty, and promoting social inclusion.  Anyone who knows me knows I was thrilled to hear about empowering women!  Faustina Pereira, the Legal Services Director at BRAC (the world’s largest NGO), spoke a lot about gender inequality (while I was in my seat fangirling). 

The second panel was “Achieving Food Security: Ensuring Sustainability through the Rule of Law,” which explored the connection between the rule of law, food security and nutrition, with an emphasis on land tenure, environmental protection, and the right to food.  The panelists discussed how access to land and environmental sustainability are critical for women, indigenous communities and other marginalized groups, and ultimately for poverty eradication and sustainable development. 

All in all, a great day and a great perspective on the rule of law globally (although my feet were sore after a full day in “professional flats”).