Irene Khan, the Director-General of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), said weak institutions, competition for aid, and recurring conflict and violence are signs of the troubling times we are facing.
“What kind of future do we want to pass on to the next generation?” she asked, saying there were no easy answers. “However there is hope and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2030 agenda supports it.”
Khan highlighted the importance of one sub goal of the United Nations’ 16th goal of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which is to “Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all.”
She said that for the first time the development agenda has a universal scope, targeting not only developing countries in the cooperation, but each and every state. She said it creates a collective responsibility and that unlike the previous agenda, the goals are comprehensive. “The issues are linked, but the big paradigm shift is that none of these is working if there is a lack of good governance,” she said.
She said the rule of law supports all three pillars of sustainable development. She said it promotes economic development by securing property and investment while providing stability and certainty. She argued that it enhances social development via non-discrimination. Finally, she said that it helps us protect the environment by regulating natural resources and ensuring sustainable and equitable use.
Khan said informal systems still have too much importance in many parts of the world. She emphasised that the rule of law was vital to ensuring that institutions are strong and not corrupted.