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Ambassador Tom delivers the U.S. National Statement for the International Development Law Organization (IDLO)
November 24, 2020

First, I would like to welcome the Director-General to her first Assembly of Parties.  Director-General Beagle, the United States appreciates your leadership and strategic vision for IDLO.  In particular, we applaud your demonstrated commitment to open dialogue with IDLO member parties, as well as your tireless promotion of the rule of law and access to justice as essential components for sustainable development and lasting peace.

I would also like to recognize today’s high-level representation by member parties.  I have first-hand experience of just how busy your schedules are:  many of you are working to find solutions to reverse troubling trends in hunger and malnutrition; others oversee bilateral relations with our extremely dynamic host country; and some of you somehow manage to do both.  Your presence here today reflects the fundamental truth that sustainable development and lasting peace depend on the rule of law, now more so than ever.

With respect to the DG’s report, the United States commends IDLO on its adherence to its core principles of Inclusion, Integration, and Innovation during this year of unprecedented challenges.  As the only intergovernmental organization exclusively dedicated to the rule of law as an enabler of peace, sustainable development, and human rights, IDLO is uniquely positioned to build judicial capacity in challenging operating environments.  We commend IDLO for its rapid shift to today’s realities through greater user of webinars, for example, and your success in utilizing technology to sustain a busy schedule of trainings and project oversight work.  As a result, IDLO has managed to largely keep pace with its pre-pandemic objectives without compromising the safety and wellbeing of its staff and partners.

The United States welcomes IDLO’s work to promote inclusive economic development.  I cannot stress enough the importance of this work.  All countries are facing immense popular pressure to accelerate their nation’s economic recovery.  Experience shows us, however, that this pressure can compel states to pursue shortcuts and/or fall victim to predatory loans and investments, undermining the prospects for economic growth and political stability for years to come.  IDLO’s capacity building and anti-corruption programs help level the economic playing field.  Economic justice, at the individual and societal levels, is a non-negotiable requirement for sustainable, long-term economic growth.

Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding.  The wide range of activities captured in the DG’s report to this Assembly accurately captures IDLO’s unique mandate and capabilities.  Each of these areas – from increasing access to justice for vulnerable populations, to combating gender based violence, to improving justice sector effectiveness – urgently demands the world’s attention.

We, IDLO’s 37 member parties, also have our work cut out for us.  We need to work together to promote IDLO’s work amongst policymakers in our capitals, and in the capitals of our neighbors and partners.  We need to introduce IDLO to non-governmental organizations, including the large foundations and corporate social responsibility entities that could bolster IDLO’s work with resources and expertise.  We should all be encouraged by rapidly growing global demand for capacity building in the justice sector.  We need to work together to enable IDLO to expand its impact to meet this demand, while also ensuring that IDLO’s growth does not come at the expense of the organization’s excellent communication with member states and sound oversight processes.

With that, the United States very much looks forward to today’s Assembly of Parties meeting, including discussion of the Strategic Plan, Management Plan, and Budget; an update on progress made securing Host Country Agreements, which protect our collective investment in IDLO’s work; and Elections to the Standing Committee, Audit and Finance Committee, and Board of Advisors, each on which will play a crucial role in shaping IDLO plans and operations in the years ahead.