Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Jennifer Harhigh at the Standing Committee of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO)

Rome, April 6, 2021

Good morning.

First, I would like to congratulate Pakistan and Ambassador Saleem on chairing your first IDLO Standing Committee meeting.  I’d also like to welcome His Excellency Dr. Papa Abdoulaye Seck of Senegal to the Standing Committee.  I look forward to working closely with you both.

Ambassador Lomonaco, Ambassador Nolasco, distinguished colleagues, it is a pleasure to see you again, even remotely.

Director General Beagle, thank you for your timely report.

As in recent meetings, we congratulate IDLO on ensuring the well-being of your staff and your partners while also maintaining most of your programming as scheduled.  There is simply no time to lose.  IDLO’s pioneering work identifying best practices in responding to COVID-19 in a manner consistent with the rule of law, for example, is urgent and broadly relevant for many countries.

In fact, this is precisely the type of nimble response that can raise global awareness of IDLO’s unique mandate, enabling continued growth and diversification of IDLO’s funding sources.

The United States underscores the importance of IDLO’s anti-corruption work in the Bahamas, Ukraine, and elsewhere.  This work is especially critical if we expect a sustainable economic recovery to the ongoing pandemic.  In this regard, we welcome IDLO’s active participation in the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group.  And we congratulate Italy – as President of the G20 – for focusing the world’s attention on this urgent problem.

Thank you for the update on climate justice.  IDLO is positioned to meaningfully contribute to this year’s global summits, from the UN Food Systems Summit to the UN Climate Change Conference, also known as COP 26.  Here I’d note that, in order to catalyze global action to address the climate crisis, President Biden will host a Leaders Summit on Climate from April 22-23.  We see this as one of several milestones on the road to COP 26 this November in Glasgow.

On the critical issue of Host Country Agreements, we hope recent engagement in Ukraine, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan results in proper legal protections for IDLO personnel and programs.  The United States reaffirms its readiness to contribute to these diplomatic efforts, as the Director General, General Counsel, and Standing Committee deem appropriate.  In this regard, we recall Resolution 3, adopted unanimously during the Assembly of Parties in November, which Urges all Member States to support IDLO in its efforts to conclude Host Country Agreements.

We welcome the recent meeting between Director General Beagle and the IDLO Board of Advisors.  We are encouraged to have several Board Members with us today.  The United States is eager to partner with the Board to expand IDLO’s global impact.

Director General–I’d like to applaud IDLO’s achievements and your leadership in achieving gender parity among senior levels.  Fantastic news for the women and girls IDLO serves around the world, but also an example for other international organizations.

I would also like to welcome IDLO’s new Geneva representative, Mark Cassayre, and other new IDLO employees.  We look forward to working with you.

I’d like to close with a word about Myanmar.  This is personal for me: I served at the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon from 2008 to 2011.  I know first-hand the importance of IDLO’s access to justice work in that country.  As the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield wrote last week in the Washington Post: “As the world stands in solidarity with the Burmese people, we must match their courage and push forward sustained, global action to help secure democracy and peace.”  So we welcome IDLO’s February 11 statement of deep concern on the suspension of the democratic process in Myanmar, and we look forward to IDLO’s return, when possible.   I noted in the report the impact on IDLO’s work, and am curious if you have any updates on the alternative approaches IDLO is considering to keep working in a very difficult context.