Policy

A4ID plays an important strategic role in creating sustainable solutions to eradicate global poverty.

Policy

Our positioning provides a unique vantage point to assess and comment on the way law interacts with the international development agenda.

We partner with

A4ID’s role as a pro bono facilitator and training organisation within the legal and development communities provides a unique vantage point to assess and comment on the way law interacts with the international development agenda. Critically, this positioning also allows us to bring together a diverse range of actors and perspectives.

A4ID partners with law firms, academic institutions and development organisations to conduct research and policy work, particularly in relation to the fast evolving areas of business and human rights and the nexus of law and sustainable development.

Business and Human Rights

What it's about

Global corporations and small businesses alike actively participate in political, economic and social interactions as specialised organs of society performing specialised functions. Through these interactions, they inherently and unavoidably influence human rights.

‘Business and Human Rights’ concepts provide frameworks for evaluating this influence and provide guidance on managing it to avoid harm and promote benefit. The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (‘UNGPs’) is a global standard for action and accountability against which the conduct of both states and business entities should be assessed. The UNGPs are based on the three pillar UN ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework under which all business enterprises have a responsibility to respect human rights and to address any negative impact. This approach differs significantly from concepts of corporate social responsibility (‘CSR’), clearly outlining responsibility and accountability.

Our vision

Our vision is the law and lawyers playing their full part in the eradication of global poverty. Our mission is to inspire and enable lawyers to join the global fight against poverty and to ensure that legal support is available for those engaged in that fight.  We come to the issue of business and human rights from an international development perspective and embrace the UNGPs in particular as a supporting framework for aspects of our mission.

“A4ID will encourage and assist the international legal and development community in their implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles.”

The UNGPs represent a significant development and step toward the universal upholding of international human rights. International legal instruments and initiatives will contribute to the continued evolution of this agenda, with lawyers playing a vital role in helping businesses avoid involvement in human rights violations. Lawyers must understand international human rights principles and how they relate to businesses’ operations. They also need to know how these principles relate to their advice to business clients and to internal operations.

Our work

Through our pro bono broker, legal education and policy work we are helping the legal sector meet its responsibility to bring about sustainable development and we are assisting development organisations to understand and utilise the tools provided by frameworks such as the UNGPs. Specifically, we;

  • Maintain A Guide for the Legal Profession on the UNGPs.
  • Provide training on Business and Human Rights within our annual Law and Development Training Programme.
  • Hold thematic Knowledge Groups that provide a deeper understanding of the concept.
  • Conduct Business and Human Rights Workshops for law firms in Europe.
  • Conduct Business and Human Rights training courses in Kenya, India and elsewhere, strengthened by ongoing peer-peer knowledge-sharing relationship networks.
  • Provide free legal advice to international development organisations, through our partner law firms, with regards to all matters in relation to the UNGPs as well as Human Rights more broadly or other areas of law where advice is required as part of the global fight against poverty.
  • Have joined the UN Global Compact and committed to their 10 Principles.

The Law and Sustainable Development

What it's about

Sustainable development is economic and social development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The law is both a tool to be leveraged and a target to be achieved in its own right. Law can facilitate and promote sustainable development or it can act as an obstacle. Sustainable Development concerns a wide range of thematic areas including health, education, climate and equality. The law is capable of assisting in all areas. Legal empowerment and the rule of law are critical to sustainable development.

From 2016, the world embarks on a framework of wide-ranging and comprehensive goals and targets through the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The merging of the post-Millennium Development Goals and post-Rio+20 processes means committing to eradicate rather than reduce global poverty, harmonise the development and environment agendas and address inequality by leaving no one behind.

Our vision

Our vision is the law and lawyers playing their full part in the eradication of global poverty. Our mission is to inspire and enable lawyers to join the global fight against poverty and to ensure that legal support is available for those engaged in that fight.  We come to the issue of business and human rights from an international development perspective and embrace the UNGPs in particular as a supporting framework for aspects of our mission.

“A4ID will raise the critical role of the rule of law and legal institutions in meeting the SDGs.”

From a policy and advocacy perspective, the reality that consistent and fair implementation of sustainable development requires robust legal frameworks is often overlooked. The law can facilitate or hinder development in many direct and indirect ways. This is true at the local, national, regional and international levels. Although it is important to note that the SDGs are not legally binding, this is all the more reason to identify soft and hard legal mechanisms at all levels which could be brought to bear to aid in implementation.

Our work

Through our pro bono broker, legal education and policy work we are helping to bring about sustainable development and we are assisting development organisations to understand and utilise the tools provided by frameworks such as the SDGs. Specifically, we;

  • Provide training on Sustainable Development within our annual Law and Development Training
  • Hold thematic Knowledge Groups that provide a deeper understanding of the concept.
  • Provide free legal advice to international development organisations, through our partner law firms, with regards to all matters focused on achievement of the SDGs
  • Are working with partner law firms, academic institutions, businesses and development organisations to create and maintain a Legal Guide to the Sustainable Development Goals. This is a targeted analysis of the role of legal mechanisms in the advancement of the SDGs, evaluating the part that both soft and hard legal agreements, as well as governance structures and institutions must play in successful implementation. The Guide will raise awareness, encourage and facilitate decision makers’ and stakeholders’ utilisation of legal mechanisms, provide a reference point for lawyers and NGOs and illustrate key steps to be taken by the legal community.
Our legal guide to the SDGs

A4ID is creating a Legal Guide to the Sustainable Development Goals.

At international and local levels, A4ID wants to see the law being used to achieve the SDGs as quickly and as fully as possible.

A4ID’s Legal Guide to the SDGs will be a foundational analysis of the role the law could and should play in the achievement of each of the SDGs.

To be launched in early 2017, the Guide will be an essential tool for SDG-focused organisations including governments and their policymakers, the business community, the legal community and civil society. It has been written in partnership with leading international law firms, development organisations, companies and academics.

During 2016, A4ID is conducting a targeted analysis of the role of legal mechanisms in the advancement of the SDGs, evaluating the part that both soft and hard legal agreements, as well as governance structures must play in successful implementation. By highlighting key linkages with the law and by putting the SDGs in a legal context, we will encourage the inclusion of legal thinking in implementation policies and advocacy. We will assess which legal mechanisms have brought about successful policies and implementations and which have failed in doing so.

The Guide will:

  • Raise awareness of linkages between legal frameworks and the SDGs and highlight the role of the law and the legal community in implementation.
  • Encourage and facilitate decision makers’ and stakeholders’ utilisation of legal mechanisms to advance sustainable development by illustrating key legal challenges and opportunities.
  • Provide a practical legal reference tool, with case studies, for lawyers and NGOs practising or interested in the development areas covered by the SDGs.
  • Illustrate key steps to be taken by the legal community within their national context and within their daily business activities to ensure they are not obstructing achievement of the SDGs and are instead contributing positively.

Contact us to get involved