A4ID Annual Conference

Towards a more Post Pandemic World STARTING IN

A4ID’s inaugural Annual Conference will explore the current trends and themes at the juncture of rule of law, pro bono and international development. The two-day conference will focus on the substance, practice and processes of international pro bono technical assistance, with a particular focus on UK practitioners and lessons from other geographical areas.

This year, the theme of the Conference: Towards a more just post-pandemic world, will focus on ideas that are emerging as responses from the rule of law pro bono space to address the challenges of the on-going pandemic. Practitioners from the legal, development, and corporate sectors will be brought together with leading academics for what will surely prove to be an engaging dialogue on the future of pro bono in furthering the rule of law, within the context of the Sustainable Development Goal agenda.

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Day 1:
25 June 2021
Principles, Policies & Challenges for Advancing Pro Bono and the Rule of Law
Description COVID-19 has transformed social, political and economic realities across the world. The opening session of our conference will convene leaders from across government and the legal profession to discuss the role of legal pro bono technical assistance in meeting new challenges, improving access to justice and the rule of law worldwide. What new difficulties do we face, and what solutions can we employ to address them, in order to advance the rule of law throughout the pandemic and beyond?
Description Partnerships across jurisdictions allow organisations to advance a locally led and long-term approach to their international legal pro bono work. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international travel and online working methods has particularly affected how these partnerships maintain progress towards their shared goals. This panel will explore why and how international peer-to-peer partnerships can ensure the sustainability of outcomes from pro bono legal and judicial initiatives. Drawing on their diverse global experiences, panelists will consider how relationships and partnership goals have evolved during the pandemic and what the key opportunities are for partnership working post-pandemic.
Description Legal pro bono is understood and practiced differently across the world. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the nature of legal pro bono has continued to adapt and change. Collaboration during this time has never been more important. From the experiences of pro bono convenors and justice actors, this session seeks to explore the local, regional and international challenges experienced in mobilising and delivering legal pro bono during the pandemic and provide an insight into the lessons and strategies to inspire, coordinate and deliver more impactful pro bono to advance access to justice around the world.
Description The rule of law plays a foundational and essential role in supporting and advancing climate justice. Two dimensions of the rule of law must pre-exist for this to hold true. First, strong rules need to be established, and secondly, those rules need to be enforced strongly. Rule- making can be witnessed in the work of the round table and working group tasked with ensuring Nigeria meets its international legal obligations under the Paris Agreement or that in the statutes and court rules of the first ever Ethiopian Environmental Tribunal. Both efforts were made possible with the support of pro bono lawyers. Strong laws on the books however are worthless unless they are effectively enforced. Fully cognisant of this, lawyers have embarked on an ambitious and exciting climate litigation movement at scale. To date, many of the key wins and highlights have been based on a human right strategy linked to the human right to a healthy and safe environment. In the post-pandemic and post-COP26 era, a horizon scan reveals a new emerging class of climate litigation that strikes at the very core of the corporate heartland – ESG, shareholder actions and pension funds will set the scene for the next wave of climate litigation – and a whole set of new set of legal risks that prudent lawyers will need to adjust to and advise on.
Description Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, health has taken centre stage in international and national governance and relations. Internationally coordinated action across governments, multilateral organisations and the private sector has produced the monumental achievement of developing vaccines at unprecedented speed, yet challenges remain regarding the universal and equitable distribution of vaccines. This has opened up debates concerning intellectual property rights, equitable trade and human rights concerning the right to health, prioritisation and access to essential healthcare. Underpinning these issues, is the wider international agenda, encompassed within SDG 3, aiming at establishing stronger protections for the right to health and universal health coverage. Panellists will consider how working with the law could help to navigate a way forward that will serve and enhance the current pandemic response, face current and future global health challenges, as well as how pro bono services could support these efforts and be responsive in the face of complex situations of crisis.
Day 2:
26 June 2021
Practices, Tools and Vision for Advancing SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Description This workshop will use practical case studies to introduce participants to tools for the planning, delivery and monitoring of legal pro bono technical assistance in a development context. These tools, widely used in the development sector, include political-economy analysis, developing a theory of change, the COM-B model and universal questions for monitoring and evaluation. Together the tools ensure legal and judicial specialists are able to analyse the factors contributing to visible rule of law problems; articulate the logic and rationale behind their selected activities and how those activities will address the problems identified. Legal -pro bono providers will understand key development concepts and principles and how they are relevant to international pro bono work.
Description Too often, policies that aim to strengthen the rule of law only widen equality gaps and further marginalise oppressed groups because the needs of all are not fully considered. This workshop aims to help those working on rule of law programmes to better understand how equality can be mainstreamed into every stage of programming, from design to adaptation. It is informed by A4ID’s ROLE UK Programme’s work with legal and judicial stakeholders and the insight they offered into the challenges faced in mainstreaming equality into their rule of law programmes. Moving through the different stages of the project cycle, this workshop provides practical guidance for how equality can be mainstreamed at each stage. By the end of the workshop, readers should have an improved understanding of how to create projects that benefit all sectors of society, avoid doing harm and help advance the rights of the most marginalised.
Description SDG 16 seeks to promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Its third target is to promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all. This session seeks to examine the importance of SDG 16, and specifically target 16.3 on rule of law, as the ‘great enabler’ for sustainable development and a foundational objective for the SDG agenda.