A4ID Annual Conference 2024

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This year’s A4ID Annual Conference will take place on 21 May 2024 and will convene legal professionals, development partners, and rule of law stakeholders from government and corporate sector to engage on the challenges, opportunities, and diversities of the UN SDGs Prosperity Chapters.

The theme of this year’s conference, Responsible Business and the SDGs: A Roadmap to Prosperity, will confront the global crises that have set us back in the race to meet the Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030. Looking at what is meant by prosperity, and how the legal, development, and business sectors can work together to pursue meaning and lasting global prosperity.

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CONFERENCE PROGRAMME

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Opening A4ID’s Annual Conference, panelists will explore the background behind the Prosperity Chapters. This session will bring together stakeholders from leading law firms and development organisations to discuss how the Prosperity Chapters should and can be used to further sustainable growth.

Expert panelists will discuss what prosperity means, how to incorporate the Prosperity Chapters into their work, and how they can make tangible progress towards the prosperity SDGs.

With less than seven years left to realise the SDG agenda, it is paramount that stakeholders from across the board come together with the purpose of promoting responsible business practices and human rights for a sustainable future.

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This session will delve community land rights violations, and the role that rule of law initiatives play in raising awareness and implementing safeguards.

Discussions will draw on examples from Latin America and Africa, bringing together stakeholders from law firms, NGOs, civil society organisations, and academia, to discuss their role in preventing and remedying human rights abuses in business operations. An increasing number of people are forcibly evicted or displaced every year to make way for large-scale developments or business projects – often exacerbating existing challenges within the communities.

The session will identify the links between land rights and substantive human rights, highlighting the importance of their protection in achieving the SDGs and calling to action cross sector stakeholders to work together in promoting responsible business practices.

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Lunch will be provided.

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All too often international corporations seek to maximise profits at the expense of employees, leading to a race to the bottom in labour standards. Within the Global South, the precarity of employment, high unemployment rates, informality of labour, and lack of decent work principles are among the main causes of poor labour relations.

The cost of legal services deters many from accessing justice, allowing corporations to continue unfair practices without repercussion. Pro bono legal services are crucial to helping employees attain access to justice, raising awareness of labour laws, and promoting fair labour relations.

The session will encourage legal pro bono as a tool to build resilient businesses with sustainable and fair supply chains that encourage fair business practices, workers’ wellbeing, and human rights.

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This panel will examine how technologies can be leveraged to foster responsible business practices that align with international development goals, sustainable resource management, and supply chain transparency.

Newer technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) have the potential to make significant positive contributions to the promotion and protection of human rights and advance sustainable development. However, when not used ethically and responsibly, they run the risk of worsening inequalities, leading to uneven economic growth patterns and negatively impacting the environment and social well-being – therefore, regulation of technology is paramount to data privacy, environmental protection, fair trade, and labour practices.

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A ‘Just Transition’, means that as economies move away from fossil fuels, towards clean energy, governments must ensure fair and equitable treatment to all those affected.

Critically, this hinges on consulting the communities impacted by renewable infrastructure projects. Lack of adequate consultation can result in displaced communities, as well as deprivation of access to water sources or firewood, and the destruction of areas of cultural significance.

This session will engage key stakeholders to discuss how pro bono legal support can be used to facilitate a Just Transition.

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Private and corporate actors can be hugely beneficial or disastrously detrimental to the prosperity agenda, depending on how they engage with local communities in emerging economies.

This panel session will focus on the current challenges facing local communities in India due to irresponsible business practices, and generate practical steps for international law firms to assist with this.

The session will bring together corporate law firms and NGOs who work on the ground with impacted communities. Stakeholders will investigate how domestic and international laws can be used to encourage responsible business, and how pro bono projects can be used to support in-country NGOs and advance SDGs and human rights.

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