Ahmer Bilal Soofi, senior partner at ABS & Co, a Legal 500 law firm, has been elected to the Board of Advisers of The International Development Law Organization (IDLO), a distinguished global entity dedicated to promoting the rule of law and sustainable development. IDLO has a distinctive mandate to reinforce the ability of nations to oversee legal and institutional frameworks that foster inclusive economic growth, social development, and environmental preservation. The organization’s exceptional strategy for legal and institutional reform is concentrated on producing measurable results in challenging situations, with an unwavering dedication to promoting diversity, inclusivity, and accountability. Through its programs and initiatives, IDLO works to enhance access to justice, promote gender equality, support legal empowerment, and improve the effectiveness and responsiveness of justice systems.
Established as an intergovernmental organization in 1988, IDLO has had United Nations Observer Status since 2001. IDLO was preceded by the International Development Law Institute (IDLI) which was established in 1983 as a non-governmental organization (NGO) to provide training and technical assistance to lawyers and other legal professionals from developing countries.
IDLO’s Board of Advisers is responsible for overseeing the organization’s activities and is composed of 10 individuals with diverse geographic backgrounds and cultures. The selection process evaluates candidates based on their professional and personal qualities, including their expertise in development issues, international law, and legal reform, among others, in accordance with IDLO’s Statute and Rules of Procedure. IDLO’s commitment to diversity is reflected in the selection process, which emphasizes geographic balance and cultural representation. The candidate’s commitment to promoting the rule of law, justice, and human rights is also considered, aligning with IDLO’s values of inclusivity and accountability. By bringing together a diverse group of individuals with a range of skills and experiences, IDLO’s Board of Advisers is strategically arranged to provide guidance and oversight to the organization’s efforts to promote sustainable development and the rule of law worldwide.
In his new role, Soofi brings a wealth of experience and knowledge gained over many years of service and dedication to the field of international law. In addition to his involvement with IDLO in its early years, when it was known as IDLA where he worked on the International Leasing Convention and taught courses such as International Sales of Goods, contributing to the development and dissemination of international legal norms and principles, Soofi has served as a research fellow at the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), a premier private international law think tank in Rome.
Soofi’s distinguished legal career includes serving as a correspondent and consultant for the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly responsible for promoting the harmonization and unification of international trade law. UNCITRAL’s mandate is to facilitate the development of legal instruments and standards for international trade, including conventions, model laws, and guidelines, in various areas such as international commercial arbitration, electronic commerce, and procurement. With his extensive experience in this field, Soofi is uniquely positioned to contribute to IDLO’s efforts to promote the rule of law and sustainable development globally.
It is worth noting that Soofi’s dedication to the field of international law extends beyond his work with UNIDROIT and UNCITRAL. Through his efforts, he has established the Research Society of International Law (RSIL) which has emerged as a pre-eminent think tank on International Law, top rated in South Asia. Based in Pakistan, RSIL has earned a reputation for excellence and leadership, providing expert analysis and innovative solutions to complex legal challenges in the region and beyond. As a recognized leader in the field of international law, Soofi’s appointment to the IDLO Board of Advisers is expected to provide valuable insights and guidance to the organization. Soofi’s tenure on the Board will be marked by his contributions and will undoubtedly advance IDLO’s mission of promoting the rule of law and sustainable development worldwide.
IDLO’s innovative approach to legal and institutional reform has enabled them to undertake various projects aimed at improving access to justice and strengthening the justice sector. One such initiative is IDLO’s Access to Justice Program (A2J), which has enhanced the quality, availability, and accessibility of justice services for women, minorities, and other marginalized groups in Pakistan. Another notable project is the Justice and Security Dialogue (JSD) program, which promotes dialogue and collaboration between communities, governments, and justice and security providers in conflictaffected and fragile states. The JSD program has been implemented in several countries and has helped to improve trust, accountability, and cooperation between communities and authorities.
Last month, IDLO launched a new project in partnership with the Government of The Gambia to improve access to justice in the country. The project involves developing specialized training curricula for judges, magistrates, and prosecutors, as well as working with civil society to educate local communities about their rights and the role of the judiciary in protecting those rights. The initiative is focused on rural areas, specifically the lower magistrate courts in West Coast (Brikama), North Bank (Kerewan, Farfenni), and Upper River (Basse Sante Su) divisions. These projects showcase IDLO’s unique approach to legal and institutional reform and their commitment to promoting sustainable development and the rule of law worldwide.