Introduction and background

AIDA participated in the 2013 edition of the Law, Justice and Development Week (LJD) in its capacity as partner of the World Bank-led Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development (GFLJD) and, in particular, as co-lead with the Rome-based International Development Law Organization (IDLO) of the Community of Practice (CoP) on Natural Resources Law. The partnership with IDLO was formed during the 2012 LJD Week, where AIDA was represented by Mr. J. Schutz, under the umbrella of the Thematic Working Group on Natural Resources and Environmental Law. AIDA had volunteered a co-lead role in view of the CoP’s priority focus on water. Following on from that start, a 3-year Workplan of CoP activities had been prepared by AIDA and IDLO, and submitted for further consideration by the GFLJD secretariat, alongside the workplans prepared by the other CoPs. Particulars of the AIDA/IDLO proposed workplan were circulated to the AIDA membership in AQUAFORUM No.49 (July 2013). Following submission of proposed workplans, the GFLJD secretariat in the Bank had engaged in a search of possible sources of funding for the workplans, from within and from without the Bank. There was, as a result, a diffuse expectation among the CoPs that some kind of funding for their workplans would be forthcoming eventually, through the good offices of the World Bank.

Opportunities for the CoPs to meet and internally discuss their workplans had been built into the LJD Week programme, as dedicated “side events”. Such events, however, had received limited publicity through the official LJD Week channels of communication, including the official programme agenda. An opportunity for all CoPs to present their proposed workplans in plenary had been scheduled at a dedicated session on “Sustainable and Equitable Development in Environmental and Natural Resources Governance”, on 20 November. This event had been mainstreamed in the LJD Week programme and agenda.

AIDA was represented by Washington DC-based Ms. Renee Martin-Nagle, Visiting Scholar, Environmental Law Institute, by Prof. Jane Cohen of the University of Texas School of Law, and by Mr. Stefano Burchi, AIDA chair. Due to her busy schedule, Prof. Cohen could only attend the CoP-Water meeting, on 19 November. Ms. Martin-Nagle and Mr. Burchi took part in the 19 and 20 November scheduled CoP events. They also attended a lunchtime plenary meeting of LJD partners on 18 November. Mr. Burchi flew out on 21 November. It should be noted that Prof. Cohen and Ms. Martin-Nagle participated at no cost to AIDA.

Meeting of LJD partners (18 November)

Ms. Martin-Nagle and the AIDA chair took part in a scheduled informal meeting of LJD partners at lunch on 18 November. Some 40 LJD partners were in attendance. The LJD secretariat presented on the LJD initiative in general, and on progress and achievements to-date. The discussion which followed revolved mostly around the issue of funding for the workplans and activities of the various CoPs which had formed as a result of the previous edition of the LJD Week. The secretariat re-iterated the known position of their readiness to help scouting for sources of funding, both within and without the Bank. Bank Task Managers had in fact been invited to join the CoP scheduled side-events and the plenary CoP session of 20 November, in the hope of attracting their interest for selected CoP proposals. 

CoP-Water meeting/side event on “Sustainable Water Resources Governance” (19 November)

A dedicated meeting of the CoP-Water took place on 19 November, featured in the programme as a side event styled “Sustainable Water Resources Governance”. AIDA had taken the lead in arranging the programme event, and lining up a panel of presenters. The panel included Carl Bruch, Senior Attorney and Co-Director of International Programs, Environmental Law Institute, Paul Reig, Associate, Markets and Enterprise Program, World Resources Institute, AIDA member Prof. Jane Cohen, and the AIDA chair Stefano Burchi.  AIDA member Ms. Martin-Nagle moderated the session. CoP co-lead IDLO representatives were also in attendance, as well as a few other CoP members. Contrary to expectations, no World Bank Task Manager turned up at the meeting. Following the panel presentations, Ms. Martin Nagle and Mr. Burchi took turns in presenting the proposed CoP workplan. This attracted interest and, following a brief discussion, the implicit green light from the participants.

Plenary session on “Sustainable and Equitable Development in Environmental and Natural Resources Governance”  (20 November)

The Thematic Working Group on Natural Resources and Environmental Law held a plenary session on 20 November, in which the workplans retained by the CoPs established under its umbrella were presented. Some 60 participants were in attendance, and heard presentations by a panel of speakers moderated by the World Bank Chief Counsel, Mr. C. Di Leva. The AIDA chair sat on the panel, and presented the workplan retained by the CoP-Water. The presentations were followed by a short Q&A period.  

Related business

In private conversations with LJD secretariat staff, the AIDA chair was given to understand that the Korea-World Bank Partnership Facility might provide a suitable window of opportunity for funding components of the CoP-Water workplan. In view of the very tight timeframe available to take advantage of such window, the AIDA chair was encouraged by the LJD secretariat to immediately draft a proposal for funding under the above-mentioned partnership. He drafted two proposals, one for the development of indicators of regulatory systems performance and the other for the development of a manual of good practices in the preparation of water resources legislation. The two proposals were left with the LJD secretariat for action. A decision by the Korea-World Bank Partnership was not expected until late December.

At the time of writing this report, information has been received from the LJD secretariat to the effect that only one of several submissions made to the Korea-World Bank Partnership Facility had been retained for funding, and that neither of the CoP-Water’s submissions had been retained. The LJD secretariat, however, was confident that other sources of funding would be lined up eventually.

Other AIDA business

At a private meeting with fellow AIDA members Prof. Cohen and Ms. Martin-Nagle, Prof. Cohen suggested that a “speakers’ bureau” be set up, for ease of reference when AIDA speakers need to be identified in connection with events at which AIDA is invited. Prof. Cohen’s suggestion was found very attractive, and she volunteered to develop it further.

The AIDA chair also briefed Prof. Cohen and Ms. Martin-Nagle on the state of AIDA’s participation in the XV World Water Congress of the International Water Resources Association (IWRA), scheduled in May 2015 in Edinburgh, UK. In this connection, Prof. Cohen suggested arranging a panel topic, something she volunteered to elaborate on for further consideration in connection with the development of proposals for an AIDA track in the IWRA Congress programme.


Participation in the LJD Week was certainly useful, in view of the visibility AIDA managed to attract through, in particular, its partnership with IDLO in co-leading the CoP on water resources law. Moreover, prospects of a break-through in relation to financial support for the CoP workplan had brightened considerably thanks to contacts and action taken on the spot. Also, the discussions with fellow AIDA delegates provided very useful pointers for improved effectiveness of the association. This reporter believes that these results have been worth the energy, time and effort which went into AIDA’s participation.