ILEAP’s conceptual underpinning emanates from the 10th UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Raúl Prebisch Lecture, delivered on 11 December 2000 by Gerald K. Helleiner. Here the eminent Canadian development economist put forward a vision of a non-governmental organisation tasked with the “principled defence of the rights of the poorest and weakest in the global economy’s legal system and the building of their capacity to defend themselves”. Building on this vision, ILEAP was initiated in October 2001 through the collaboration of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC, Canada) and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law (see ILEAP Feasibility Workshop).
Following an extensive consultation process with trade and development experts, ILEAP was formally launched in Nairobi, Kenya in May 2002 (see Nairobi ILEAP Launch Conference). ILEAP was incorporated as a non-profit organisation in Canada in December 2002.
At its outset, ILEAP’s launch was motivated by the realisation that developing countries needed to be able to better influence the terms on which they were engaging and integrating with the global economy. This view was quickly augmented with the further understanding that by better reflecting their interests in global economic rules, they would also be more adequately positioned to catalyze the necessary supply response – creating jobs and thereby translating market opportunities into enhanced trade, inclusive growth and ultimately poverty reduction.
ILEAP in 2012 continues to evolve in response to the needs of its beneficiaries, in particular as regional integration strengthens its foothold as the cornerstone for growth-inducing reforms and the reduction of poverty. This evolution is being driven by the recognition that more explicit and focussed attention on the role of trade – and investment – policies, regulatory reforms, and implementation are needed to better reflect and ultimately leverage the impact of negotiation processes on new regionally-defined domestic realities.
ILEAP’s mission is to contribute to the reduction of poverty by supporting low-income countries and regions to secure pro-development and equitable outcomes from trade and investment negotiations, implementation, and policy and regulatory reforms. Drawing on their international network of advisors, they do this through independent economic and legal advisory support, capacity building and the creation and dissemination of knowledge and information.
ILEAP’s Vision for 2014 is to be an African-based institution supporting low-income countries, recognized:
-as a leading source for independent advice and support;
-as a provider and catalyst for new and practical pro-development frameworks and approaches;
-for expanding the pool of development-oriented African economic and legal professionals, leveraging their expertise and facilitating their interaction; and
-as a leader in providing practical training for the application of knowledge to policy.
ILEAP’s beneficiary focus is on sub-Saharan Africa (read more about their beneficiaries)
ILEAP’s efforts to pursue its Mission are predicated on the following values:
-Development-Focused: ILEAP is first and foremost predicated on poverty reduction in developing countries and correcting the inequities in the functioning of the global economy.
-Timeliness: ILEAP aims to provide professional advice that is both timely and relevant to the beneficiary. It responds to expressed requests and defined needs in a flexible and responsive manner.
-Multidisciplinary: ILEAP utilizes professionals and experts from different backgrounds and disciplines. It incorporates inputs from a variety of international sources.
-Independent: In order to maintain the integrity of the advice that is provided, ILEAP ensures that all advisors have no interest or agenda that is contrary to the interests of the beneficiary.
-Capacity-Building: ILEAP is committed to helping developing countries to help themselves by building the capacity of their trade lawyers and economists.
-Partnership and Cooperation: ILEAP cannot succeed on its own. A critical component of ILEAP is the formation of partnerships and collaboration with a wide network of institutions and individuals worldwide that are committed to assisting developing countries secure pro-development and equitable outcomes from trade and investment negotiations, implementation, and policy and regulatory reforms
Where is International Lawyers and Economists Against Poverty (ILEAP)