USAID Introduces First-Ever Rule of Law Policy


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the first-ever U.S. government policy dedicated to rule of law assistance today, highlighting the critical role USAID plays in promoting rule of law worldwide as a foundation for democracy and sustainable, inclusive, and equitable development. With over five billion people with unmet justice needs globally, USAID recognizes the urgency to address rule of law to strengthen democratic resilience and improve people's lives.

Building on decades of experience and learning, this Policy reaffirms Rule of Law promotion as a continuing priority of USAID's development assistance and renews our Agency-wide commitment to advancing justice, rights, and security for all.

The new Rule of Law Policy:

  • Adopts a definition of the rule of law while acknowledging that supporting the rule of law will remain an unfinished and ongoing effort;
  • Announces a new "people-centered justice" approach that places the individual affected by the law at the core of the policies, institutions, processes, and practices that comprise justice and related systems and services; and
  • Prioritizes knowledge and evidence by utilizing data to develop user-friendly and problem-solving rule of law activities that equip and empower local actors and partners to close the justice gap and help democracies deliver.

Using the latest in justice data, evidence, and putting the global movement on people-centered justice into action, the policy better positions USAID to reform justice systems and services to address the needs of people who are excluded from justice and cannot resolve their everyday problems. The policy also helps ensure that the Agency's locally-led justice efforts produce durable development impacts in partnership with governments and people globally. The Policy launch culminates a multi-year effort with USAID Missions and a consultative process with the U.S. interagency, donors, civil society organizations, partners, and the rule of law community of practice.

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