Private enterprise has demonstrated increasing interest in supporting rule of law development in recent years, and this engagement has become more sophisticated as it has taken on greater importance. This is for good reason: adherence to rule of law – including through the protection of investments and property rights, such as intellectual property, contractual rights, and legal identity – forms an essential foundation of economic and social development. Rule of law constitutes a key part of the enabling environment in which responsible businesses can play an optimal role in helping drive sustainable development.
Vibrant private enterprises can not only contribute to the thriving of local and national economies, thereby promoting growth, they can help government operate more efficiently and transparently when they partner with local and national governments in an effective way. Such partnerships are capable of providing a range of added social benefits.
This public symposium convened corporate and private foundation leaders, policymakers, and others to discuss the span of engagements between private enterprise and the rule of law. Particular attention was paid to how private enterprises have evolved internally to increase self-regulation through corporate social responsibility efforts, which not only seek to benefit the societies they serve but also maximize investment. The symposium also delved into how private enterprise has also spurred better governance and the development of substantive laws within the countries in which they operate as rule of law architects. Finally, the symposium offered various case studies in more traditional rule of law engagement from private foundations and public-private partnerships aimed at advancing the rule of law.