Sandie Okoro’s goodbye note

Dear Compact & Forum members,

As many of you know, I will be leaving my position as General Counsel and Senior Vice President of the World Bank at the end of March. This means I will no longer serve as the Chairperson for the Compact & Forum.

I would like to take this opportunity to share some parting thoughts with you. The Compact & Forum began from a simple conversation about what lawyers can and should do to advance justice and rule of law around the world. Our intention was to create a space where lawyers could convene and support one another in their efforts to promote SDG 16. Nearly 2 years since its inception, the Compact has now grown into a fledgling organisation with 15 members and 4 working groups. We have hosted events, launched our website and are now launching our newsletter. Seeing this growth and evolution has brought me great joy.

As I depart, I would like to encourage all of you to remain focused on our mission and vision. I strongly believe that rule of law, peace and justice are cornerstones of sustainable development. If we do not have concrete and lasting solutions to these issues and do not guarantee equality for all, any progress we make, whether it is economical, technological or otherwise, will always be threatened.

I have always been proud to be part of the legal profession and I truly believe that our skills and knowledge can be used for good. Rule of law is currently under significant threats. The new international order shows a trend of challenging international law, which is part of the worrying brutalization of the world we live in. The law is an essential priority for discussion and action at the global level and can be a powerful “weapon” to protect the Rule of Law and the fundamental human rights. Lawyers are on the front line of the judicial system and crucial to realizing accessible, efficient, and fair justice institutions. Through their actions, lawyers can advance or inhibit justice. As you unite lawyers around the world, I encourage you to be innovative, collaborative, and practical in your solutions. There is much work to be done and we can do it better and faster if we do it together.

While I am sad to leave, I am optimistic and excited about the work that you will do and what you will achieve. Achieving SDG 16 will take all our efforts and I promise to do my part even in the next stage of my career. It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with you all and serve as your chair.

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