Pursuing Lasting Impacts

… pursuing lasting impacts through the provision of independent economic and legal advisory support, capacity building and the creation and dissemination of knowledge & information

ILEAP History

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.