On April 7, 2000, the first conference of the Southeast European Legal Development Initiative (SELDI) with donors and international organizations was held at the headquarters of the International Development Law Institute (IDLI) in Rome.
Opening presentations by Michael Hager, Director of IDLI, Minister Giuseppe Cipolloni, Vice Coordinator of the Stability Pact at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and John Tennant, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Europe and Eurasia, US Agency for International Development emphasized the importance of building the rule of law in the Southeast of Europe, in particular in the context of the Stability Pact. Speakers highlighted the key role to be played by non-governmental organizations in this process, specifically in the Southeast European Legal Development Initiative (SELDI). Minister Cipolloni reiterated the commitment of the Italian government to the stability and development of Southeast Europe, and expressed its support to SELDI. This support is the continuation of years of collaboration between IDLI and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The relevance of SELDI’s focus on corruption is evident in the role of corruption in making possible cross-border organized crime and thus regional insecurity.
Speakers stated the important contribution SELDI with its focus on anti-corruption, judicial reform and the legal aspects of international trade will make to the development of the region. Speakers recognized the need for going beyond country-specific efforts towards region-wide cooperation networks, particularly as regards issues of democratic governance, and the pro-active role to be played by NGOs in such networks.