Photo: eyeWitness has helped expose atrocities in countries such as DRC, Ukraine, Senegal, and Palestine. ©Original photos captured by Anastasia Taylor-Lind and TRIAL International - Photo: 2022

Why We Need to Advance SDG 16 More Than Ever

Viewpoint by Dr Márcia Balisciano

The writer is the Global Head of Corporate Responsibility, RELX. She is also Chair of the UN Global Compact Network UK; Chair of the Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Council of the Conference Board; and a founding member of the Board of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens.

LONDON (IDN) — The goal in 2015 was to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. We should have been more than halfway there, but given the tumultuous state of global affairs, we are off track.

We must do more to realise progress.

There have been unanticipated significant setbacks: the global pandemic, rising inflation, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have affected all SDGs, including the goal to eradicate poverty (SDG 1), promote decent work and economic growth (SDG 8) and ensure sustainable consumption (SDG 12).

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022 make this all too clear. Another important piece that explains this point is in the journal The Lancet, available on the free RELX SDG Resource Centre, here.

SDG 16, which is about peace, justice and strong institutions, is the foundation on which the other SDGs must be built. It is focused on reducing violence, death rates, abuse, exploitation, trafficking and corruption.

Legendary musician and activist, Sir Bob Geldof, while speaking at the RELX SDG Inspiration Day, pointed out that extreme nationalism is also an extenuating factor. He observed that competition is part of the human condition, but it makes peace difficult; however, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do what we can and stay the course.

Companies must go beyond business as usual to achieve SDG 16. In this regard, the RELX Rule of Law Cafes are hosted to bring together stakeholders, including customers, government, NGOs and law societies, to discuss opportunities to go beyond legal minimums to advance the rule of law in places like the UK, Malaysia, South Africa and The Philippines.

RELX has also championed the United Nations Global Compact’s SDG 16 Business Framework to help business become more accountable, ethical, inclusive and transparent—an important driver for responsible business conduct—to enhance environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance and strengthen public institutions, laws and systems.

RELX uses its resources and expertise to advance SDG 16. For example, the LexisNexis PatentSight intellectual property analytics solution has mapped the global patent system to the SDGs. This new, objective measure gives organisations a view of the global innovation landscape. It reveals opportunities in sustainable technology to support R&D investment strategies, including effective evaluation.

And eyeWitness to Atrocities, which the business LexisNexis Legal & Professional developed in partnership with the International Bar Association, is a powerful tool in the battle to bring war criminals to justice.

According to a July article in The Guardian, “More than 13,000 pieces of footage from the Ukraine conflict have been captured by an app, which could help to prosecute Vladimir Putin and other Russian political or military leaders at the international criminal court”.

As the article notes, “Evidence gathered using eyeWitness was used for the first time to secure convictions at a military tribunal in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2018, relating to a 2012 massacre.

Sir Bob said that despite the challenges to achieving SDG 16, he is more optimistic today than he was earlier in his career. As he noted, we need good leaders and should be working to bring states that agreed to the SDGs back to the table to find a common ground from where to deliver on eliminating global poverty and achieving the other essential global goals. [IDN-InDepthNews – 19 August 2022]

Photo: eyeWitness has helped expose atrocities in countries such as DRC, Ukraine, Senegal, and Palestine. ©Original photos captured by Anastasia Taylor-Lind and TRIAL International

IDN is the flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence. You are free to share, remix, tweak and build upon it non-commercially. Please give due credit.

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