A Call to Action for Advancing Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

The 8th RELX SDG Inspiration Day

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by 193 states at the UN Summit in New York in September 2015, with the promise to make the world a fairer, better, and safer place by 2030.

As a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools, RELX is committed to doing its part to advance the SDGs. We provide universal sustainable access to information and periodically conduct SDG Inspiration Days that bring together business, government, NGOs, academia, and civil society to inspire scalable collaborative action on the SDGs.

Marking the completion of five years, RELX Corporate Responsibility recently hosted the SDG Inspiration Day virtually on 9th May, 2022. The theme of the event was ‘Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions - The role of business in advancing SDG 16’.

SDG 16 aims to:

In a world rife with human rights violations, wars, violence, persecution, and conflict, the promotion of peace is of utmost importance. The event discussed the role that businesses can play to further this objective.

opening ceremony

The SDG Inspiration Day was hosted by Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, who is an author, lawyer, and the founder of the Women in Leadership Publication initiative. She is also a political and women’s rights activist. She welcomed the audience enthusiastically and introduced the event, giving an overview of SDG 16 and its importance.

Dr. Márcia Balisciano, Global Head of ESG and Corporate Responsibility, RELX, took us further into the theme of the day. She expressed concern over the growing threat to the blueprint for SDGs adopted in 2015.

Click to watch the full event recording

Threats to the SDGs

Dr. Balisciano expressed the need for immediate action:

“Without peace, justice, and strong institutions of SDG 16 – a fundamental framework for all nations – we cannot achieve the rest. So today is about inspiration. But it is not a celebration. It’s a call to action.
Dr. Márcia Balisciano, Global Head of Corporate Responsibility, RELX

She called upon businesses to promote peace and justice by ending abuse and exploitation, promoting rule of law, reducing corruption, and ensuring inclusive decision making. Following this, Ban Ki-Moon, the 8th Secretary General of the United Nations, stressed the need to follow the SDG agenda.

Click to watch the full event recording

Click to watch the full event recording

sir Bob geldof

A powerful and thought-provoking keynote address was delivered by legendary musician and front man of the Boomtown Rats, Sir Bob Geldof. He was a key player in the 1970s punk rock movement as well as a business leader and political activist. Sir Bob is internationally recognised as a leading authority on world politics, international and current affairs, music, humanitarian issues, philanthropy, poverty, human rights and Africa. 

Sir Bob spoke passionately about the overambitious goals that are the SDGs while also lamenting about the growing cynicism of the world’s governments that do not care enough. He cited reasons such as culture, war, philosophy, and religion, which make it impossible to comprehensively achieve the goals. But he also added, “Of course, that should never stop you trying. After all, being human means that we must always reach for things beyond our grasp, even though humans by nature are impelled towards conflict.”

It is in our self-interest to make the SDGs work. It is in the self-interest of the world; the self-interest of business and politics; and the self-interest of the global economy – all of them will begin by embracing and working to achieve the 2030 SDGs.”
Sir Bob Geldof, Political Activist, Songwriter, Musician & Author

Access the full session with Sir Bob Geldof here.

panel discussions

Defence and SDG 16

Experts on peace and security gave their views on how defence and SDG 16 share a symbiotic relationship and what are the current challenges to it. The event was moderated by Justin Webb, who was a foreign correspondent for the BBC.

Monika Froehler, CEO, Ban Ki-Moon Centre for Global Citizens; Dr. Imogen Parsons, Senior Research Fellow, Terrorism and Conflict, The Royal United Services Institute; and Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Chairman, Global Compact Foundation, were the panelists.

While making her point, Monika Froehler said the immense defence budget of $2 trillion falls short for the full implementation of the SDGs, which would cost around $6-7 trillion. She put forth two areas we need to build on – reforming multilateralism and re-establishing trust.

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Sir Mark Moody-Stuart then highlighted the role of businesses in preventing armed conflict by making processes transparent and reducing corruption.

Next, Dr. Imogen Parsons underscored the importance of a post-conflict response from charities, partners, and civil society to facilitate a holistic and integrated approach to conflict resolution.

Click to watch the full event recording

Click to watch the full event recording

The Rule of Law and SDG 16

Experts discussed their passion for the rule of law as well as projects they are currently working on that aim to advance SDG 16. Isabella Bunn, Senior Advisor, Oxford Analytica Foundation, emphasised how the UN Global Compact is strengthening the rule of law through its transformational governance framework, which highlights how businesses can collaborate with governments, civil societies, and institutions of justice, ensuring participation and accountability.

Operating in Times of Conflict

A panel discussion of NGO leaders was held on the challenges and impact of operating in times of conflict. This panel was moderated by Teresa Jennings, the Head of Rule of Law Development for the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation. The panel included Mark Waddington, CEO, Hope and Homes for Children; Kimberly Parker, Programme Manager, World Health Organization; Alison Tweed, CEO, Book Aid International; Geraldine Anup-Willcocks, Emergency Specialist, UNICEF UK; and Ylann Schemm, Director, Elsevier Foundation.

The next session explored some of the projects that LexisNexis Legal & Professional have been heavily involved in, including the eyeWitness to Atrocities App and the Rule of Law Monitor. Both form fitting examples of how a business can, and should, leverage their expertise for the advancement of the SDGs.

Women and SDG 16

A panel discussion on Women and SDG 16 highlighted the experiences of women in times of conflict and the role they play in delivering SDG 16. The discussion was moderated by former UN Ambassador Amanda Ellis. Her inspiring panel included Zoya Lytvyn, Ukrainian entrepreneur and founder of the NGO Osvitoria; Martin Chungong, 8th Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary (IPU); and Tea Trumbic, WE Empower Lead Partner and Program Manager for the Women, Business and the Law Project, World Bank.

The speakers talked about how gender equality was not just a woman’s issue — it is a societal issue, which means that everyone should be engaged in equal measure. They particularly covered aspects of men and women working together in the spirit of partnership, to make a difference in terms of gender equality, and the outcomes of institutional processes.

During the discussion, Zoya Lytvyn pointed to education as a way to bring about that structural change and bring up a new generation of empowered and inspired children.

"Worldwide on average, women just have three quarters of the legal rights of men. Only 12 countries in the world receive a score of 100 out of 100. This means that the remaining 178 economies have legal gaps to close between men and women. And this impacts opportunities for 2.4 billion women."
Tea Trumbic, WE Empower Lead Partner and Program Manager for the Women, Business and the Law Project, World Bank

SDG Customer

Each year RELX recognises four customers, from across our business divisions, who have made a significant and demonstrable contribution to one or more of the SDGs. They are awarded the SDG Customer Awards.

This year, the awards were presented to Costa Del Mar, an American manufacturer of polarized sunglasses, nominated by RX for helping to reduce microplastic waste in our oceans; the International Legal Foundation (ILF), nominated by LexisNexis Legal and Professional for taking thoughtful, measured steps to build the capabilities of the defence bar in Indonesia; the University of Tasmania in Australia, nominated by Elsevier for providing a collective focus on activities in and for sustainability across the University; and Visa, nominated by LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group for providing a fair living wage, developing women leaders, global collaboration on addressing biases and developing talent through scholars and jobs programmes.

We are proud of the work by our customers to advance the SDGs. We share their commitment to the global goals and are inspired by their efforts. Congratulations to all the 2022 winners!"
Dr. Márcia Balisciano, Global Head of ESG and Corporate Responsibility, RELX

Responsible Business
for Peace

The SDGs state that “there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development”. Business thrives in stable and peaceful environments and therefore must play a role in conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

Philippa Scarlett, Head of Government Affairs, RELX, spoke to Mike
Walsh, CEO of LexisNexis Legal & Professional, about how the private sector, and his business in particular, can support the advancement of SDG 16. He addressed LexisNexis as one of the largest global databases of legal information and analytics “about 150 times the size of Wikipedia”. The database provides information tools to help lawyers become more efficient and extends the umbrella protection of the rule of law to make justice more accessible.

Click to watch the full event recording

He also talked about the eyeWitness to Atrocities App, which is helping people access humanitarian aid during the Ukraine-Russia war. He discussed his legal framework, which provides guidelines to businesses on how to be more transparent and ethical, make legal remedy more accessible, enable equality for all under the law, and have a strong and independent judiciary.

The event concluded with a closing ceremony, where Dr. Márcia Balisciano, Michael Sheldrick, Irina Bokova, and Michelle Breslauer highlighted the importance for action on SDG 16 as fundamental to achieving the 2030 agenda.

Click to watch the full event recording

Click to watch the full event recording

Click the graphic to access the full event recording from the 2022 RELX SDG Inspiration Day

Click the graphic to access the full event recording from the 2022 RELX SDG Inspiration Day