The 2022 RELX SDG Inspiration Day focused on Goal 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, and featured outstanding speakers from around the world including Former Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, legendary musician and political activist Sir Bob Geldof, former Austrian President Heinz Fischer, former Director-General UNESCO Irina Bokova, and Co-Founder of Global Citizen Michael Sheldrick. (See the full line up and speaker bios here).
The United Nations’ New York Summit held in 2015 led to the adoption of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, with the promise to make the world a fairer, better, and safer place by 2030.
The RELX SDG Inspiration Day was the eighth in a series of engaging, interactive and stimulating events, with SDG 16 being the primary focus of the annual conclave. The event, held on May 9, 2022, brought together thought leaders, corporate representatives, investors, government, and NGOs to explore issues with practical engagement and ideas.
Organizations that partnered the event included the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens; UN Global Compact Network UK; Global Citizen; the World Humanitarian Forum; the Responsible Media Forum; Schneider Electric; The Elsevier Foundation; and the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation.
SDG 16 focuses on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels. It has the following targets:
- Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere
- End abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence against and torture of children
- Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all
- By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets, and combat all forms of organised crime
- Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms
- Develop effective, accountable, and transparent institutions at all levels
- Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory, and representative decision-making at all levels
- Broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance
- By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration
- Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements
The event discussed the role that businesses can play to further these objectives. The speakers at the event included Former Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, legendary musician Sir Bob Geldof, former Austrian President Heinz Fischer, former Director-General UNESCO Irina Bokova, and Co-Founder of Global Citizen Michael Sheldrick.
While speaking during his keynote, Sir Bob Geldof said that the biggest challenges facing the SDGs were human cynicism and extreme nationalism. “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”, he proclaimed.
Former Director-General UNESCO Irina Bokova, during her keynote speech, said that the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and impact of food production due to climate change have impacted the 2030 SDGs – particularly SDG 16. “SDG 16 is about peace. It's about multilateralism, it's about strong institutions, both nationally and internationally, it is about justice”, she said.
Following the opening ceremony and the keynotes were a series of panel discussions. 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 second discussion that addressed the challenges of operating out of a conflict zone, saw the speakers agreeing that there was always more a government or a business could do to support an NGO – not just through financial means, but also via corporate volunteering, charity, and opportunities to join panels such as the current one, as these relationships support NGOs in the long-term.
The final panel discussion that spoke of the role women played in helping achieve the SDGs addressed the need to bridge the ever-widening gender gap society still witnesses today. The speakers said that gender equality was not just a woman’s issue; it is a societal issue, which means that everyone should be engaged in equal measure. “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”, they concluded.
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (00:05):
Hello everybody. Good day to you all. And very much welcome to the RELX SDG Inspiration Day, today aims to inspire collaborative, scalable action to advance the SDGs and the SDGs at this important five year mark. So we are gonna be focusing on SDG 16, which is to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective accountable and inclusive institutions and systems. In a time where millions of people around the world are living in fragile and conflict affected states, we need to take significant action and steps to advance this goal. To tell you more about today let me introduce to you the one and only Márcia Balisciano. Márcia is founding director of corporate responsibility (CR) at RELX; she is Chair of the UN Global Compact Network UK; Chair of the Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Council of the Conference Board; a founding member of the Board of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens; and she is founding director of London museum and educational facility Benjamin Franklin House
Dr Márcia Balisciano (01:23):
The United Nations sustainable development goals are a critical blueprint for wellbeing and development, as much now as when they were adopted by all UN nations in 2015. But their under threat: war in Ukraine, weakness in the major economies, the lingering effects of the global pandemic and the scale and urgency of the climate crisis, all risk the progressing of the 17 global goals. So today is about inspiration, but it is not a celebration. It's a call to action. So each business must look at how they're progressing peace, justice, and strong institutions in their direct activities, in their supply chain and for society. For RELX today, this event is an expression of the latter. It is part of our commitment to universal sustainable access to information and an initiative of the free RELX SDG resource center. And we are very grateful to our partners today. The UN global compact UK network, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, the World Humanitarian Forum, Global Citizen, the Responsible Media Forum, Schneider Electric, the Elsevier Foundation and the LexisNexis rule of law foundation. It's my great honour to introduce the architect of the UN SDGs Ban Ki-moon, who was eighth secretary general of the United Nations. Ban Ki-moon currently serves as the co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon center for global citizens, which seeks to empower youth and women to become active citizens in creating a sustainable future for all. Secretary Ban.
Ban Ki-moon (03:12):
Dear global citizens, all around the world armed conflicts are raging causing humanitarian emergencies in countries, such as Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Ukraine. The climate crisis and COVID 19 are further increasing the threat of violent conflicts, pushing the most vulnerable communities into extreme hunger. We are at a turning point and we must choose peace. People around the world have the right to live in dignity and free from war, conflict and violence. In this context, we must keep the promises of the 17 sustainable development goals and the Paris climate agreement. The goals are our road roadmaps to ending poverty, fighting inequalities, financial instability, and to protecting our planet. By supporting the rule of law, challenging corruption and strengthening peace building impact, businesses can have significant influence on the good governance of countries. With the passion and support of the private sector we can achieve a better future for all.
Dr Márcia Balisciano (04:42):
And it gives me great pleasure to introduce another world leader, Dr. Heinz Fischer, president of the Republic of Austria between 2004 and 2016. He's president of the board of the Institute for human science and together with Ban Ki-moon is co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon center for global citizens. Dr. Fischer.
Dr. Heinz Fischer (05:06):
Dear friends, fighting against poverty and hunger, advocating for good health and good education and working against gender inequalities and in favour of effective climate protection are all part of the SDGs. Indeed, peace plays a central role if we want to successfully implement the 2030 agenda with its 17 SDGs. Justice is also part of SDG 16 and human rights are part of justice. And strong institutions are necessary instruments of a functioning democratic society. Like governments, also businesses operate best in peaceful environments with effective institutions in place. Born in 1938, I very well remember the terrible consequences and post-war consequences of the second world war. Around 80 million human beings had to lose their lives before a new chapter of history was opened with the end of World War II, the defeat of the Nazi movement and the foundation of the United Nations. In Europe, the idea for a new and intensive cooperation between the nation states was born. There was progress in many fields and there was a successful reconstruction of the countries involved in World War II. But since the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic, we have experienced serious negative consequences on world health and world economy. And the war of Russia against Ukraine constitutes an extremely dangerous and dramatic backlash. The significance and relevance of the SDGs will survive also this war and they will have even more relevance after the war.
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (07:17):
Well, this will take us brilliantly into our next panel, or our first panel discussion I should say, and this panel discussion is going to be about SDG 16 and defense. And our moderator for today is Justin Webb. Justin was a foreign correspondent for the BBC for many, many years, and he reported from wars in the Gulf and Bosnia and the breakup of the Soviet Union. And he also reported on the end of apartheid in South Africa, he was Europe correspondent when the Euro was introduced, before moving to the US where he became the first BBC North America editor. Over to you Justin.
Justin Webb (07:58):
Thank you very much, Shola. It's a real pleasure. I did go out for the BBC and see all sorts of depressing things: wars, the result of wars and all kinds of human catastrophe, but also there are so many people around the planet, people who are committed to various things, including of course, the goals that we're talking about today. Monika Froehler who's the CEO of the Ban Ki-moon center for global citizens. Where, where are we do you think when we look at all the various events in the world at the moment.
Monika Froehler (08:31):
We are looking at a year where the number of violent conflicts are highest at highest level since 1945, the 10 biggest conflict make the world struggle to find a new equilibrium. We haven't found that equilibrium and we need to do our utmost, everyone, businesses, governments, private sector, NGOs, academia, even I’d claim media and the press. So in crisis and conflict affected areas, 2 billion people are misplaced. And we, we have this as sort of the ground that we are basing our various policies on. We do have a plan and that's the fortunate bit that we do have the SDGs and the Paris climate agreement, and the implementation of that plan will cost a lot, but the money's there, it needs the political will, and it needs the reorientation.
Justin Webb (09:21):
Dr. Parsons has spent so long as a British civil servant, physically involved on the ground, as well as a senior advisor to various British military and civilian entities in places where people are being helped. Imogen, give us your overview.
Dr. Imogen Parsons (09:38):
The goal of SDG 16 seems so obvious; peaceful, stable states that enable sustainable development, where terrorism and crime cannot flourish. That sounds quite familiar, doesn't it? Because it sounds quite similar to the goals we set ourselves in Afghanistan, Iraq and in other places like Marley. And we've learned that it's really not that easy to accomplish. The number of active, violent conflicts in fragile states, more than doubled between 2010 and 2020. And the vast majority worldwide are in developing countries in fragile states. So a first question to ask is whether the assistance part without the governance part or without corresponding support to other parts of the system in the long term will lead to better or worse outcomes. The next challenge is how to enable and support the development of legitimate security forces that can both do, as I say, the security management without committing human rights abuses or other actions that can inflame local and national tensions. The best indications we have are that it takes sustained work on culture or norms and on community traditions, including religion, working with people in positions of leadership at all levels, not just at the most senior commanders to set positive examples of behavior and to create new norms and cultures.
Justin Webb (10:51):
From the point of view of business more generally, but indeed of yourself, Mark, give us your sense of where we are and what the challenges are before we have a wider discussion.
Mark Moody-Smith (11:03):
Well, I think a good mark of a responsible business is one which signs up to the principles of the global compact covering the four major areas of UN conventions, but much more importantly than that openly reports on it and commits in the local networks to cooperate with civil society and labour organisations where they're present. And that can have a powerful influence on governments, where you have a coalition from different parts of society, which can support governments, where they're acting positively and collectively complain about the things which governments do, which are counterproductive. But if we can do that, I think very often business can prevent and nip at the bud, potentially dangerous violent situations building. It certainly doesn't always work, but I believe it can help to do so.
Justin Webb (12:20):
Thank you all so much for joining us. And I will hand back now to our central studio, as it were.
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (12:27):
Well done, Justin, for such a brilliant moderation. Let me tell you about Dr Isabella Bunn. She's an international lawyer and policy advisor with a transatlantic background as corporate council, trade and investment director and professor of business ethics.
Dr Isabella Bunn (12:45):
One of the latest projects, which I want to tell you about is about shared space. This notion of looking how business can collaborate with government and civil society and justice defenders, which is so vital to this whole notion of participation and also accountability. So the global compact has developed now a new framework on transformational governance. And if you get to their website, you'll see hundreds of examples, literally of how companies can engage, including with civil society and governments to set forth a more ambitious structure for the rule of law.
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (13:23):
I’m delighted to introduce our next speaker in the speaker’s corner. And it is Neliswa Mncube. Now Nelly, as she's fondly called, is the head of marketing at LexisNexis, South Africa.
Neliswa (Nelly) Mncube (13:37):
This report really is one that looks into the African continent and therefore when it comes to the barriers, the challenges, as well as some of the interventions that are required for the rule of law, it's important for us to make sure that we zone into Africa because of its uniqueness. We manage to get responses from 24 jurisdiction across the African continent. The responses are made up of individuals such as in-house councels, private practicing attorneys, members of the judiciary, as well as government representatives. The decline is something that is of great concern. It is also of great concern the reasons that have been stipulated as to where the decline is coming from.
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (14:29):
This next panel session is going to be looking at operating in times of conflict. It's an NGO panel. And our moderator for this panel is Teresa Jennings. She is the head of rule of law development for LexisNexis legal and professional.
Teresa Jennings (14:47):
So, I'm gonna introduce you to four amazing people who are doing the small and large things every day that are the building blocks, the pieces that are preventing conflict and are helping in conflict right now. These individuals are Kimberly Parker, who's the Hinari programme manager at the world health organization. I'd also like to introduce Mark Waddington, the CEO of hope and homes for children. Allison Tweed is chief executive of book aid international. And finally, I'd like to introduce Geraldine Anup-Willcocks, the emergencies specialist at UNICEF UK. What are the most important ways that an organization like yours reacts when a conflict erupts?
Kimberly Parker (15:39):
I work at the world health organization, which is one of the network of partners of the Research4Life program, which is what I'm going to be mostly talking about today. Research4Life is reducing the knowledge gap between lower and higher income countries by providing access to tens of thousands of online journals and hundreds of thousands of online books for researchers, academics, policy makers, professionals. We're working in 125 countries. Some of those countries were in conflict when we started 20 years ago. Some of them have had conflict situations arise during our time with them. The key is to be extremely flexible and able to respond to whatever is happening on the ground. No conflict is alike.
Mark Waddington (16:29):
Orphanages are deeply harmful to children. They have lifelong consequences for children. The majority of children in orphanages are not in fact orphans, over 80% of them still have one or both biological parents alive. And there are over five and a half million children globally confined in orphanages, living with neglect and abuse Hope and Homes for children develops prevention services. So we're getting to the root cause of the problem and preventing children from being separated from their families. We develop, develop alternative types of family care. We transition children out of orphanages back to their birth families and into alternative care. And then through our global advocacy, take this to scale Important ways in which we react to conflict in a country that we're operating in. Firstly is identifying who are the most left behind, second is determining how we can gain access to them, and then thirdly is understanding need and how that need can not only be provided directly, but how the systems around providing that need can also be taken to scale and adapt to the dynamic situation of the conflict.
Alison Tweed (17:44):
At Book Aid International, we provide over a million brand new books every year, which UK publishers generously donate to us. I mean, for us, all of our work in partnership with locally based organizations on the ground. So, we listen to them and we take our lead from them and we aim wherever possible to continue to support, because even where schools may be closed because of conflict, learning has to carry on. And people are very innovative and resourceful in working out ways for that to happen.
Geraldine Anup-Willcocks (18:19):
So we work in 190 countries around the world now, and we have a long term presence in those countries. So that means that we're there before emergencies, we are there when they erupt and then we’re there after emergencies in the rebuilding phase and then back into the next cycle again. So in terms of how we react, when a conflict erupts, as I said, we are always going to be there already in any of those 190 countries. And what we do is we do a rapid assessment within the first 72 hours. Then we get together with our cluster partners and we design a response according to whatever the needs assessment shows.
Teresa Jennings (18:56):
But how do you work around and with the challenges that are just coming at you from left and right. And how do you navigate that?
Geraldine Anup-Willcocks (19:05):
So in the context, in the horn of Africa at the moment where they've got a drought, because the rains have been failing for the last three years, and there's hundreds of thousands of people who have been displaced, and there's 2 million people, children who are predicted to be severely malnourished by the end of this year. So now we have this cluster system where you have a cluster for nutrition, a cluster for ICT a cluster for shelter, lots of different clusters. And basically it allows us to really, really carefully coordinate with each other to utilize the supplies that we do have access to. So, yeah, it really comes down to very careful coordination and efficiency really.
Teresa Jennings (19:45):
Are you engaged in helping people in the country, refugees or displaced people and with Ukraine, top of mind, what should people know or be doing specifically about that country right now?
Mark Waddington (19:59):
We're focusing on children who are associated with the orphanage system. There's a hundred thousand children. In some cases, babies have been left in large numbers, completely unattended for several days. Children, more than 40,000 children from the orphanage system have just been sent home with no preparation. New moms being so traumatized, they can't produce breast milk, which is a life-threatening situation for babies. And so sourcing formula milk and other baby food products has been, again, a really big issue. The final thing that, in partnership with UNICEF in fact, that we're working on is mobile units that will include mental health services and trauma counseling.
Alison Tweed (20:42):
We've been approached by the universal reading foundation in Poland, which is a Federation of over 20 of Poland's leading publishers who are working really hard to support Ukrainian publishers and try to keep their businesses going, and to get books in Ukrainian to some of the children involved in fleeing the conflict. And reading foundation approached us and said, no, we do want, you know, we are desperate to have books that children can engage with low, low language level, obviously to just distract them and give them hope
Kimberly Parker (21:17):
The research community or the professionals who are no longer in Ukraine, and yet still want that connection back to their home site Researchers, doctors, you name it, people who are no longer in Ukraine, and yet want that feeling of still working to make a better future by continuing their research, continuing their teaching, continuing their practice of whatever profession they did. And sometimes it's even people continuing to make art and literature and sports and music, and actually creating the beauty that will hopefully lead us to a better tomorrow.
Teresa Jennings (22:03):
What can businesses do to support NGO partners during times of conflict, apart from just giving cash?
Geraldine Anup-Willcocks (22:12):
One of the biggest things you can do is really communicate widely and use social media to be able to pass on the messages about the organisations that you're supporting and what they're getting up to, because that influences the media as well.
Teresa Jennings (22:26):
As we work towards the end of conflict, what is the message of hope you would like to leave our audience?
Mark Waddington (22:35):
And that can be channeled not merely into rebuilding but recreating society in a better way. And the key with that is to ensure as wide a participation and inclusion in it as possible so that all people who are affected by conflict can become co-architects of their own future
Kimberly Parker (22:56):
Peace is not just the absence of war. True peace depends upon creating the opportunity that makes life worth living. We've learned with the Research4Life partnership, from conflict situations in countries, such as Mali, Yemen and Ukraine, is that having a strong country presence in advance can ensure that the work we do keeps benefiting the communities, even when an emergency disrupts our normal work.
Teresa Jennings (23:24):
You all, I thank you for the important work you're doing. And with that, I'd like to turn to Ylann Schemm.
Ylann Schemm (23:30):
We cannot think of conflict response without thinking of post-conflict response. And this was something that earlier in the day, that Imogen Parsons really underscored very articulately that there has to be this holistic integrated conflict and post conflict approach from charities from partners civil society, so that there can be a kind of layering of contributions in a vibrant and positive way not just in the crisis moment, but in the ongoing moment of the conflict as it evolves rapidly and in the post conflict moment. And I'll think I'll end there and hand back to our wonderful moderator for today. Shola.
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (24:13):
Another engaging discussion today. We really needed to hear that. All right. So the unique contributions we're gonna be hearing about are going to be exploring some projects that LexisNexis have been heavily involved in as examples of how a business can, and should, and must if I may add, leverage their expertise for the advancement of the SDGs.
Nigel Roberts (24:35):
Hello, I'm Nigel Roberts, VP global associations for LexisNexis Legal & Professional and VP and secretary of the LexisNexis rule law foundation. Today, you'll hear about our partnership with the international bar association. Our technologists worked with the IBA and in 2015, the IBA eyewitness to atrocities app was launched. LexisNexis provides a secure repository and data encryption for the photographs and video collected through the app. And as you might expect, since the war in Ukraine, several hundred pieces of footage from Ukraine have been uploaded to the app. Here’s our and EVP and general counsel and president of the LexisNexis rule of law foundation, Ian McDougall and project director, Wendy Betz, to share more.
Ian McDougall (25:28):
Now our mission as a company at LexisNexis is to advance the rule of law, it started very much as passion projects around the world and then we decided to look at it as a company with the intention of being able to deploy our core skills in support of advancing the rule of law. Four themes consistently emerge, and now form our definition of the rule of law: One equality before the law; Two independent judiciary, a judiciary free from corruption, political influence and deciding cases solely on evidence and law; Three access to the law, you have to be able to know what the law is to have a fair chance of complying with it; Four access to reasonable remedy. If you can't get your grievance remedied, then you don't really have a law worthy of the name. Without those four crucial foundational pillars, there can be no human rights. Without these things, there can be no functioning democracy. Without these things, an environment of corruption flourishes. Yes, we can argue that a society founded on the principles of the rule of law is the right thing to do. From a moral standpoint, it strikes most right minded members of society as the right thing to do. But we have shown that there's a direct correlation between a whole range of socioeconomic measures. Infant mortality is lower. Life expectancy is higher, even per capita GDP. Yes. The money in your pocket is higher. Whenever the rule of law is strongest. Now, why did I go on about the socioeconomic statistics? Well, because it isn't enough to be right. We have to show people why this matters to them in their everyday lives. The only way we can ultimately protect everyone is through the strong adherence to the rule of law. We established the LexisNexis rule of law foundation, a registered charity, to help the cause through projects and raising awareness. And let me now ask Wendy to talk about the eyewitness app.
Wendy Betts (27:23):
My name is Wendy Betts and I direct eyewitness to atrocities. We are an organization based in London that was created by the international bar association. We work with human rights organizations around the world to help them improve the potential evidentiary value of photos and videos they collect about human rights violations. However, while this footage was doing a tremendous job of raising awareness of violations that were occurring, it was very difficult if not impossible, to use this footage as actual evidence to hold the perpetrators of the violations accountable. So without being able to trace the prominence of a lot of this footage, we were seeing online, and it's very difficult to determine if it was authentic. The eyewitness app that you've heard mentioned is what is known as a controlled capture tool. They record and embed the information needed to demonstrate the authenticity of the footage at the moment it's captured. When a user sends the footage to the eyewitness server, we securely store that footage to demonstrate that the original information has not been changed. The hosting environment that LexisNexis provides helps us to create in essence of virtual evidence locker that secures the information until it's needed by the courts. So this approach and this partnership allows us to create this trusted chain of custody, which is what is going to be necessary for the photo and videos to be admitted as evidence. Now, we have photos and videos that not only can be believed by a court, but are also organized into dossiers that are directly relevant to investigators cases. So with eyewitness, the photos and videos that might otherwise be lost among a sea of footage are transformed into evidence that can help bring justice. So even though in Ukraine, there are channels of official investigation collection underway, there are still going to be citizens, journalists, and other non-professional investigators who will be first on the scene. So this is why eyewitness is seeking to equip people with a way to gather this footage so that it can ensure they can be easily authenticated for investigations and trials.
Steve Carroll (29:23):
I'm Steve Carroll, I'm the VP of customer insights at Lexus nexus. However, most importantly, I'm one of the hundreds of volunteers who help support our rule of law projects. I found a lot of research based on expert ratings and rankings, a lot of socioeconomic data, but very little on the actual lived experience. So we currently track feedback across 174 countries, and we're surveying in English, Indonesian, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Italian, simplified Chinese, Turkish, German, Korean, Japanese, French, Ukrainian, and we've recently launched our Farsi tracking as well. So this is an extensive program and we focus on the four key components of the rule of law. And this is the rule of law equation that Ian has just outlined. I cannot underestimate the importance of the equation for us, everything we do aligns with the component of the rule of law equation. But essentially, we ask respondents across the world, if they agree or disagree with the following four questions. You can see the metrics we track and what we refer to as data pods, just over half, so it's actually 55% of the global public, rate the rule of law as strong. It's the lowest rated area of the rule of law is the independence of the judiciary. I hope you have found this demo helpful. Everything we do with the rule of law monitor is designed around increasing visibility into the lived experience of the rule of law and everything we do will be made available via the rule of law foundation.
Ian McDougall (31:06):
Any one particular piece of data is a snapshot in time. The important thing will be to look at how this develops over time and look for trends and various other things that we can look for.
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (31:18):
Now, we are gonna have thoughts on the day from YS Chi. YS Chi is an international business and thought leader in the publishing, education and information solutions industries. In his role as director of corporate affairs for RELX, Elsevier’s parent company, he is responsible for government affairs, corporate communications, and corporate responsibility across all four of the group’s market segments.
Youngsuk ‘YS’ Chi (31:45):
Peace, justice, and strong institutions are the three key pillars of strong countries. Now as a son of a Korean diplomat who fought in the Korean war, I especially know this to be true. Some of you have heard me speak about my father, how he witnessed firsthand, how easily conflict and corruption led to the atrocities of the war and it's shattering after effects. It completely devastated the economy, leaving people hungry, poor, and almost broken in spirit even after the fighting was over. The Korean war was just another point of proof that without a strong foundation of peaceful and just institutions, our society is left vulnerable to face other threats on its own. These are not easy pills to swallow. We have a long way to go working towards achieving SDG 16 and consequently the entire SDG agenda, and to make matters even more urgent we only have eight years left until 2030 deadline. I would like to now introduce our keynote speaker, Sir Bob Geldoff. Starting his career as a successful musician, actor and a songwriter, Sir Bob was a major player in the seventy’s punk rock movement as the lead singer of the Boomtown Rats. But in 1984, while watching the news one night, Sir Bob watched a report on the horrific famine in Ethiopia and decided to take action. And the result was Live Aid, which has been dubbed the biggest and greatest event in pop history. Sir Bob also established and continues to chair the Band-Aid trust, which operates in eight African countries. He's been nominated for the Nobel peace prize a whopping eight times. He has also been honored with a knighthood by her majesty queen Elizabeth II. Not only is sir Bob internationally recognized as a great musician, he is more importantly, a leading philanthropist, political activist and humanitarian who doesn't shy away from speaking truth to power.
Sir Bob Geldof (33:51):
The root of all human world problems is poverty. It seems unbelievable today, but only 21 years ago, war between developed and developing countries was a laughable idea. Trade had liberalized and opened borders; the global supply system was bringing unprecedented benefits to huge numbers of people; new technologies were altering the means of communication, the economy and trade. Leaders sat down together and talked through consensus, cooperation, and compromise. The SDGs were born into this more febrile time, but believed these tensions were local and surmountable, while simultaneously the new goals sought to deal with the root and consequences of the circumstances that gave rise to these concerns in the first place. The problem is not that the SDGs as the answer are incorrect, it is that they are too sprawling, like all human problems, there's too much. Business, as well as government seem to have given up at precisely the moment where wider thinking is so desperately needed. The first aspiration of the SDGs is the elimination of poverty, from this everything else, all the other SDGs follows. Education, health, political, economic equity, migration, justice, all can be eliminated only through the ending of poverty. And here's the great news. Unbelievably, amazingly poverty can be defeated. It is entirely in our own self-interest to do so. It is the SDG. Go back to the start. The rest will follow. All humans want the same thing. We'd love to live in peace, but you're not going to get the others that follow from number one SDG, and number two is eliminate hunger, and that's absolutely correct, but we have to find that common ambition: respecting each other, respecting personal, national, economic boundaries and working towards some sort of idea that allows us all to live and breathe on the same planet without destroying. Top level decision making, bringing the people along with it. COVID succeeded because in most of the states, the people went along with it. They voluntarily locked themselves away. The institutions like the health services and the sacrifice of the doctors and the nurses to keep working were miraculous, but we can do stuff.
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (36:46):
We have got a great panel coming up, and this panel is going to be talking about women and the SDGs, and to be moderated by Amanda Ellis. But before Amanda comes on with the panelists, we are going to hear from one of the amazing partners of this event. Feraye Ozfescioglu is the chief executive officer of the world humanitarian forum. She is the co-founder of the organization and has been instrumental in the process of its establishment, working alongside Ban Ki-moon and retired honorable Jack Straw and various heads of states, government and multilateral officials. She has contributed to the transition from aid to development, built on one humanity and shared responsibility.
Feraye Ozfescioglu (37:35):
Businesses can help the countries where they operate to meet the SDG 16 targets related to anti-corruption, labor rights, inclusive decision making and community engagement. One of the tendencies of the private sector is to view SDG 16 as primarily in the realm of governmental actors, with activities, focusing on corruption and eliminating bad corporate behaviors, or as a concern mostly linked to conflict areas. However, this is a narrow view that misses the role of the private sector in areas such as promoting diversity and gender equality, free information flows and supporting justice initiatives. We need to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development. Definitely provide access to justice for all and build effective accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. All women need to be able to turn to fair, effective institutions to access justice and essential services. It is my great pleasure to hand over the conversation to next panels moderator Amanda Ellis. Amanda is a former UN ambassador, leads global partnerships and networks for the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona state university.
Amanda Ellis (38:57):
SDG 16 is absolutely critical for business and business is critical for SDG 16. And as Sir Bob said, we have a common ambition with the SDG framework, and now we need a different kind of leadership. So I'm thrilled to have a terrific panel today with three speakers: Martin Chungong, who is the eighth secretary general of the inter parliamentary union, Zoya Lytvyn, who is a WE Empower UN SDG Challenge awardee, Ukrainian educator, public activist, the founder of NGO Osvitoria and Ukraine's top innovative School, Novopecherska, and last but not least Tea Trumbic, who is the program manager for Women, Business and the Law Project at The World Bank.
Martin Chungong (39:49):
In the IPU we want to support women in this to transform an institution that is crucial to democracy that is crucial to development that we are discussing. And that parliament. Parliament is a pillar of inclusive governance. And we need to be making sure that that parliament is working for all of society and for it to work for all of society, you need all its components in the women and men alike. And when you are in parliament, then you want to work towards building legislation that is gender responsive, making sure that parliament in its processes and composition responds addresses the needs of women and men alike. As of January this year, we know that just slightly over 26% of the world's parliamentarians are women. And there's evidence that it's going to take us 40 to 50 years to achieve parity. I don't want to wait until then. And one of the pledges that we have undertaken this year is to fight for zero tolerance for gender based violence in our institutions.
Amanda Ellis (41:01):
And of course, gender based violence is something at the top of all of our minds. Now with this dreadful unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russia. And this is a perfect segue to Zoya Liten, who is now a refugee.
Zoya Lytvyn (41:17):
You said that I'm a refugee and I still try to deny it a little bit. And I prefer to call myself as a temporary displaced person while being out of my country, I'm trying to do as much as possible to stop this war as many, many women and interpreters in Ukraine. So now this Ukrainian national online school, this is the name of the platform and it covers the school curriculum for the secondary school. So now we have there more than 480,000 students, which learn on this platform every day. And they are supported by teachers. And actually this is a safe environment for them where they can continue their pre-war routines and where they feel that despite everything and despite war, Ukraine still invests in them.
Amanda Ellis (42:16):
Thank you so much Zoya. So the work that Tea does and her wonderful team at the bank is absolutely critical in continuing to shine a spotlight by cataloging the laws, showcasing good practices, helping governments realize that they can implement changes, which will be better for women, better for society and better for the economy.
Tea Trumbic (42:43):
The economic potential of the world is untapped. When half of its population is not able to participate fully Gender equality is essential, not only for peace and security, but to achieve key development goals and boost economic growth. How can we talk about justice for all and inclusive institutions when the underlying rules of society treat women and men differently from the very start. We explore laws across eight areas that have been found critical to women's economic empowerment. And we highlight opportunities for reform in 190 economies globally. The eight indicators show ways in which laws affect women throughout their working lives in our indicators and workplace and marriage, we look at whether laws protect women against sexual harassment and domestic violence, because women need to be empowered both at home and in the workplace to be able to contribute fully. The areas that need the most reform are related to pay and parenthood. In 95 countries, women are not guaranteed equal pay for equal work. In 86 countries, there's at least one legal restriction imposed in women's work in employment. And 76 countries have no paid leave for fathers and majority of the countries around the world don't have parental leave for parents to share.
Amanda Ellis (43:58):
Business had risen to be the most trusted institution during COVID, which I think was a first. And so it's very interesting to me now to see that the role of business in a range of crises is really being recognized, not least of course, the climate crisis, which is so critical to our long term future.
Martin Chungong (44:20):
We all agree that there is a role to be played by business in promoting SDG 16. The spirit of SDG 16 is that of partnership: partnership between governments, parliament, civil society, and the private sector. Parliament can play that role of creating an environment, legal environment, that would allow the business to promote gender equality. And of course there should be an ongoing conversation between parliamentary leaders and the business community.
Tea Trumbic (44:58):
Behind institutions, behind businesses, behind governments are people. It's all people running these institutions. And at the end of the day, we all have the same goals in life.
Zoya Lytvyn (45:09):
If we speak to our kids today, and if we compare to ourselves, when we were children, what I notice is they're modern heroes, they're not artists or pop stars, or even sportsmen. Kids today, they dream to become movers and shakers of the world. They dream to change something. I would really prefer to have more role models and success stories of businesses, which are for purpose, which lead by their example, and that are based on inclusive decision making.
Amanda Ellis (45:54):
Martin, Zoya, Tea, thank you all so much.
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (45:56):
Wonderful, what a powerful session. Thank you so much, Amanda, Zoya, Martin and Tea. We are going to hear from another one of our amazing partners, Steve Kenzie from the UN Global Compact UK
Steve Kenzie (46:13):
SDG 16 is about peace, justice and strong institutions, and really critical that we not neglect that first component peace, no sustainable development without peace, no peace without sustainable development. Business thrives in a stable, peaceful environment, and therefore has a very strong incentive to play a role in conflict prevention and peace building. UN global compact has worked for over 20 years in this space to engage the private sector. We've developed useful resources, convened multi-stakeholder dialogues and established, innovative partnerships. We ultimately help business to reduce corporate risks and enhance their capacity to have a long and lasting impact on the most fundamental of UN goals, Peace. Philippa Scarlett, RELX's corporate head of government affairs is gonna speak with Mike Walsh, the CEO of LexisNexis legal & professional.
Philippa Scarlett (47:09):
And to have a dialogue about how responsible business can support peace, justice and strong institutions we’ll be talking specially about the rule of law.
Mike Walsh (47:20):
We have one of the largest global databases of legal information and analytics. Our database is about 150 times the size of Wikipedia, just to put it in perspective, and it's doubling every three years. And we provide the information and tools to help lawyers become more effective and more efficient and extend the umbrella protection of the rule of law. The UN estimates that about five billion people today live outside the umbrella protection of the rule of law. And our mission as a company is to bring that number down to zero.
Philippa Scarlett (47:55):
The eyewitness to atrocity app. I would love if you could share with us a little bit about how it is being used.
Mike Walsh (48:06):
It's the primary app that allows you to document war crimes in a way that's accessible and admissible in court. It provides us timestamp and date and allows you to authenticate and document. Easy to download and use. And the Ukrainian bar association needed a portal to be able to match up work that their lawyers are doing with, you know, all the critical projects right now, going on with immigration and war crimes and peace and other issues. And so our team of volunteers just swarm to this and we're gonna be beta launching that soon.
Philippa Scarlett (48:45):
I am an attorney by trade as well, who's worked to advance the rule of law in the US and around the world. When I was working at the justice department rebuild criminal justice systems, such as in post-apartheid South Africa, post-genocide Rwanda, I'm proud to be a part of a company that seeks to advance the rule of law and justice around the world.
Mike Walsh (49:07):
We track the rule of law with the rule of law index. And if rule of law increases by 10% crime worldwide would fall by 30%, infant mortality would improve by 30%, Life expectancy statistically would increase by an average of two years and GDP per capita would increase by about $7,000.
Philippa Scarlett (49:33):
Thank you so much, Mike.
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (49:35):
Okay. The next person we're gonna be hearing from is Irina Bokova, the former director general of UNESCO.
Irina Bokova (49:45):
I believe that all these three crises have a very direct impact on goal 16 because goal 16 indeed is about peace is about multilateralism. It's about strong institutions, both nationally and internationally. It is about justice. It is about the rule of law. It is about the end to violence, including sexual violence against women. It is about broadly, I would say, human security. And recently there was an extremely interesting initiative by the world academy of arts and sciences for putting a strong emphasis on human security, working with United Nations. And let me just remind that the world academy of arts and sciences was meant to give a different perspective to peace and to the needs of how to move towards a peaceful society. I think that none of these ideas have aged today with all the threats and challenges that we see nowadays.
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (50:55):
Absolutely excited to introduce Kerenza Peacock, an internationally renowned violinist, the classical artist behind a recent viral video showcasing 94 violinists from across the globe, playing their violins in harmony and solidarity with their Ukrainian counterparts.
Kerenza Peacock (51:16):
So I particularly started talking to one violinist called Illia Bondarenko, who's a fantastic composer and violinist. And I asked him how he felt about being in the bomb shelter, and he was worried that he'd never make it out again, and he really deserved to be playing with top violinists across the world. And so I decided to work out how we could make that happen now.
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (53:09):
Astounding, thank you so much Kerenza, thank you for joining us today. Really, really appreciate it. Let us get ready to listen to our next speaker Mick Sheldrick, who is a co-founder and chief policy and government relations officer at Global Citizen.
Michael Sheldrick (53:24):
For us to be able to eliminate extreme poverty, you know, it's essential that local communities and activists all have a role. You know, the author, Alice Walker said, activism is the rent we pay for living on this planet. And by the way, that goes to corporate citizens, as well as individual citizens. And for us, we believe that it's only together that we will achieve this ambitious agenda to end extreme poverty now.
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (53:53):
Michelle Breslauer, who is the senior manager, governance and peace at United Nations Global Compact.
Michelle Breslauer (53:58):
Now we know that of the 17 sustainable development goals, this is often the least understood by business, but arguably the most consequential to businesses. Responsible businesses want to operate and serve in communities where there are institutions, laws, and systems that protect their rights and the rights of the individuals that they employ and serve. At the same time they recognize that their own values, strategies, policies, operations, and relationships need to be of a standard that ensures respect for people, planet and prosperity. So, as I mentioned last year, we launched the SDG 16 business framework, inspiring transformational governance. And as the name implies, this framework is a translation of the targets under goal 16 for businesses, as it relates to their internal and external activities. It's a tool for business, developed by businesses, including RELX, to inspire transformational governance, which is another way that we're framing an expanded G or governance dimension of ESG, environmental, social governance.
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (55:14):
Thank you so much for joining us and everyone. I hope you've been learning hearing, and you are ready to apply all that.