Rule of Law

The concept of the Rule of Law is fundamental to achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, SDG 16 aspires to "promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels." The Rule of Law is a foundation for all these aims.

The Rule of Law represents a principle of governance that all persons, institutions, entities, public and private, including the state itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced, and independently adjudicated. In the context of SDGs, the Rule of Law ensures equitable access to justice (SDG 16.3), strengthens corruption-free institutions (SDG 16.5), and nurtures peaceful societies (SDG 16.1).

Equal access to justice under the Rule of Law is central to reducing inequalities (SDG 10) and ensuring no one is left behind. It safeguards individuals' rights, including those of vulnerable groups like women, children, and marginalized communities, facilitating their access to basic services and protection, thereby helping achieve goals related to poverty eradication (SDG 1), good health and well-being (SDG 3), quality education (SDG 4), and gender equality (SDG 5).

The Rule of Law is also intrinsic to building effective, accountable institutions (SDG 16.6). These institutions play a pivotal role in providing public services, managing public resources, and upholding civil rights. When corruption, bribery, theft, and tax evasion are substantially reduced (SDG 16.5), resources can be appropriately allocated to support sustainable development initiatives.

Moreover, peaceful societies, a primary aim of SDG 16, are facilitated by the Rule of Law. A society where laws are respected and fairly applied fosters an environment of security and stability. It deters violent conflict, promotes human rights, and encourages social and economic development.

The eighth official RELX SDG Inspiration Day was held virtually on May 9, 2022. The event gave thought leaders, corporate representatives, investors, governments, and NGOs a common platform to discuss the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 16, namely, “Peace, justice and strong institutions”. Several notable keynote speakers and panellists shared their insights on how to achieve this goal and the current challenges that need to be resolved to do so.
RELX SDG Customer Awards aim to recognise RELX customers who share our commitment to driving action in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Read more about the 2022 winners.
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.
LexisNexis Legal & Professional,

LexisNexis UK, LexisPSL, Risk and Compliance, May 16th, 2022

This Practice Note from LexisPSL explains what the UN Global Compact is and how it interacts with issues relating to business and human rights. It also summarises the key pledges and principles of the UN Global Compact, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, how organisations can sign up and the annual reporting requirements. The UN Global Compact is a vital vehicle for advancing SDG 17.16 to enhance the global partnership for sustainable development.
Scale of law made of plants
ISO14001, an internationally accepted standard that defines the requirements for establishing, implementing and operating an environmental management system (EMS), was updated in 2015 to have a greater focus on leadership, the context in which a company operates, as well as how the company will demonstrate legal compliance. This article is related to SDG #13, Climate Action, and SDG #16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, as it demonstrates the important influence of a strong rule of law on managing the environmental impact of business.
Scene from South-East Asia, woman walking past a building
Rosnah, born in the depths of the Borneo jungle, held a copy of her birth certificate in her hands. Aged 16, she had attended local school classes but was unable to take exams because she couldn’t prove her identity. Her life changed with a basic legal document most of us take for granted. In April 2019, LexisNexis helped bring Rosnah under the protection of the rule of law through its work with a local mobile court initiative.
Elsevier, Forensic Science International: Mind and Law, Volume 2, November 2021

COP26 is the 2021 United Nations annual climate change conference. COP stands for Conference of the Parties. Parties are the signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) - a treaty agreed in 1994 which has 197 Parties (196 countries and the EU). The 2021 conference, hosted by the UK, together with our partners Italy, in Glasgow, will be the 26th meeting of the Parties, which is why it's called COP26.

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