“We are determined to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.” (United Nations A/RES/70/1, 2015, p. 3)
The preamble of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development famously states “There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development”. Peace, justice and strong institutions are an inalienable condition for development. No progress is reliable, or secure, without strong background conditions.
And yet, the OECD´s report on “States of Fragility 2020” provides us with a dim picture. Before COVID over 76% of the extremely poor lived in fragile contexts, and the most fragile contexts are at increasing risk of falling behind. As we go further into the decade of action this should be an alarming fact, one that requires coordinated effort and a renewed commitment to good governance by all actors.
When we think of SDG16 in the context of businesses, corruption often takes center-stage, but the SDG compass identifies five additional key themes: Effective, accountable and transparent governance, Compliance with laws and regulations, Public access to information, Physical and economic displacement and Inclusive decision making.
Companies need strong institutions, rule of law and peace to operate. But this is a two way street: through their actions, they can foster the same climate that helps them thrive. Much is left to do, but there are examples of positive and profitable business that can shine as an inspiration. The next section includes reflections from students who considered some such companies. These young men and women talk about being transformed by the experience, we hope you will be too.
Isabel Rodriguez Tejedo, PhD
Economics Department, School of Economics and Business, University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain)
United Nations A/RES/70/1. (2015). Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development. Retrieved from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org