Leaders Discuss Private Sector Role in SDG 16
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
story highlights

The SDG Fund launched a report on business' role in advancing SDG 16, in New York, US, on 3 November 2017.

The private sector can help to prevent money laundering and curb terrorist financing, as contribtions to building stronger institutions, combatting corruption and promoting peace, said Sol Beatriz Arango, President, Servicios Nutresa.

3 November 2017: Business leaders, governments, UN agencies, civil society and academia discussed how SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) is relevant to the private sector and the link between peace and the development agenda, during the launch of a report on business and SDG 16. Participants noted that companies can help achieve the Goal by preventing corruption and creating conditions that will lead to inclusive decision-making and improve the rule of law, including by creating enabling conditions for corporate social responsibility, good governance and transparency.

The Sustainable Development Goals Fund issued the report titled, ‘Business and SDG 16: Contributing to peaceful, just and inclusive societies,’ in collaboration with its Private Sector Advisory Group and Pennsylvania University Law School, and with legal specialized support from the law firm McDermott Will & Emery. Previous reports from the SDG Fund identified opportunities for private sector engagement in the SDGs. The UN created the SDG Fund, an international multi-donor and multi-agency development mechanism, to support sustainable development activities through joint programmes.

The report offers a review of best practices gathered from the private sector. It contains the results of a series of conversations with private sector, governments and civil society representatives, and analysis of national case studies on fighting corruption. It also provides insights on benefits and incentives for companies to internalize SDG 16 and to partner with governments and the UN to achieve the Goal.

Opening the discussions, Rangita de Silva de Alwis, University of Pennsylvania Law School, said implementing the SDGs will improve the environment for building markets and strengthening the rule of law. She observed that the report is a call to action for the private sector to get involved on a higher moral ground. She noted that, through SDG 16, peace has become the “fourth dimension” of sustainable development, in addition to the environmental, economic and social dimensions. Among the contributions the private sector could have in SDG 16 implementation, she enumerated combatting violence (as the private sector can contribute to prevention both by engendering economic growth and cutting funding for terrorist groups), gender equality, fighting corruption and partnerships.

Ana María Menéndez, Senior Advisor of the UN Secretary-General on Policy, said implementing the 2030 Agenda is the best way to invest in crisis prevention. She underscored the need for multidimensional and integrated responses between UN agencies and between UN and stakeholders. She called for putting people at the heart of both prevention and development.

Simon Zadek, Senior Adviser on Finance to the UN Deputy Secretary-General, called for businesses to focus on “long-term money” instead of predatory, short-term money.

Simon Zadek, Senior Adviser on Finance to the UN Deputy Secretary-General, noted that in pursuing their interests, businesses often cause damage through: investments in fossil fuels; not providing legal, decent jobs; lobbying for policies detrimental to human rights and peace; and not paying taxes. He stressed that emphasis needs to be placed on responsible business leadership. Zadek called for an emphasis on “long-term money” instead of predatory, short-term money, in order to shift businesses’ cultures.

Carla Mucavi, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), cautioned that the number of people suffering from hunger has increased in recent years, and highlighted the need for private sector contributions to help address that. She presented FAO’s framework for engagement with the private sector and its role in resilience building, preventing shocks, and supporting the most vulnerable.

Sol Beatriz Arango, President, Servicios Nutresa, spoke about the private sector’s role in building stronger institutions, combatting corruption and promoting peace, including by preventing money laundering and curbing terrorist financing. She presented several initiatives of her companies, including guidelines that the company implements throughout all subsidiaries, contractors and clients, and committees on transparency, ethics and conflict of interests. [Event Website] [SDG Fund Website] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Business and SDG 16: Contributing to peaceful, just and inclusive societies] [FAO Strategy for Partnerships with the Private Sector] [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources] [UN Press Release]

related posts