Promote just, peaceful, and inclusive societies.
Data can help the fight for peace and justice. We can begin by making sure every person is counted. Amazingly, the births of more than 1 in 10 children under the age of 5 are not registered. They don’t officially exist and therefore lack basic human rights and protection. Birth registration has occurred for 73 percent of children under 5, but only 46% of sub-Saharan Africa have had their births registered. Consequently, one of the basic objectives of Goal 16 is to ensure that the existence of every human being is recorded.
The photographs showing Europe’s migration crisis are heartbreaking. Anguish etched into faces of people desperately attempting to find safety – except for those like that of two-year-old Aylan Kurdi, lifeless on the shoreline, who paid the ultimate price searching for it. The photos offer a tiny glimpse into the nightmare millions face fleeing Syria. Over half of the population has been forced from their homes, and many people have been displaced multiple times as the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports.
Syria is a mess, torn apart by a brutal dictatorship, moderate Syrian rebels, Kurdish separatists, and the savagery of the Islamic State (IS). Nine years of fighting between the various groups has turned Syria into the world’s largest refugee crisis. But Syria is not unique. The world is currently witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. More than 70.8 million people or nearly one person every two seconds, were forcibly displaced around the world in 2019 as a result of conflict or persecution. According to the Global Peace Index 2019, refugees made up almost 1% of the global population in 2017 for the first time in modern history, at a rate 12 times higher than in 1951. What chance do these people have to lead a normal life again?
Peace and justice are not only essential to ending wars and conflicts; they’re foundational to achieving all 16 other UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With the years 2000 to 2015 as a guide, we know that ending extreme poverty is highly dependent on peace. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the five countries that did not progress on any of the Millennium Development Goals – the precursor to the new SDGs – all faced violent conflicts at some point between 2000 and 2015.
If we want to eliminate inequality based on gender, ethnicity, and beliefs, we must achieve justice. Women and children are often targeted in conflicts – abused, raped, and killed. A UN official confirmed the existence of a price list for child slaves published by IS, suggesting how heinous their treatment can be. But it is wrong to assume this problem exists only in conflict zones; violence toward women and children is everywhere. The United States itself has an appalling track record – every two minutes a woman is raped – suggesting many countries need to invest in protecting the vulnerable. Ranked 128th on the global peace index, the United States has an opportunity to set an example by improving peace and security within its own borders by 2030.
Data can help the fight for peace and justice. We can begin by making sure every person is counted. Amazingly, the births of more than 1 in 10 children under the age of 5 are not registered, according to data from the World Bank. In other words, they don’t officially exist and, therefore, lack basic human rights and protection. As basic as it sounds, one of the objectives of Global Goal 16 is to ensure that the existence of every human being is recorded. Data documenting a person is a basic human right. Data can also shine a light on violence and conflict, helping us understand how to stop them.
Being responsible for a country’s laws, justice system, and enforcement, governments naturally play a central role in bringing about peace and justice. But the private sector also has a role to play.
PeaceNexus Foundation’s core mission is to support peacebuilding-relevant actors, such as multilateral organizations, governments, nonprofit organizations, and businesses. PeaceNexus provides expertise and advice on how these agents can make the most out of their peacebuilding role and capacity to help stabilize and reconcile conflict-affected societies. It has developed the Peacebuilding Business Criteria (PBBC) for businesses that operate in fragile and conflict-affected states. Rather than emphasize compliance, the aim of the PBBC is to identify good practice and recommend business policy and action that contributes to conflict prevention and stabilization.
For some conflicts around the world, private-sector supply chains are the cause. For example, all of the electronics we use depend on tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold. The Democratic Republic of Congo has one of the few rich deposits of ores needed to produce these metals. Given the explosion of electronic devices the world uses, it’s a huge benefit to improve the well-being of the Congo. However, a weak government and strong rebel groups have caused the opposite to happen; these valuable minerals instead fuel conflict and violence.
The problem is so severe that the United States and other countries demand companies to verify and prove that their manufactured goods do not use minerals from the Congo or other conflict zones. With the help of online collaboration platforms, companies can ensure their supply chain is using responsibly sourced materials.
As our world shrinks with every newborn child and with every newly integrated supply chain, finding a way to live in peace and harmony is our only hope for survival. We can all help – nations, governments, corporations, and individuals – to stop the nightmares for so many and help them dream once again.
SAP technology is helping governments and other organizations use data and digital tools to improve people’s lives: