First published on People Daily

By Judy Njino (Executive Director, Global Compact Kenya)

Do businesses really care for consumers and other stakeholders or do they only care because it is good for the bottom line?

If corporate social responsibility acts are profit-driven, then businesses are merely using people as a means to maximise profits.

Where most companies seek to avoid any public association with human rights issues, some business leaders are pushing the boundaries and they want others to do the same.

The momentum behind the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has added fuel to this movement. It has helped companies realise that, by contributing to the achievement of human rights for all, they can play a pivotal role in creating momentum for achievement of the global goals.

The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, launched in 2011, offer guidelines for companies to prevent, address and remedy human rights abuses in business operations.

This wave of information, activity and expectations drives corporate action on human rights beyond risk management and compliance and into companies' strategies, purpose and goals.

One of the many challenges associated with the guiding principles is their practical implementation. While theoretically, the emphasis is placed on the primary protective duty of the government to safeguard human rights, it is increasingly apparent from a practical perspective that this needs to be supplemented by private actors in many markets.

First published on People Daily

By Judy Njino (Executive Director, Global Compact Kenya)

2020 is an important year as we enter the Decade of Action for delivering on the 2030 Agenda. Adopted in September 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) integrate the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

Unanimously adopted by all the 193 member states of the United Nations, it was a historic feat in international diplomacy and multilateralism.

For Kenyans, the goals embody a collective vision of the life where every citizen can live up to their fullest potential and enjoy a life of dignity, free from poverty and oppression. 

Yet, as we pause and take stock of the progress we have made, we are reminded that the successful fight against corruption will be the silver bullet in helping Kenya inch closer to the achievement of SDGs.

Over the past decade, corruption in Kenya has remained rampant as evidenced by increased cases of bribery, extortion, money laundering, fraud and collusion both in the public and private sector. The impact of this cannot be understated.

According to the UN, corruption is closely linked to all the 17 SDGs and has the power to impede progress if it remains unchecked. Its negative impact on essential services such as access to food, healthcare and education can further be exacerbated in countries where these services are already limited.

Kenya can change this narrative in 2020 and the private sector remains an important actor in the successful fight against corruption. Further, the new decade is an opportunity to take bold action on a scale we've never seen before.

First published on People Daily

By Judy Njino (Executive Director, Global Compact Kenya)

What do the Sustainable Development Goals aim to achieve?  

 

The world is ten years away from the deadline for achieving the 2030 Agenda — and yet we are not on the path to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are words on paper that need vitality, evidence, and political will to move toward becoming actions at the regional and national levels that will empower people and the planet to flourish.

 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in September 2015 by the 193 Member States of the United Nations. These 17 goals set the ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ with 169 targets aimed at ending poverty, fighting inequality and tackling climate change over the next years.

 

The global community needs to think differently about plans to get back on track — and that means advancing the efficiency of development cooperation. Presently, the process of implementing SDGs has been more collaborative than any other UN process in history. And as an outcome, we both have an extensive and in some ways a balanced view of the future we want – representing various sectors and voices, including the private sector’s voice.

 

As part of the 2019 session of the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, countries, UN officials and stakeholders shared their outlook on the four years of Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), during which 142 countries released their reports. Voluntary Nation Reviews play a vital role as they help in identifying challenges, are important in distinguishing gaps and the way forward on the SDGs at the country level.