First published in The Standard and The Star

 

By Judy Njino (Executive Director, Global Compact Kenya)

 

This year, the world celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in a climate of declining global commitments to international legal instruments, evidenced by receding human rights leadership from traditional Western champions.

 

According to the 2018 Rule of Law Index, more than 70 of 113 countries are reportedly experiencing an erosion of fundamental human rights.

 

Under pressure from rising populism buoyed by mass migration, States’ declining leadership in the promotion and protection of basic human rights has brought into sharp relief the role of business in this crucial arena.

 

Ubiquitous in public life, instrumental in social/cultural development and central to national and the global economies, business has often oscillated between champion and violator of basic human rights, from labour standards to gender norms and communal land rights.

 

Crucially, business has often if not always followed governments’ cue in determining the extent to which to observe, promote and advance human rights – complying with labour or environmental standards only when they become a legal compliance issue, for instance.

 

By Judy Njino (Executive Director, Global Compact Kenya)

17 goals, 169 targets, figures that should be in everyone’s mind for the next 13 years. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), all 17 aims to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Unlike its predecessors the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SDGs are universal, more inclusive and comprehensive. The success of their implementation is pegged on all stakeholders, from governments, private sector, civil society, academia being actively involved.

Why SDGs matter to business:

The private sector is increasingly and more formally sought out as a key partner to advance the development agenda as the era of AID-based development has been changing due to recent global financial setbacks.

The SDGs call on companies everywhere to advance sustainable development through the investments they make, the solutions they develop, and the business practices they adopt. In doing so, the goals encourage companies to reduce their negative impacts while enhancing their positive contribution to the sustainable development agenda.

By Flora Mutahi (Board Member, UN Global Compact and Global Compact Kenya)

 

As we mark the International Women’s Day, I am reminded that women’s representation in high-level corporate leadership in Africa remains critically low.

A 2015 research by the African Development Bank (AFD) indicates that, of the 12 African countries surveyed, Kenya scored the highest at 19.8% representation with South Africa at 17.4% and Botswana at 16.9%.

Kenya’s good performance, relative to its neighbors, can be attributed to affirmative action and progressive public sector policies. The Constitution of Kenya requires a one-third gender representation in Government and state corporations.

As a key vector of economic activity, the private sector has an opportunity and responsibility to create a larger impact towards gender equality and women empowerment within their sphere of influence. Though the one – third rule does not apply to the private sector, there are a number of positive initiatives geared towards realizing diversity in boards.

As the first woman chairperson of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) since its establishment in 1959, I recognize the importance of women’s participation in driving industrial transformation for job creation and inclusive economic growth. KAM will be forming a Women in Manufacturing platform that seeks to grow, challenge and mentor women owned industries to scale up and realize their potential.