A New Way of Doing Business: Partnering for Peace and Sustainable Development

Thursday, August 2, 2018
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security
United Nation Theme: 
UN Reports & Resolutions

To meet the scale and ambition of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the private sector will have to play a central role. The agenda provides a window of opportunity for the private sector, governments, and the UN to collaborate with each other through a new global partnership. To make this partnership a reality, the UN and its member states must take steps to build trust with the private sector, including with small and medium enterprises, by engaging with it through a more systematic, transparent, and inclusive approach. The private sector, for its part, needs to transform itself into a partner by embedding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) directly into its core business strategies and reporting on its contributions to achieving them, motivated by an advanced understanding of profit. The private sector also needs to recognize the role it can play in building and sustaining peace. In the 2030 Agenda, peace is not only a goal in itself (SDG 16) but also a crosscutting theme that drives the achievement of the agenda as a whole.

SDG 5 on gender equality, SDG 8 on inclusive economic growth, and SDG 17 on global partnership, in particular, are among the relevant goals that provide entry points for the private sector to engage in promoting peace. The 2030 Agenda can therefore help bridge the current gap between the private sector and peace, promoting a holistic vision of peace where the private sector has a role. By adopting a “sustaining peace” approach, businesses can support the strengthening of effective, inclusive, and accountable institutions, build trust with communities, and empower youth and women as central actors in development and peace. In order to bridge this gap, there is a need for more businesses to invest and create partnerships in countries they typically see as too risky. This requires exploring innovative tools to incentivize investment by reducing risk. Such tools, including blended finance, pooling mechanisms, microfinance, and development impact bonds, present further opportunities for partnership between the public and private sectors and the UN.

The report highlights a number of recommendations to create a new partnership for the SDGs, bridge the gap between the private sector and peace, and incentivize private investment in countries under stress: • Businesses should embed the SDGs in their core business strategies by integrating them in supply chains, practices, and policies. • Businesses should improve reporting on their contributions to the SDGs, including by working with the UN to connect the SDG targets with business performance indicators. • Businesses should expand engagement with UN headquarters through the high-level political forum and UN General Assembly summits on the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda. • Global leaders should emphasize that the SDGs are good for business, better communicating to businesses that the SDGs represent an economic opportunity. • The UN, governments, and large companies should increase engagement with small and medium enterprises, which should play a bigger role in efforts to achieve the SDGs. • Governments and businesses should work together more closely in implementing the SDGs, with businesses supporting national governments in strengthening public institutions. • Businesses should take a sustaining peace approach to their operations, assessing not only how their work can avoid contributing to conflict but also how it can support efforts to build and sustain peace. • Businesses should build trust with communities by establishing open and transparent communication channels, setting up clear expectations, and providing space for community members to express their grievances and priorities. • Businesses should strive to be more inclusive, including by adopting more inclusive hiring practices and targeting youth and women as the main beneficiaries of their operations. • The UN, governments, and businesses should partner to scale up investments in countries under stress, including through mechanisms such as blended finance, pooling mechanisms, and development impact bonds. • The new partnership between governments, the UN, and businesses should not focus on one-off 2 International Peace Institute, SDG Fund, and Concordia programs. Projects require long-term, selfsustaining funding models and a wider diversity of investors.

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A New Way of Doing Business: Partnering for Peace and Sustainable Development