TI’s strong alignment with SDG-16

David Rutherford

David Rutherford

David Dunsheath

Delegated authority for SDGs

Newsletter Co-Editor

David Rutherford, Human Rights Commissioner, was guest speaker at the November Board Meeting of Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ). He reinforced the significance of the ready-made framework provided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for the improvement of Human Rights in New Zealand and elsewhere. He noted the responsibilities of the State and businesses to ensure adequate Human Rights are realised, and observed the frustrations from lack of engagement with the actions required to achieve the SDG targets. However, he argued the emergence of some positive initiatives here.

Now, two years into the 15-year SDG programme, public awareness of these SDGs, designed to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all, is only now dawning in New Zealand. Government, civil society and business institutions have only recently begun to align their policy settings with specific SDGs of relevance. They are yet to network collaboratively for greater overall effectiveness.

Of particular interest to Transparency International is SDG-16. Of the seventeen SDGs, SDG-16: ‘Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions’ provides a critical enabler for achievement of all the other SDGs. It is focussed on achieving peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels. Indeed, it is difficult to envisage how countries can make effective progress on the other goals without firmly embedding SDG-16 within their respective government, civil society and business institutional culture, at an early stage.

SDG-16 is underpinned by 12 ‘targets’. Eight of these targets have direct linkage with the seven key values of Transparency International (TI), a global movement with the single vision of a world free of corruption:

TI value SDG-16 target achievement

Transparency

16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.

Accountability

16.10 Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.

Integrity

16.5 Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms.

16.4 By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organised crime.

Solidarity

16.11 Strengthen relevant national institutions, including thorough international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime.

Courage

16.12 Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development.

Justice

16.3 Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all.

Democracy

16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.

Clearly, Transparency International can and must leverage-off SDG-16 in the global communication of its own key values and goals.

TINZ can lead the way by actively promoting the alignment of New Zealand institutions with appropriate SDG-16 targets. Whereas New Zealand’s progress towards the above SDG targets varies, TINZ is focussed on ensuring not only the elimination of deficits but also the further enhancement of successes. 

By this means, TINZ can more effectively raise its public profile while also promoting the achievement of its own value-specific goals.

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