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The Road to Peace Report

Penn Law will partner with the SDG Fund on research, analysis and the editorial process of the SDG Fund Report addressing how businesses can contribute to peace and why SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions) is important for the Private Sector. 


In 2015, world leaders unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For the first time in its seventy-year history, the United Nations has an agreed agenda that integrates peace and sustainable development. The preamble of the 2030 Agenda states: “There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.”  SDG 16 focuses on “promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

The 2030 Agenda is providing opportunities to work beyond silos and communities of practice and the involvement of the private sector is no longer optional. Through the SDG 17 on “revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”, the 2030 Agenda calls for global partnership and requests governments, civil society and the private sector to work together. The challenge now lies in implementation at all levels, international, national and local. This global framework largely depends on new and dynamic public private partnerships.

Before the SDG era, the involvement of the private sector in the United Nations development agenda was primarily philanthropic. To transform “words into action”, the private sector needs to be engaged as a responsible and active partner. The business community can play a catalytic role in achieving both the 2030 Agenda and in sustaining peace. Without the role of business, implementation of the SDGs is impossible, and in the end, the UN needs the business community and vice versa.

SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions) is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels. The private sector has a leading role in the promotion of good governance, anti-corruption laws and transparency. Public-private partnerships, social investments and support of the rule of law can promote inclusive economic development and contribute to more peaceful and inclusive societies.

The need to implement the SDGs is more urgent than ever, the exponential rise of inequalities and the slowing pace of global trade can become forces counteracting the global vision. As the Secretary General’s Report on Economic Governance states, “Weak economic growth is likely to undermine public and private investment in education, health and infrastructure, environmental protection and progress in poverty reduction.”[1] Therefore, strengthening partnerships between the public and private sector as called for in the SDG 17 (strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development) can counteract these negative trends.

Businesses can play a catalytic role for SDG 16 at local and global levels. By being responsible partners throughout their chains of production, businesses can help the countries where they operate to meet the targets related to anti-corruption, labor rights, inclusive decision-making and community engagement.  Therefore, the report will focus on the role of the private sector in achieving peace through SDG 16.


[1] Report of the UN SG on “The UN in Global Economic Governance,”

The Report

This year, the SDG Fund with its partners will produce a report[1], focusing on how businesses can contribute to peace and why SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions) is important for the private sector. The SDG Fund at the United Nations, in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania Law School, McDermott Will & Emery LLP, and business leaders from the SDG Fund`s Private Sector Advisory Group, will analyze the links between inclusive growth, partnerships and peace.

The Report will analyze the following areas:

  • The role and contribution of the private sector in sustaining peace
  • The interlinkages of SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions) and SDG 17 (Global partnership for sustainable development) and how it applies to the private sector
  • How the SDGF Private Sector Advisory Group members are implementing SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions)
  • The challenges and opportunities including the legal framework needed to incentivize the achievement of SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions)

This report will serve as a practical guide to share best practices and to illustrate how businesses could embrace and incorporate SDGs into their core business. This report will also showcase how the private sector could play a key role in the peace agenda. It will also shed light on the ways in which an effective legal framework can help the private sector to build trust with the public sector and the civil society.

The SDG Fund and its Private Sector Advisory Group

The SDG Fund is an international multi-donor and multi-agency development mechanism. To better align public-private partnerships for sustainable development, the SDG Fund has established a Private Sector Advisory Group, formed by business leaders of major companies from various industries worldwide. Together with the PSAG, the SDG Fund launched two reports[2] to identify areas of common interest and decipher the best methods of UN - Private Sector engagement.

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Editors of the report will include Rangita de Silva Dealwis, Global Advisor, SDG Fund and Bob Cusumano, founder of the Legal Horizons Rule of Law Fellowship at Penn Law. The role of University of Pennsylvania Law School is to:

  1. Lead the research, analysis and editorial process of the report;
  2. Participate in the official launch of the report in November 2017.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP

McDermott Will & Emery LLP is an international law firm specialize in tax, private equity, mergers and acquisitions, health care, high-stakes litigation, and many other key areas of transactional and regulatory law. The role of McDermott Will & Emery LLP is to:

  1. Revise the legal part of the questionnaire;
  2. Prepare the chapter on legal framework, access to justice and anti-corruption law with case studies on five countries in each region;
  3. Provide input on report content;
  4. Participate in the official launch of the report in November 2017.


[1] Business and the United Nations: Working together towards the Sustainable Development Goals: A Framework for Action outlines the business and development case for increased UN business engagement as well as recommendations on the ways that the UN can work more effectively on this shared imperative. Universality and the SDGs: A Business Perspective highlights varied perspectives from both large and small companies working to understand the commonality of the new development agenda.

[2] SDG Fund, together with its Private Sector Advisory Group, has published two reports on: Business and the United Nations and on Universality and the SDGs: A Business Perspective.


The research will use qualitative methods to identify key insights and trends on business and peace. It will conduct in-depth interviews with PSAG members. The total number of interviews conducted will be 13 PSAG companies.

Potential Findings

The report will generate greater awareness of the links between peace and sustainable development. It will also highlight the important contribution of the private sector in building peaceful and inclusive societies. Moreover, this report will analyze how businesses can play a catalytic role in achieving SDG 16. The report will provide insights on the benefits and incentives for companies to internalize SDG 16 and to partner with governments and the UN to achieve this goal.