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A look at our 2021 Spotlight Series

View our speakers, social media highlights, videos and programme below. 

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Spotlight Series Recap: Words from our Managing Director Marius Døcker

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This week, we examined our shared objective to rebuild better systems of work, looked at ways to improve visibility for marginalised groups and explored how to turn challenges into opportunities with the SDGs as a roadmap.

 

Even before the pandemic, the world was not on track to achieve SDG 8 and the 2030 Agenda.

 

Obstacles, such as increased poverty and inequality, and a lack of trust in governments and institutions, have all magnified the impact of the pandemic and have stalled many efforts in ensuring decent work and economic growth.

 

By shining a light on these issues, we call on the global business community to take action.

 

As we conclude our Spotlight Series, there is a consensus that decent work can no longer be the exception, but the standard.

 

It is clear that the principles at the core of SDG 8, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for everyone, cut across the 2030 Agenda, and must guide our efforts.

 

As Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, reminded us earlier today, especially in the time of COVID-19 recovery, “It is time to shift mindsets away from only short-term economic profit to long-term thinking that anticipates risks and democratizes opportunities for decent work”.

 

We have heard from expert panelists and global leaders whose experience at local, national, regional and international levels all help guide the way forward.

 

I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight some clear themes coming out of this week.

 

First, “leaving no one behind” and an inclusive approach to the future of work are essential.

 

As we have recently seen, several positive global developments have occurred. One example of which is the reduction of child labour. While progress is being made, this problem is still significant: Millions children are still involved in child labor, and a substantial portion are working under dangerous conditions. Another example is the uproar of migrant workers working on stadiums for the 2022 Qatar Football World Cup. While the moral support they receive by teams threatening to forfeit the tournament is admirable, it is unfortunately just one more example of both the scale and the public relevance of this problem.

 

The impact of a growing population and increased globalisation brings both responsibilities and opportunities for the business sector. In the quest for sustainable employment as the world starts returning to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial that no one is left behind in the recovery. This will require a rights-based approach to provide access to public services as well as for social protection. Fragile and conflict-affected contexts have been hard hit, with the potential to create persistent islands of poverty and insecurity.

 

It is a common misconception that SDG 8 only applies to developing countries. Robotisation can create new jobs, but on the other hand can replace repetitive and often lower paid jobs, posing a risk to vulnerable employment groups. Furthermore, we know that a majority of the global workforce lack safe and secure employment, regardless of where they are from.

 

Beyond the risk of unemployment or non formalised employment practices lies the challenges of forced labour. Millions of people are still trapped in various forms of ‘Modern Slavery’. This mostly occurs in industries such as agriculture, construction, domestic work, manufacturing, and mining.

 

In order to rebuild the trust required to advance towards decent work and economic growth, we must make laws and institutions work for people. A people-centred approach is needed to empower justice and to promote equitable outcomes. Corruption is a key threat to this trust, being both a growing driver of discontent and a challenge to sustainable employment. Weak governance is associated with lower growth, investment, and tax revenue collection — and with high inequality and social exclusion. We need to combat it through improved prevention, detection and prosecution to increase effectiveness and public trust.

 

Secondly, businesses must strive to create a workforce capable of adapting to changing environments. This can be achieved by focusing on programs that stimulate learning and professional development. Businesses that succeed in this area can not only help employees adapt to changing working environments, but research shows that investing in developing human capital ultimately has a positive impact on the bottom line.

 

Third and lastly, sustainable investing is crucial. The gap to finance SDG 8 and the other Global Goals can only be closed if the financial instruments offered to investors are trustworthy and easy to understand. Lenders must be able to assess whether an investment project is consistent with their own objectives, financial or otherwise.

 

If used wisely — to increase human capital, to invest sustainably and to weed out corruption and weak governance — these activities can help us transition from a global crisis to an opportunity for progress, but only if businesses are bold and in seizing this opportunity, and do so in a timely manner.

 

Ultimately, the challenge we face is one of leadership. We need to be bold, innovative and committed to achieve the Global Goals.

 

We all must assume ownership so that no one is left behind.

 

It is clear that a renewed commitment to collaboration, centered around the 2030 Agenda, is needed to tackle challenges that are too great for any of us to solve alone.

 

It is in this spirit that we organised the 2021 Business for Peace Spotlight Series and our decisions on economic recovery, climate change, and international trade and cooperation will shape decent work and economic growth for generations to come.

 

Through these choices, we have a unique opportunity to shape a more prosperous and peaceful world.

 

It’s the best investment we can make.

 

Announcing: Keynote Address by Amina Mohammed at Spotlight Series

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(Photo: the United Nations)

Oslo, Norway: Business for Peace is pleased to announce the addition of Amina J Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, as a speaker at the 2021 Business for Peace Spotlight Series: Rethinking Systems of Decent Work, 26-28 May.

 

Ms Mohammed will be delivering the keynote address on 28 May at 14:05 CEST. Her remarks will be streamed globally as a part of this engaging three-day online event series which offers a transformative agenda, contributing to a global reset post COVID-19 of how the business community needs to take an active role in job creation, labour rights, social protection and poverty reduction.

 

Ms Mohammed first joined the United Nations in 2012 as Special Adviser to former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with the responsibility for post-2015 development planning. She led the process that resulted in global agreement around the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Her career began while working on the design of schools and clinics in Nigeria. She served as an advocate focused on increasing access to education and other social services, before moving into the public sector, where she rose to the position of adviser to four successive Presidents on poverty, public sector reform, and sustainable development.

 

“We are pleased to welcome Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohmmed, as she underscores the significance of global engagement across the Decade of Action to meet the 2030 Agenda,” said Per Saxegaard, Founder and Executive Chair, Business for Peace, “Her words will set an inspiring tone as we continue to build back better in the wake of a pandemic, climate change, and economic upheaval”.

 

In addition to Mohammed’s keynote address the programme on 28 May includes an interview with Group CEO of Equity Group Holdings and 2020 Business for Peace Honouree, Dr James Mwangi; a two-part session focusing on the SDG Impact Standards plus a global investor roundtable including Sir Ronald Cohen to address solving global challenges through financing the SDGs; a panel debate on ESG data and governance; and a roundtable discussion on blended finance.

 

The 2021 Business for Peace Spotlight Series: Rethinking Systems of Decent Work will take place online 26-28 May 2021. View the full programme and learn more about our speakers. Each digital event is free and open to all members of the public, but advance registration is required.

Announcing: Spotlight Series on Decent Work

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Oslo, Norway: Business for Peace is pleased to announce the launch of the 2021 Business for Peace Spotlight Series: Rethinking Systems of Decent Work, 26-28 May. This timely and engaging three-day online event series offers a transformative agenda, contributing to a global reset post COVID-19 of how the business community needs to take an active role in job creation, labour rights, social protection and poverty reduction.

 

With the UN Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent Work and Inclusive Economic Growth setting the agenda, the Series will explore how organisations can work together to address the current needs of all stakeholders in order to tackle the many social and economic challenges arising out of the current crisis and generate innovative solutions to re-building resilient, inclusive and sustainable economies.

 

Our programme includes opening remarks from Governing Mayor of Oslo, Raymond Johansen; an interview with Nobel prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz on Stakeholder Capitalism; an interview with Sanda Ojiambo, Executive Director at the United Nations Global Compact, on how governments and businesses can “build back better” together; a Youth Workshop; a ReThinking Systems of Decent Work panel including Guy Ryder, Director General, International Labour Organisation, and hearing from Oslo Business for Peace Award Honourees.


“We know what creates peace also creates a thriving economy. To ensure safe and stable societies where people can live and work with dignity we must work together to create strong, vibrant economies where everyone shares in the benefits of economic growth. Opportunities for decent work are as critical to this as a precondition for long-term value creation.”

– Per Saxegaard, Founder and Executive Chair, Business for Peace

The 2021 Business for Peace Spotlight Series: Rethinking Systems of Decent Work will take place online 26-28 May 2021. View the full programme and learn more about our speakers. Each digital event is free and open to all members of the public, but advance registration is required.

 

Update on our May 2021 Summit

Due to the ongoing and unpredictable pandemic situation in Oslo, our Board of Directors has made the decision to postpone our pinnacle annual Business for Peace Summit 2021 events. We will not have an Award Ceremony or host in-person events this May.

In lieu of our usual Summit, we will be hosting a series of digital events, open to the public globally. The events will focus on Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent Work as we talk about “A Vision for Inclusive Growth”. We will have talks on Rethinking Systems of Decent Work, The Hidden Workforce, Resilient Supply Chains, and more.

We are committed to driving the SDG agenda forward and connecting business leaders with government officials, academics, NGOs, and members of civil society. We look forward to lively, thoughtful, and productive discussions online in May.

Further information and registration details for our spring events will be released soon. We hope you stay safe and healthy, and we look forward to meeting again in-person in Oslo in the future.

We will have a grand celebration of the 2020 Oslo Business for Peace Award Honourees at Oslo City Hall once it is safe to travel.

 

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