What is the impact of Covid-19 on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)?

What is the impact of Covid-19 on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)?

The SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) set out by the UN provides a blueprint in achieving prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), recognising that ending poverty and other deprivations are interdependent of each other.

The coronavirus pandemic at the same time continues to impact on the people, the rule of law and hence, the 16th SDG goal, stating the protection of peace, justice and strong institutions.

Our podcast series covered The SDG’s impact of COVID-19 by Ian McDougall, Executive Vice President and General Council for LexisNexis Legal & Professional. Ian also sits on the United Nations Rule of Law Steering Committee and is a member of the UN General Counsel Advisory Board working on advancing the rule of law. Below are the highlights behind the discussions of COVID-19 on SDG specifically around the impact on the rule of law.

Click here to understand more about the LexisNexis’s contribution to the rule of law and the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation.

Click here to learn more and sign-up to our other podcasts in the series.

Rule of law sets the foundation of other SDGs.

SDG-16 focuses on justice and rule of law however, there is one that underpins them all: the rule of law. For example, there are SDGs relating to the environment but without the rule of law, it is difficult to enforce environmental laws to progress environmental policies and as so, SDG-16 sets the foundation for all the other goals.

Justice that is secret is not justice at all

COVID-19 means that many courts are closed temporarily. However, due to recent developments around the digitisation of the courts, we have seen rapid adoption of technology and innovation, with online court hearings being organised through video conferencing.

The issue that Ian identified is not whether justice has been done, but rather justice has seem to be done. Members of the public won’t have access to hearings as readily as before and begs us to enforce and safeguard the abuse of power within the legal system. Electronic hearings risk the justice system being done in closed doors and as he says, Justice that is secret is not justice at all.

Maintaining a balance between security, safety and privacy

The majority of the public has accepted the unusual restrictions of our liberties and a certain level of surveillance during the pandemic in compliance with the government to defeat the virus. However, the question begs to the extent of surveillance once the crisis passes.

To a large extent, many laws in effect are time limited or delinquently extended hence, not escalating to become a societal norm. In some cases, the extent to which these measures are enforced are good to have in place anyways such as giving police access to more information, but this is unlikely as soon afterwards, the same privacy lobby will reactivate these campaigns. The issue still remains between keeping the balance of security, safety and privacy.

Covid19 will disproportionality affect countries with weaker rule of law

From our study at LexisNexis, we found that there was a strong correlation between rule of law and economic prosperity. This is because countries with low rule of law tends to have low economic prosperity per capita GDP.   As such, COVID-19 has disproportionality affected countries with weaker rule of law indirectly. Countries with high death rates and infant mortality rates will inevitable have lower standards of rule of law. Countries with lower GDP tends to be places consisting of high population density which is how COVID-19 spreads. Starting from that position will mean that the pandemic will affect countries with lower rule of law as they are starting from that perspective anyways. When we look back at this time in history, figures will show to support this close correlation between the disproportion of rule of law and high pandemic problems.

Role of Lexisnexis in response to COVID-19

LexisNexis rule of law foundation raises profiles and projects around the rule of law. COVID-19 has skewed everyone’s lives and activities but the best action is to focus on the advancement of the rule of law. Lexisnexis has done a lot of work on making a lot of information available and free so we will continue to do so to raise awareness of certain topics whilst deploying core skills within the organisation.

Collective memory last for 12 months and that is the risk we need to confront, that after this past people will get back to their lives and this will become a distant memory and the impact will dim. We need to mobilise the business community to advance the rule of law and make a difference and remind people using examples from this time and the affect the absence of the rule of law has to keep advancing the rule of law.

This is one of the podcasts from our podcast series which gathers opinions exploring the impact of COVID-19 on the Sustainable Development Goals.

The link to the full series is here.

Other podcasts available:

The view of Richard Mollet, Head of European Government Affairs at RELX

The view of Kanika Dewan, President of Bramco Group, Founder of Ka Design Atelier and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader

The view of Dr Annie Sparrow, Associate Professor of Population Health, Science and Policy at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

The view of Claire Melamed, CEO of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data

The view of John McConnell, the founding editor of The Lancet Infectious Diseases






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About the author:

Louisa leads marketing for the in-house legal community at LexisNexis. She joined the dedicated in-house team at LexisNexis four years ago and has a passion for driving and facilitating initiatives which are customer-focused at their heart. Her vision is to support in-house counsel succeed in their fast-evolving role based on deep insight, data analysis and best practice gathered across the in-house community.

Prior to her in-house focused role, Louisa led the marketing for the bar and mid-market private practice sectors as well as product marketing lead for LexisPSL - LexisNexis' cloud based, practical guidance and legal research software solution.

She brings 20 years' marketing experience both client and agency side, specialising in B2B marketing in the Legal, TMT (Telco, Media and Technology) and Financial Services industries. In both South Africa, Europe and the UK.

Louisa is also an active member on the LexisNexis Gender Equality Matters (GEM) steering committee and is involved with the Families at LexisNexis Group which brings together, supports and lobbies for change those with an interest in balancing the challenges of work and family.