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If there is a quote that sums up SDG 16 well, it is one by Martin Luther King, True peace is not merely the absence of tension: It is the presence of justice. Peace and justice ensure societies are inclusive and prosper. The UN notes that conflict, insecurity, weak institutions, and limited access to justice remain threats to sustainable development. To enhance SDG 16, countries can use 4IR technologies to complement their existing initiatives to provide peace, justice and strong institutions.
SDG 16 seeks to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels (UN). In today’s article, we will look at 4IR technologies that will enhance SDG 16.
UN Statistics on SDG 16
The following are some statistics by the UN regarding SDG 16.
- Every day 100 civilians are killed in armed conflicts despite protections under international law.
- In 2019, the number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 79.5 million, the highest level ever recorded.
- One in four children continues to be deprived of legal identity through lack of birth registration, often limiting their ability to exercise rights in other areas.
IDLO says that SDG 16 is a critical driver for the achievement of all other SDGs. This is because food security, gender equality, poverty eradication, and economic development cannot be advanced without respect for the rule of law.
Everyone needs to participate equally in society to ensure peace, justice, and strong institutions. For that to happen, there is need for inclusive data that can help governments and other organizations address the issues that face society.
Technology alone will not achieve SDG 16; it should enhance the interventions already in place. One technology that is complementing initiatives to achieve SDG 16 in some developing countries is mobile technology.
According to GSMA, mobile technology contributes to SDG 16 by facilitating access to information and the right to free expression, while digital identity leverages mobile as a trusted and robust solution for the underserved. Together, these lead to greater social and economic inclusion and make individuals more visible to their governments. Countries such as Tanzania and Pakistan use mobile technology for birth registration, which makes it easier for parents in rural areas to register the birth of their children.
Harnessing the emerging technologies of 4IR will accelerate progress on the global goals, including SDG 16.
4IR Technologies that Will Enhance SDG 16
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning
Darrell M. West says that AI and machine learning are used for financial management and fraud detection. Advanced algorithms can spot abnormalities and outliers that investigators can use to determine if fraud has taken place. AI and machine learning will help government institutions undertake budgetary oversight, reduce inefficiencies and wasteful spending. That will increase public confidence that they are efficiently managing resources.
Cobwebs technologies a global leader in web intelligence solutions, conducts investigations in anti-terrorism and terror financing, cybercrime, drug trafficking, money laundering, etc. Its products strengthen financial institutions by providing them with automated and enhanced due diligence and anti-money laundering practices. It conducts relevant webinars targeted toward law enforcement institutions and national security agencies.
Cobwebs has a powerful web intelligence solution that enables the search of online data from various digital sources like the open, deep and dark web. Its dark web monitoring technology extracts intelligence from the web’s big data using machine learning algorithms. Using its platform, analysts can easily identify new threats, reveal hidden data and complete an entire investigation within minutes.
Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data notes that establishing peace, justice and strong institutions means everyone can equally participate in society. Inclusive data means governments and organizations can better understand, address and monitor the needs of everyone, especially marginalized people.
Eirene Data4Peace is a Spanish startup that provides public institutions and private companies with an updated follow-up of risk factors in a certain context. Risk factors include sudden rises in basic food prices, illegal extraction of natural resources, violence, and restricting development and the fulfilment of human rights while increasing violent conflict.
Eirene has a mobile app that facilitates the collection of data on the key risk factors while guaranteeing the privacy and anonymity of users. It systemizes and provides data on the dashboard so that public institutions, international organizations or private companies can monitor the risks registered and anticipate new ones.
The World Economic Forum says that blockchain can be an SDG game changer in creating stronger and more accountable public institutions. It highlights public procurement as one of the largest sources of government spending, the greatest source of corruption and contributor to a large amount of wasted money.
OS City uses blockchain to digitize government services and connect the citizens’ decentralized IDs in the Latin American public sector. Citizens can upload their official documents and easily access all government services. OS City facilitates more accountable, fraud-proof public institutions, among other benefits.
The use of 4IR technologies to enhance SDG 16 will accelerate the ability of government institutions to build inclusive societies, ensure peace and justice, reduce conflict and ensure the stability of nations. Where countries don’t have strong justice and institutions, corruption is rampant, human rights abuse is prevalent, and the crime rate is high. Where countries have strong and inclusive institutions and justice, respect human rights, peace prevails, their societies grow and prosper, and they achieve sustainable development.
If you would like to know about the emerging technologies of 4IR, please get a copy of Understanding the 4th Industrial Revolution.
If you want to gain Strategic 4IR Skills, register for the 4IR Foundation Course at the 4IR Academy.