#30 Goal 16 Peace, Justice and strong Institutions

Image of UN goal 16
Image by United Nations

Fancy me starting a Blog with the word “Doomsday” in the first line of the introduction!

Well I am referring to the recent article noting how the Doomsday Clock has shifted from three minutes to midnight to a new setting of two and a half minutes. For me what is more alarming than the word doomsday is what this shift actually represents:

“The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon”

In considering the Global Goal no 16 peace, justice and strong institutions the time for such global action could never be needed more. The Doomsday clock has over the years had movements forward and backwards but this is the closest to midnight it has every been. In my Blog #23 I referred to my experience of monumental change as represented by the removal of the Berlin wall. As a result of such a ground breaking change when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 by 1991 the clock had moved back to 11.43pm.

So in an attempt to shift away from this midnight deadline and maintain world peace, justice through strong institutions it is widely accepted that any monumental shift in behaviour or change must be supported ‘at the top’. This is why the Global Goals and particularly number 16 should be on every leaders agenda. John Brogden (one of Australia’s leaders at the top) reminds us of one of Australia’s past leaders John Grey Gorton (RAAF returned flight Lieutenant and later prime minister of Australia)

“we can only expect to achieve the kind of world we want by the use of brains and effort during peace.”

Although Brogden was reviewing these words in relation to Australia’s 2013 Federal election I find these words timeless. Particularly, at a point in time when globally the world is trying to find peace and justice and many locations are at war. There is a realist within me that understands that the aspirations of the Global Goals and particularly number 16 could be considered and described as too idyllic. My argument is without aspirations what would we be hoping for and in supporting my argument preferably not the opposite arrangement of war, famine and injustice?

Even the world of cinematic entertainment pushes this need for change through films like The Running Man an analogy where those in power of mass entertainment could on purpose distract the population from reality – the modern day Emperors got no clothes story. Populism and media have much to contribute to the spreading of bad news around injustice, lack of peace and stories of corrupt institutions what is true or false? In fact the media itself has been accused of massaging facts to promote its own agenda.

The bottom line is that the way things are currently being done in many areas are not leading in the right direction nor suiting this new paradigm (disruptive purpose economy). I go as far to say that actions need to be thought through and questions asked – what is another way of approaching life today whilst keeping an eye on the future?

For example in the UK judiciary situation with its long history of fairness and soundness of judgment – but not diversity” new actions are being considered where appointments may need to extend beyond the legal profession to allow further appointments being based on merit alone. It has been recognized that changes must be made and appointments to be more inclusive and representative or even have experience of coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.

There is much talk in many professions of drastic changes needed, particularly around societal wicked issues and always with a hint of innovation. As argued by Mulgan. it is going to be important that we pay heed to the social innovation priorities for the next ten years as argued

“We face a potentially more hostile climate there’ll be even more need for alliances between practitioners and interpreters who can help take the kernels of new ideas and show their broader transformative potential”

Such statements both excite and horrify me. The later because the individualized top down centric approaches still hold sway and therefore much of the say. What excites me is the call for rapid global awareness, fast learning and willingness to cut through hype. Whether the dialogue be around STRADDLE™ or emergent impact (Blog#13) it is simply being mindful that there is a way to navigate these challenges – BUT NOT BY DOING THE SAME AS WHAT IS CURRENTLY CAUSING IT!

So casting the topic of this Blog back to encouraging peace justice and strong institutions maybe there is a way to play the populism at its own game. In an article that speaks to how to reform clear action steps are suggested how particularly how policy makers need to begin by shifting from old expectations –in my Phd thesis I refer to this shift as moving from “old certainties”.

Another group that can assist with shift in expectations is media. In reflecting on Brexit and Trump Christine Amanpour (do take time to watch her Burton Benjamin award speech) quite clearly articulates that all journalists ought to be fair to all so that, whenever they write a story, they give equal weight to both sides of the argument. Fact based reporting is something that all sectors could benefit from.

“we cannot continue the old paradigm – time to be truthful not neutral”

So its not all despair and as I have already shared in Blog#26 there are many things each one of us can do about this – (see the four things you can do to be a part of the change agenda).

I conclude this Blog on a point that is way out of my comfort zone but to me sets the scene as to the kind of place we need to constantly be placing ourselves in. The information about DAO – information that I am sure is already out of date seeing though it was being promoted May 2016. The point is it speaks of how it is doing things differently both in planning and raising funds. Bearing this in mind (and myself included) I would go as far to say that if you are currently tackling societal wicked problems using known processes, then look in the opposite direction. The focus need not be on the solution but more to the desired outcome and maybe a solution or a different way of doing things will be found along the way.

Yes my call to action is for world peace, justice and strong institutions but what if it is the very institution shape that needs to be changed to find or revise peace and justice. In addition I am a strong believer that meaningful change can happen in small and many ways. By default the small can influence the big challenges and at times do so more powerfully. This means the world peace and justice buck does actually stop with you and me – all of us.

A personal challenge I offer to you all – try and have a day where you spend time doing all things differently (staying legal of course!) – get out of bed on a different side, eat different food, sit in a different place, approach a report for work differently maybe through pictures rather than words……………………….

I am keen to hear what the results bring and remember even the failures can be good as there is learning in both positive and negative because that is where the solutions in this new paradigm may actually be hiding!

References

https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2015/11/sustainable-development-at-center-of-10th-internet-governance-forum/

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