2020 was not a good year. It began with the world fearful of another war in the Middle East after the United States assassinated a top Iranian general, and it ended with the COVID-19 global death toll fast approaching two million. Two million. In late January 2021, we surpassed that unthinkable benchmark. We want to offer our thoughts and condolences to those of you who have been affected by this pandemic.
This suffering has underscored the urgency of transforming our global economic, legal, and political systems, which contributed to the cataclysmic harms of this pandemic. Such change will necessitate international and national solidarity. Indeed, among the pain and disruptions of 2020, it was heartening to see many inspiring acts of solidarity, from the formation of robust mutual aid networks around the world, to the months-long protest movement in the United States for racial justice.
This was also a powerful and important year of change for MSI Integrity, which we’ve outlined in our 2020 Annual Report. We released Not Fit-For-Purpose, a landmark report distilling our insights from a decade of exploring and researching the effectiveness of multistakeholder initiatives. The report has led to many significant debates and discussions—from within the chambers of the United States Supreme Court to virtual convenings of the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights and among MSIs themselves—with many in the human rights community embracing some of its key messages: there are limits to voluntarism, more innovative regulatory interventions are needed, and we need to change how businesses themselves are governed and owned.