Peace, stability, human rights and effective governance based on the rule of law are important conduits for sustainable development. We are living in a world that is increasingly divided. Some regions enjoy sustained levels of peace, security and prosperity while others fall into seemingly endless cycles of conflict and violence. This is by no means inevitable and must be addressed.
High levels of armed violence and insecurity have a destructive impact on a country’s development, affecting economic growth and often resulting in long standing grievances among communities that can last for generations. Sexual violence, crime, exploitation and torture are also prevalent where there is conflict or no rule of law, and countries must take measures to protect those who are most at risk.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to significantly reduce all forms of violence, and work with governments and communities to find lasting solutions to conflict and insecurity. Strengthening the rule of law and promoting human rights is key to this process, as is reducing the flow of illicit arms and strengthening the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance.
Peace and Justice Network (PJN) Pakistan is a national Rule of Law network with core focus on Goal 16 of Sustainable Development Goal.
In 2015, Pakistan was among the 193 states that unanimously adopted Agenda 2030 – a global development vision which sought to build on the successes of the Millennium Declaration 2000, and to address its failures. For Pakistan, these successes were rare – the country underachieved 25 of the 33 indicators adopted to measure progress against the Millennium Development Goals. The UN Secretary General described the new Sustainable Development Goals as “an agenda for shared prosperity, peace and partnership”, “a to-do list for people and planet” and a “blueprint for success”. For countries like Pakistan, first and foremost, the SDGs represent a second chance.
Goal 16 is the main goal for fostering peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. But SDG16 should not be seen in isolation. It has strong links with other goals, in line with the integrated and indivisible nature of the agenda. In all, 36 targets directly measure an aspect of peace, inclusion, or access to justice, with only a third of these found in SDG16. We call these the SDG16+ targets.
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