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SDGs: A Global Agenda

The SDGs represent the commitment of the UN member states to achieve sustainable development by facing the major global challenges related to current economic, social and ecological realities. The SDGs include 17 goals and 169 specified targets to improve living conditions for everyone, without discrimination.

The SDGs agenda embodies the commitment of the UN member states to continue the initiative of the MDGs, which is essential for further global improvements. The SDGs task each country with percolating down international objectives to the national and local levels in order to implement and fulfill the goals and targets. In order to catalyze development in less well equipped nations, those with a high level of development and sufficient resources will support their counterparts by participating in the global plans and agendas.

The UN was given governance and oversight responsibility over the SDGs by the national governments that participated in drafting and formation.  The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), created by the UN in 2012, will also be tasked with follow up and review of the SDGs. 

The SDGs agenda is a cornerstone of the future work of the UN.  It lights the path for the next 15 years of sustainable development. People all around the world are relying on and waiting for the changes and development this agenda promises to provide.

During drafting and preparation of the SDGs, it was essential to receive the people´s opinion on the priorities they would like to see in the new agenda. Thus, MY World global survey was conducted, compiling responses from 1.6 million people from 190 states and territories to ascertain objectives for a new, post 2015 development agenda.

The survey resulted the opinion of the people regarding the areas of development they wish to see. ‘Good education’ and ‘better healthcare’ were the first and second priorities. In the third  place people voted for the implantation of ‘honest and effective governments’, emblematic of the aspirations of the people to establish stable participatory and representative government. Other responses called for the prioritization of the elimination of extreme poverty, creation of opportunities, improved public services, facilitations of peace and security and a sustainable and fair management of natural resources. Hence SDGs took the results of the survey in consideration. Goal 16, promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels, corresponds with the desire of people to see honest and effective governments.

SDGs Partners and Stakeholders

It is essential for every organization, institution, government and individual to understand the SDGs, given their considerable impact and reach. The UN also invites everyone to play an active role in implementing the SDGs agenda in order to create a better future.

It is essential that the target groups and beneficiaries of the SDGs are properly engaged, empowered and involved with development and implementation so that the UN can deliver on the promises of this initiative.

Targeted by the UN since the adoption of Agenda 21 on Sustainable Development in 1992, the following nine groups represent important beneficiaries who must be engaged and consulted if the SDGs are to have meaningful impact:

  1. Women
  2. Children and Youth
  3. Indigenous Peoples
  4. Non-Governmental Organizations
  5. Local Authorities
  6. Workers and Trade Unions
  7. Business and Industry
  8. Scientific and Technological Community
  9. Farmers

This categorization resulted from the acknowledgment that governments cannot achieve sustainable development without support from the beneficiaries that comprise these groups.

As Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) outcome document assured, business and industry are invited to play a vital role in the next 15 years alongside their governments – not only on a national level but on the international stage as well, as investments will catalyze development and benefit all people, without discrimination. A strong partnership between the private and public sectors paves the way for the achievement of the SDGs. Businesses are invited to approach their governments with suggestions and proposals on the type of assistance they wish to offer for implementing the SDGs. The governments in return shall make fair investments more accessible to businesses, and secure them a legal framework especially in the developing countries. MPs can also take the initiative by suggesting new law that lowers the taxes on projects aiming to achieve the SDGs. MPs can further ease the restrictions on businesses whose growth contributes to national development. These incentives will encourage the investors and businesses to work together with state institutions.

Eventually, all stakeholders, civil society, academic institutions and corporations will create a network working towards sustainable development




Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Goal 16 has a particular value not only for its own, but also for the whole 2030 Agenda. Goal 16 paves the way to achieve the other goals. Promoting peaceful and inclusive society is a primary step towards sustainable development. Instability and conflicts around the world posed challenges during the implementation of the MDGs. Therefore, goal 16 calls for dedicated actions towards secure societies, where justice is delivered in an inclusive society and by accountable and competent state institutions.

Peaceful and inclusive society refers to a society in which all people have the equal rights, enjoy equal opportunities and have the access to services, regardless their faith, color, gender, political opinion and race. Member states are expected to endorse peace and secure the citizens from any kind of violence, oppression or intimidation.

Peace is an enabling condition for sustainable development while violent conflict is one of the greatest obstacles to the achievement of the SDGs. The gap in MDG performance between conflict-affected and other developing countries has been large and has been increasing. If we don’t address the problem, by 2015, more than 50 per cent of the world’s poor are likely to live in conflict-affected and fragile states and this percentage is projected to increase to 82 per cent by 2025. With this in mind, at the start of the negotiations, there was a recognition that “peace and good governance are core elements of wellbeing, and not optional extras”.  Patrick Keuleers, UNDP’s Chief of Profession in Governance and Peacebuilding

Peaceful and inclusive society is to be delivered by a reliable and accountable state institutions. These are the core of development especially in fragile states. International actors, e.g. UNDP, aim to enhance and improve these institutions to assure they function in the benefit of the people. Strengthening state institutions will lead to better representation of the people´s need and expectations. Parliaments as the main representative body in the state must play a vital role in achieving the SDGs and in particular achieving goal 16.

Implementing goal 16 requires joint forces and collaboration between the parliaments, governments, civil society and international community, where each part is an added value to national development, the work and efforts shall be complementary to each other, placing the people in the middle of development policies. These parties have to analyze the people´s needs and expectations and translate them into policies which suit the capacity of the institutions, and when needed these institutions may request support such as the one UNDP provides. Goal 16 aims to enable the national institutions to create secure conditions for their people, and rule by justice and equality.