• Editorial

Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Promote Peaceful and Inclusive Societies for Sustainable Development, Provide Access to Justice for All and Build Effective, Accountable and Inclusive Institutions at All Levels

WHAT MEANS PEACE, JUSTICE AND STRONG INSTITUTIONS?

SDG 16 seeks to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice and build effective and accountable institutions. This requires reducing all forms of violence and mortality rates globally; ending child abuse, exploitation, trafficking and torture; promoting full rights states and ensuring equal access to justice for all. It also aims to reduce corruption and bribery, among other goals.

WHY ARE PEACE, JUSTICE AND STRONG INSTITUTIONS SO IMPORTANT?

Sustainable development is about achieving peace, human rights and effective governance. Some regions enjoy permanent levels of peace and security; others experience cycles of conflict and violence (some almost permanent). Our world is increasingly divided and we must try to find peace and brotherhood, which is possible with the efforts of all.

Weak institutions, insecurity, conflict and limited access to justice continue to threaten sustainable development. More than 79.5 million people fled conflict, persecution or war in 2019, the highest level since such statistics have been collected. According to the United Nations (UN) in its SDG Progress Report (2020), one in four children do not have a legal identity because their birth has not been registered, making it difficult to fight for their rights.


Every day, 100 civilians around the world (including women and children) die as a result of armed conflict, despite the protections of international law. The United Nations recorded at least 106,806 civilian deaths in 12 of the world's largest armed conflicts between 2015 and 2017, or nearly 12 civilian deaths per 100,000 people each year.


If we talk about the global homicide rate, it is slowly decreasing: in 2000 it was 6.8 per 100,000 inhabitants, while it dropped to 5.9 in 2015 and 5.8 in 2018. These figures translate into some 440,000 homicide victims worldwide each year. Of these, 36% live in Sub-Saharan Africa and 33% in Latin America and the Caribbean.


Fragilities around the world could be amplified by the pandemic caused by COVID-19. This is why in March 2020 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched a call for an immediate global ceasefire to enable humanitarian aid to be delivered in every corner of the world and to open channels for diplomacy. Although the move has received support, there are major challenges ahead. Indeed, in countries where there are situations of armed conflict, the threat of COVID-19 is multiplied as fighting has devastated health systems and people live in overcrowded conditions with little or no access to basic services.

Moreover, the global scourge of corruption continues to soar. COVID-19, has favored it, putting nations that were fighting corruption before the pandemic to the test. This is the case in several Latin American countries, where irregular aid distributions, overpriced purchases and a lack of transparency in health emergency procurement are taking place.

Reversing this reality will only be possible with the involvement of all actors at the international level. For this reason, promoting peace, justice and strong institutions is SDG 16 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals approved in September 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda.


COVID-19 has disrupted the function of the most vulnerable countries and left them with a decreased capability to support their people. As a result, their citizens experience more inequality and discrimination, more conflicts, lack of security, and in some cases intensified violence and armed wars. Schools closures, economic distress, and unemployment for adults are three main reasons for increased child labor, exploitation, and trafficking. COVID-19 created new opportunities for corruption and bribery especially in countries with lower income. People have to get around the low to get access to their basic needs such as healthcare, education, and justice. The combination of armed conflicts and the pandemic is rising the number of civilian death and injuries. The world is unsafe for a great portion of its population while security is fundamental to human being life.


Digitalization, and with it the global networking via the Internet, brings lasting advantages for the realization of cultivated and joint action for the common good. Now, for the first time, it is possible for people all over the world to communicate with each other almost simultaneously and to exchange information virtually and visually. Even sometimes without being aware, people already follow the up listed sustainable development goals. By using the internet as a digital mouthpiece, principles such as equality, freedom, justice and peace can be disseminated and common solutions can be devised.


At a time when politics is reaching its limits, it shows that creativity, courage, commitment and socially important processes can be set in motion with the help of everyone. What is missing is a small step to bring together this community of social rethinkers, or let's say revolutionaries, and to create an international society that is strengthened by the community and continues to grow.