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Trans-Altai sustainability dialogue: Advancing peace, justice, and strong institutions

Trans-Altai sustainability dialogue: Advancing peace, justice, and strong institutions
Trans-Altai sustainability dialogue: Advancing peace, justice, and strong institutions

The Trans-Altai Sustainability Dialogue (TASD), a collaborative effort by the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and the Ban Ki-moon Foundation For a Better Future, recently convened at the State Palace in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The aim was to catalyse joint action towards achieving peace, justice, and strong institutions, as delineated in Sustainable Development Goal 16 of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

SDG 16 represents a vision of a world characterised by peace, justice, and inclusivity. By addressing issues such as conflict, injustice, and weak governance systems, SDG 16 serves as the bedrock for sustainable development and the attainment of other SDGs. Despite its pivotal importance, progress on many of the targets set out in SDG 16 has been sluggish, and in some cases, even regressive. Identifying actionable steps to mobilise successful models for meeting these targets was the primary focus of the TASD.

Held from April 25-26, the TASD brought together government officials, scholars, and practitioners from the United States, Asia, and the Altai region. Organised by the State Great Hural (Parliament) of Mongolia in collaboration with APARC and the Ban Ki-moon Foundation, this event served as a sub-regional forum of the annual Trans-Pacific Sustainability Dialogue.

Building on the momentum generated by the inaugural sub-regional Dialogue in June 2023, which centred on promoting gender equality (SDG 5), this year's TASD aimed to strengthen networks and partnerships established previously. Participants delved into strategies to bolster the capacity of local, state, and global institutions to mitigate conflict, reduce inequalities, improve access to justice, and foster fair governance.

In his opening remarks, APARC Director Gi-Wook Shin emphasised the urgent need to accelerate progress on SDG 16, particularly amidst eroding confidence in public institutions and escalating social, economic, and political divisions. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the 8th Secretary-General of the UN, echoed this sentiment, highlighting the imperative of collective action in addressing global challenges.

Distinguished speakers, including Zandanshatar Gombojav, Chairman of Mongolia’s Parliament, and representatives from various Asian countries, underscored the importance of transparency, education, and peacebuilding efforts in realising SDG 16. Panel discussions throughout the conference tackled themes such as addressing structural injustices, strengthening governance, enhancing developing countries' participation in global institutions, and amplifying the role of international organisations in advancing SDG 16.

In a world grappling with profound structural challenges and human rights crises, the principles enshrined in SDG 16 are indispensable for fostering resilience and cooperation. As nations strive to build peaceful and inclusive societies, SDG 16 serves as a guiding beacon, ensuring that justice, inclusivity, and peace remain fundamental tenets of global development efforts.


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