During September, International Alert warmly welcomed the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We believe they represent a better picture than ever before of what it will take to promote sustainable development.
Perhaps one of the greatest advances was the consideration given to the role of peace. In the preamble to the SDGs, the international community recognised that “there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development”. Moreover, peace now has its own goal: SDG 16 on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies. This broader and deeper view that peace is fundamentally interconnected with the development agenda is very positive.
Complementing this achievement is the Addis Ababa accord on financing for development, which made a commitment to step up efforts to increase access to peacebuilding finance.
To mark the occasion of the SDGs, Alert issued a joint statement along with a number of other peacebuilding organisations and members of civil society. Phil Vernon, acting CEO, in his blog ‘A warm welcome to the SDGs’ and Julian Egan, Head of Advocacy, in his blog ‘All the bells and whistles’, provided further perspectives during the week on implementing the SDGs broadly and SDG 16 specifically.
A key consideration will be the continuing need to apply highly tailored, locally appropriate approaches to addressing conflict. Ensuring that the other SDGs are properly integrated with peace will also be crucial to their effectiveness and sustainability. Supporting individuals, communities and organisations that seek to use the SDGs as a means to hold governments accountable and promote social and political change will also be important to realising the full effect of the goals.
Photo: SDG 16 projected onto the side of the UN building in New York. Courtesy of the Quakers