Achieving SDG 16 require strong partnerships, integrated solutions and robust data

Statement delivered by Marcos Neto at the UNECOSOC Partnership Forum, SDG Action Segment Goal 16, UN HQ, New York

January 30, 2024
Photo: UNDP

Ladies and gentleman, 

I extend my gratitude to Ambassador Ms. Paula Narvaez, President of ECOSOC, and the ECOSOC Partnership Forum team for convening this crucial discussion on peace, justice, and inclusion. Today, I want to emphasize the urgency for immediate action in the face of unprecedented global uncertainty.

As we start off 2024, allow me to reiterate the reasons why we are calling for immediate action. Our world is grappling with heightened conflict, soaring costs of food and fuel, and a deep crisis of trust. These challenges are intertwined with the way we govern our societies, impacting people's capacity to meet their basic human needs. 

How do we move forward now to address this confluence of multiple crises? 

First, let’s look at what emerges from the official statistics that countries are reporting themselves against the global SDG 16 indicators. 

UN Human Rights, UNODC and UNDP launched the first Global progress report on Sustainable Development Goal 16 indicators: A wake-up call for action on peace, justice and inclusion, that presents for the very first time the latest analysis of data available on SDG 16 indicators. This is the culmination of a long and fruitful partnership with UNODC, UN Office of Human Rights and additional key stakeholders who have been investing in strengthening statistical systems for informed decision making.

There is some good news. Positive strides include an increase in countries adopting laws guaranteeing public access to information, higher birth registrations for children under five, and the establishment of more independent national human rights institutions.

Also, now 40% of countries are reporting on at least one SDG 16 indicator, reflecting the considerable efforts of member states with the support of the UN system to ensure there is data to monitor national and global progress, which can inform prioritisation and acceleration. For instance, we have the SDG 16 Survey developed by UNODC, UNDP and UN Office of Human Rights where we are demonstrating impact. In The Gambia, the findings from the SDG Monitoring Survey 2020-21, contributed to the establishment of a new ministry overseeing public service delivery. In Tunisia, the findings are being used as a basis in discussions on SDG 16 policies and priorities between several partners.

What were the major setbacks?

The report illustrates in stark terms where we are today on Goal 16. Countries are backsliding on their human rights commitments, violence and insecurity are pervasive, corruption and unresponsive Governments are corroding weakened social contracts and justice continues to be elusive for the most marginalized. Without addressing some of the deep-seated causes of inequality and exclusion captured within this Goal progress on sustainable development overall, will not be achieved. Some of the striking figures follow:

  • Intentional homicide reached a peak in 2021.
  • Less than half the population report crimes such as robbery, physical assault and sexual assault .
  • There was a 40 per cent increase in killings and a nearly 300 per cent increase in enforced disappearances of human rights defenders and journalists from 2021 to 2022.
  • Discrimination is prevalent worldwide, with one in six people having experienced discrimination during the previous 12 months. 

Considering these challenges, what can we resolve to commit to today as a global community?

Achieving SDG 16 requires strong partnerships, integrated solutions, and proactive leadership from countries and member states. A whole-of-society approach is essential, involving governments, the private sector, civil society, youth, and international entities

SDG 16 data remains a key area for leveraging partnerships. Collaborating with more countries to track and report progress is essential to address reversals and stagnation across the Goal.  

The financing gap is substantial, requiring sustained investment for long-term development and resilient societies.  UNDP has an important role, along with other agencies, in supporting the leveraging of existing and new resources to enable adequate financing. 

At UNDP, we collaborate with member states, sister agencies, civil society, and diverse coalitions. Together, we can achieve significant progress, reaffirming our commitment to the ideals of the 2030 Agenda for a safer, more just, and inclusive world.

Thank you.