Tomorrow leaders from around the world converge on New York to take part in the UN Sustainable Development Summit. It’s a momentous occasion, when the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be approved, setting in motion 15 years of collective action to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. And we are delighted to see that for the first time, the goals recognise the crucial links between conflict and poverty, peace and prosperity.
Goal 16 of the SDGs is to ‘promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development’. It includes these crucial targets:
For the 1.2 billion people who live in fragile and conflict-affected countries, these targets are long overdue. As the World Bank notes, ‘poverty is increasingly concentrated in countries affected by conflict’. In other words, the global effort to lift people out of poverty cannot be achieved without a stronger focus on peacebuilding.
For organisations such as Peace Direct, who have worked hard to raise awareness of the need to invest in local peacebuilding, the new SDGs present a unique opportunity to build real momentum behind non-violent locally led efforts to tackle violent conflict.
Time will tell whether governments will seize this moment to invest in local peacebuilding capacity as a way of helping to reach the SDG16 targets. But at Peace Direct we will be redoubling our efforts in the coming years to hold governments to the commitments they are making this week – so that by 2030 the world our children inherit will be a more peaceful, equitable and prosperous world than the one we see today.