Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

Goal 16 is to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Illustration: The UN

Peaceful societies and freedom from violence are both a goal and a means of sustainable development. No permanent progress can be achieved in a context marked by violence, conflict and the threat of violence.

An effective state administration with responsible institutions, transparency and the rule of law all have an intrinsic value of their own. They constitute the basis of good governance including anti-corruption measures, and are important driving forces for development.

Everyone is equal before the law and must have equal access to justice and the opportunity to exert influence and demand accountability from decision-makers. Good governance and the rule of law are fundamental goals and means for development.

Violence in all its forms is one of the greatest threats to development at both the individual and community level. Reducing and preventing violence, particularly against women and girls, and conflict-related violence are major challenges for the 2030 Agenda. Repeated cycles of violence must be broken. The risk of conflict-torn countries relapsing into violence is great – and the risk of a child who has been subjected to violence using violence against others as an adult is imminent.

Freedom from violence is fundamental for enabling people to freely take their own decisions and for the development and governance of society. Violence not only entails human suffering and the loss of life, it destroys the trust between people and the social cohesion that forms the basis of a society's economic, environmental and social development.

The terms 'democracy' and 'human rights' are not explicitly expressed in Goal 16. They are, however, clearly stated in the political declaration of the 2030 Agenda.

Targets

16.1 Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere

16.2 End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children

16.3 Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all

16.4 By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime

16.5 Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms

16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels

16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels

16.8 Broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance

16.9 By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration

16.10 Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements

16.a Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime

16.b Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development