Global SDG16+ Community Partners Issue Joint Call to Action on Implementing Sustainable Development Goal 16+ in Light of COVID-19

November 17, 2020
Over 100 organizations across 42 countries have heard the call to increase action, investment and resources to make peace, justice, and inclusion the foundation for reset and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over 100 organizations across 42 countries have heard the call to increase action, investment, and resources to make peace, justice, and inclusion the foundation for reset and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic is now testing humanity’s resilience to the extreme, exposing and reinforcing long-standing grievances, injustices, inequalities and fragility around the world. Human development is on course to decline this year for the first time since 1990. We see widespread protests in cities around the world, igniting calls for justice for all people. A growing economic crisis and political, social, and cultural dislocation are hurting billions of people, especially those who are already vulnerable or living in fragile and conflict-affected countries. As lockdowns are lifted, rising frustrations and unmet grievances could fuel further polarization, social unrest, fear and desperation. Amid increasing national tensions, global cooperation and our ability for collective action are facing renewed pressure.

It is now more clear than ever how crucially important national and local action for peace, justice and inclusion are for our common future. The UN Secretary-General has stressed the imperative of “building back better,” guided by the principle of universality and the commitment to “leave no one behind” as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Call to Action promotes three commitments:

1. We commit to ACT on reducing all forms of violence

Early and targeted responses at all levels are critical to addressing shifting patterns of violence arising from the pandemic. We call for urgent action to dedicate targeted spending on ‘what works;’ embrace a fragility, conflict and violence lens across strategies; prioritize gender-based prevention strategies; protect people from all forms of violence; and engage local governments, youth, and partners on the front-line. 

2. We commit to ACT on people-centered justice for all

People-centered justice approaches are needed more than ever and will help societies manage the institutional, social, and economic fallout from the pandemic. We call for urgent action to enforce emergency measures in a fair, just and proportionate manner; make people your partners; protect the justice workforce; focus on preventing injustices; and incorporate justice as a central component to building back better and sustainably.

3. We commit to ACT on building more equal and inclusive societies

The pandemic presents an opportunity to tackle systemic inequalities, both longstanding and new, and achieve the central promise of the 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind. We call for urgent action to forge a new social contract; adopt an inclusive, whole-of-society approach; design accountable and transparent fiscal and social policies; invest in intersectional and gender-disaggregated data; and ramp up global solidarity efforts and collaboration mechanisms.

Together, we call on governments, the international community and leaders in every sector to urgently make SDG16+ the foundation for reset and recovery efforts, and for building more resilient societies and institutions going forward.

Read the full statement here.

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