As recognised by Political Declarations of the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) and other UN and civil society analyses, numerous challenges and structural barriers confront the realisation of the ambitious SDG16+.
Collectively, the world is off track in realising the 2030 Agenda and thus realising inclusive and peaceful societies. Around the world, over 40 countries are in active conflict, and 92 countries have become less peaceful over the last 10 years.4 Violence causes 1.6 million deaths worldwide every year.5 5.1 billion people have unmet justice needs globally.
The past year saw ever increasing attacks on human rights and justice defenders; in the area of environmental justice alone, 321 defenders were killed in 2017.7 Civil society faces barriers to participation, relating to inadequate funding, visa restrictions, and the scope, substance, and follow-up to participation.
Structural inequalities, rising authoritarianism, exclusion and tokenization, inadequate capacity, and lack of political will to address peace, justice, and governance issues limit advancement of the agenda. World military expenditure has increased to $1739 billion by 2017.8 Less than 2% of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) is spent on justice systems, and funding for justice has decreased by 40% in the last 5 years.
Meanwhile, there is an increasing move to accredit military-security spending as a ‘progressive’ contribution to SDG16+, despite the risks of undermining peace and development efforts. Addressing the underlying causes of conflict, insecurity, and systemic injustice is better done through long-term, upstream investments and early action to address marginalization and inequalities, promoting inclusion, and supporting economic and human development.