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Assistant Programme Director Peace, Nisha Ghosh

SDG 16 in the year 2020

The year 2020 marks 5 years since the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were launched with great energy and a lot more hope. It seemed that the global community had at last found the right prescription for sustainable development – one that improved upon the Millennium Development Goals, and one that had global approval of the member states. For the NGOs and civil society community, SDG 5 the stand-alone goal for Gender was victory of sorts. The focus here is on SDG 16.

SDG16 and its targets focus on peace justice and strong institutions, which prima facie seemed achievable. Unfortunately, the reports cards of the past two years speak otherwise. Fragility of peace, crumbling and corrupt institutions and justice a nebulous dream. More violence, conflicts people fleeing war, human rights defender done away with and the dismal list goes on. Should these injustices and be left unnamed and unchallenged?

The year 2020 also has become the year of the COVID-19-the fall out of which interferes with the progress made, as mentioned even by the UN in its report.  The implications  of COVID-19, have further threatened global peace and security, and the number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict is recorded to be highest in the last 70 years or more.

This crisis has laid bare the structural inequalities that shape our lives, it is also a time for a rethink about catalysts for rebuilding societies that offer justice and safety to everyone.

As highlighted in the Sustaining Peace Agenda, peace cannot be defined merely as an absence of war or armed conflict. To civil society around the world, human security, development, good governance, and a harmonious community grounded in principles of human rights and equality are the true essence of peace.

The Secretary General has declared 2020 as the beginning of the Decade of Action. -leading up to the Agenda 2030. A giant leap had been made in 2015, and awareness and action were at the premium. The hiccup of the COVID-19 is being challenged with positivity and hope as the world now gingerly steps up to 2030.

For Soroptimists keeping our mission and vision in view, such a crisis has provided a chance to redefine ‘normal’ and realign our goals for the communities we serve and the women and girls whose lives we endeavour to transform.

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