International Cooperation and Development

Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

The 16th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG16) aims to build strong and just institutions in support of peaceful and inclusive societies around the world by 2030, notably by:

  • promoting the rule of law, transparency, accountability, good governance, and non-discrimination at all levels of government
  • ensuring equal access to justice for all and protecting everyone’s fundamental freedoms
  • significantly reducing violent deaths, torture, abuse, exploitation, discrimination, human trafficking, corruption, and organised crime
  • significantly reducing all forms of violence and promoting peace

SDG16 is the main SDG associated with the promotion of peace, justice, and inclusion. The cornerstone of this SDG’s targets and their interface with other SDGs are clearly linked to the strengthening of societal and state resilience by promoting the rule of law, justice, democracy, human rights, and equality.

Corruption, bribery, theft, and tax evasion cost developing countries around €1.12 trillion each year – an amount of money that could have otherwise been invested in societies and helped lift the world’s poorest out of extreme poverty for at least 6 years. Nearly half of Sub-Saharan Africans don’t have a birth certificate. Around one third of all prisoners in the world are held in detention without sentencing. The lack of access to justice impedes the protection of the fundamental freedoms of many and is perpetrating exclusion and discrimination patterns. Additionally, children rights’ violations continue to plague many countries

Promoting and protecting human rights is at the core of our work. Human rights, the rule of law, and democracy are inextricably connected and our commitment to those fundamental principles is a foundation of our European development policy. Through all our actions, we defend and strive to achieve inclusive and just societies in partner countries, where everyone is protected, respected, and free to speak their mind without having to fear for their safety, no matter their socioeconomic situation, ethnic origins, religion, age, gender, sexual orientations, etc. Participatory, inclusive, and representative decision-making is also one of our key targets and it is extremely relevant to peacebuilding and conflict prevention.

To achieve SDG 16, we act on several fronts:

  • We support the establishment and re-enforcement of legal systems and norms based on rule of law, independent judicial, reliable, and accountable institutions, free and fair elections, universal access to justice etc.
  • We contribute to conflict prevention and peacebuilding, by supporting partner countries in fragile and conflict-affected contexts in different phases of the fragility or conflict continuum.
  • We contribute to the global fight against organised crime, terrorism, chemical and nuclear risks, cyber threats, and other global threats to peace and security.
  • We strive to guarantee everyone’s fundamental rights and freedoms to reduce inequalities and build truly inclusive societies.