Southern Voice is partnering with the UNDP Oslo Governance Centre to identify the pathways towards achieving SDG 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions) in the Global South in the context of COVID-19.

With less than 10 years remaining for the achievement of the global framework for development, there is a real risk that many of the goals and targets of the Agenda 2030 will not be met – among these SDG 16. The COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to having significant health and economic consequences worldwide, is also presenting itself as an unprecedented ‘crisis of governance.’

The achievement of SDG 16 saw slow progress before COVID-19, and the pandemic has made the realization of the Goal even harder since it poses significant challenges to governance systems worldwide. The emergency response resulted in an over-centralization of decision processes and a curtail of civic-space and participatory processes. Furthermore, lockdowns have limited the delivery and quality of public services. This is especially the case in countries in the Global South, where now more than ever, it is critical to rebuilding trust between government authorities and the population.

Further assessments and analysis are needed in order to fully understand the current global and regional trends and their impact on achieving peace, justice, and inclusion. It is important also to gain a greater understanding of the specific impact of the pandemic on achieving SDG 16 and the role SDG 16 can play in enabling better recovery processes from COVID-19. These analyses need to consider the diverse realities and priorities across the Global South. The perspectives and voices from the Global South are critical at this time, to ensure the recovery processes are tailored to different contexts.

UNDP through its Oslo Governance Center and Southern Voice are partnering to launch a global initiative to better assess emerging trends that facilitate or hinder the achievement of SDG 16 in the context of Covid-19 and amplify the voice of Southern actors in regional and global policy spaces related to thematic issues on peace, justice and inclusion.

The review of SDG 16 at the 2021 High-Level Political Forum provides an opportunity to highlight the experiences and analysis emerging from diverse perspectives at global levels. UNDP and Southern Voice aim to support a series of dialogues between May and July 2021 on SDG 16 that can contribute to these discussions and provide an evidence base to inform policymakers. This includes the following:

Regional Virtual Roundtables will invite experts, researchers, and academics from each region to reflect on and share their analysis on key issues, challenges, and priorities affecting their region in achieving peaceful, just, and inclusive societies, particularly in the context of the pandemic.

Global Online Discussion will provide a platform for a wider discussion on specific thematic issues. People are invited to sign up at the SDG 16 Hub to read and participate in the discussion. Over the course of eight weeks, four discussions will take place on the forum and will build on each other to explore the multi-layered impact of COVID-19 on achieving different dimensions of peace, justice, and inclusion. The discussion will explore how COVID-19 has impacted governance systems or undermined political processes and try to understand whether putting in place inclusive and accountable processes can help with ensuring more equitable recovery from the pandemic.

Discussions will be organized along the following themes:

A Global Roundtable will be held on the margins of the 2021 High-Level Political Forum and key messages from these different processes will be featured at the event.

You can join SDG 16 Hub to participate in the discussions. Click here to register. If you are already a member, join the group by clicking on the “Join” button and share your thoughts.

Originally published on SDG 16 Hub.