Focus 19: Peaceful and non-violent societies, rule of law and capable institutions


Creating peaceful, non-violent and inclusive societies, based on respect for all human rights including the right to development, is a cornerstone for sustainable development. Equality within and between countries is a key determinant of peaceful, non-violent and inclusive societies.
Some areas that could be considered for strengthening peaceful and non-violent societies include:

  1. combating organized crime;

  2. strengthening the rule of law at all levels;

  3. reducing illicit arms transfer and trafficking;

  4. reduction of crime, violence, abuse, exploitation, including against children and women;

  5. promoting information and education on a culture of non-violence;

  6. reducing the number of internally displaced persons and refugees;

  7. strengthening the fight against human trafficking;

  8. improving planned and managed migration policies; and

  9. appropriate means of implementation*

Governance, rule of law, capable institutions are both outcome and enabler, advancing all three pillars of sustainable development and the post-2015 development agenda.
Some areas could include:

  1. effective, accountable and transparent institutions;

  2. strengthening the rule of law at all levels;

  3. provision of public services for all;

  4. improvement of transparency in public finances management;

  5. fighting corruption in all its forms;

  6. improved public access to publicly owned information;

  7. inclusive, participatory decision-making;

  8. strengthening local governments;

  9. strengthening of civil society;

  10. freedom of media, association and speech;

  11. curbing illicit financial flows;

  12. provision of legal identity;

  13. provision of property, use and access rights, to all persons;

  14. providing access to independent and responsive justice systems;

  15. developing and using evidence based, high quality, timely, disaggregated data and methodology for evaluating progress; and

  16. appropriate means of implementation.*


  • Tackling poverty will require addressing the full range of its causes. Many stated that peace, rule of law, and governance are both ends in themselves and enablers for poverty eradication and sustainable development.

  • While recognizing the importance of peace, governance and rule of law, it was also underlined that the discussions of the OWG should focus on the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. It was pointed out that the Rio+20 Outcome document has no pillar or goal on peace and security and that SDGs should be guided by "The Future We Want", as per paragraph 247 of that document. Some noted that, in addition, the OWG should draw on the Millennium Declaration and outcome document of the 2013 Special Event.

  • Many underlined that conflict and violence undermine development. It was underlined that peaceful societies are the basis for and the result of sustainable development.

  • Conflict prevention and the pursuit of durable peace should address structural drivers of conflicts, including through promoting participatory decision-making, inclusive economic governance, and equitable management of natural resources.

  • The impact of the lack of physical security on all dimensions of development is severe and long- term. In this regard, some mentioned rising citizen insecurity, trans-national organized crime, and the illicit arms trade. It was pointed out that the concepts of "conflict" and "violence" should not be equated with each other, given the differences in the remedies required from the international community.

  • Open and effective institutions are essential foundations for sustainable development. In this regard, some identified transparency as a key component of governance. Action in this area could promote public access to information and enhance openness of government, as well as fostering trust in government institutions.

  • Curbing illicit financial flows could potentially make available additional domestic sources of revenue for social spending, helping to promote inclusive, stable and peaceful societies.

  • Many referred to the declaration of the high-level meeting of the GA on the rule of law at the national and international levels. The document, among other things, pointed out that rule of law and development are inter-related and mutually reinforcing, and that advancement of the rule of law must take place at the national and international levels.

  • It was mentioned that rule of law touches directly and indirectly on a range of sustainable development areas, including by: furthering inclusive economic growth through protection of land, property and other resource use rights; providing access to fair and responsive justice systems; and improved provision of public services. A number of speakers referred to the importance of birth registration and legal identity.

  • Many countries highlighted the international dimension of the rule of law, including through reforms of international organizations in order to increase the legitimacy, transparency, accountability and representation of the United Nations and other multilateral institutions.

  • It was also pointed out that there is no one-size-fits all model for the rule of law, which has developed subject to national conditions and particularities and that there is no agreed or universal basis for assessing "levels of implementation" of the rule of law. National ownership was emphasized.

  • There were calls for peace, rule of law, and governance to be reflected in goal form. Others argued that they should be dealt with in a cross-cutting manner. Still others argued that there should be no specific goal on these issues.

  • It was mentioned that there exist tools and indicators for measuring progress, although there is a need for capacity building and assistance. However, others stated that peace and governance cannot be targeted and measured in ways that are consensual.

The above was taken from the United Nations Sustainability web site:


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