Sustainable Peace for Sustainable Development: Scrutinizing the Sustainable Development Goals, SDG 16 in Question

04/01/2015 04:08 pm ET | Updated May 31, 2015

My name is Ajarat Bada and I am the Director for The Missing Millennium Development Goal Initiative. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to these efforts. Transformative shift number 4 in the High Level panel's report particularly inspires us. We agree that freedom from conflict and violence is the "essential foundation for building peaceful and prosperous societies' and more importantly that sustainable peace is vital for sustainable development.

In light of these, we offer the following to this session.

1) We reiterate that Goal 16 -- is absolutely essential for the SDGs as a whole to make sense for every single UN member state. It is our global Sustainable Development Agenda not one that leaves those in Afghanistan, Northern Nigeria, Palestine, Syria, and Ferguson Missouri behind.

2) a. For target 16.1, we would like the indicator to disaggregate the data to highlight violence in the name of religion. The conflict in Ukraine is not the same as the one in Northern Nigeria. The distinctions need to be made. We echo the sentiments of H.E from Brazil that indicators must go beyond to fulfill the aspirations of the targets.

b. For 16.a, we would also like to measure the impact of state sponsored/manufactured terrorism. Yes, building peaceful societies is more than fighting terrorism but the world also needs us to promote positive and transparent leadership in governance and public affairs that does not accept masking of religious intolerance with political aims or vice versa- from the global north and the global south alike. A sustainable development agenda must keep this in mind.

3) For the September roundtable meetings, we suggest that there is serious discussion on the linkages between "Sustainable Peace" for "Sustainable Development." This is because resources -- financial and human -- needed to ensure Global partnerships for development, the mother of all goals, MDG 8 and SDG 17 alike have been deeply impacted by the cost of fighting conflict and terror. Conversations on sustainable peace for sustainable development are paramount in our discussions.

Again, our congratulations remain in order on the results of an arduous task of attempting to convey the aspirations of over 7 billion people into 17 goals, 169 targets and God knows how many indicators. As remarkable as these results are, they are not by any means perfect, that's why we are here to negotiate.

Member states need not fear that improving targets any further will disturb the political balance that these goals, as they stand have achieved. The element of trust between member states, civil society and all stakeholders must take precedence during these negotiations. Civil society is here to support you. We can't negotiate in fear, that wouldn't be negotiation!

In closing, we can go through the politically correct, business as usual approach which is to keep the seal on the targets and attempt to measure what we have not been able to fully articulate as is clearly evident in the letter of many of the targets. Or we can continue until these very last moments to strive in our duty to convey the true aspirations of 7 billion people in a sustainable development agenda that we must be determined to make successful. Member states and all stakeholders must not forget that it is an imperative and remains more important to continue to align ourselves with the people.

Mr Co-Facilitator, I thank you for the opportunity to engage.

Kind Regards,
Ajarat Bada
The Missing Millennium Development Goal Initiative