On 27th May 2019 ACCORD’s Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Vasu Gounden was a panellist at the SDG 16 Conference taking place in Rome, Italy. The conference was hosted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the UN Development Programme.
SDG 16 is part of the UN’s Agenda 2030 which is made up of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is grounded on the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and international human rights treaties and emphasises the responsibility of all states to respect, protect and promote human rights. The conference focused on “Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies: SDG 16 Implementation and the path to leaving no one behind,” and explored the links between peace and sustainable development. Present at the conference was an array of high level experts in the field of peace and security who addressed a series of high level sessions and workshops. Dr. Gounden presented during the session entitled “Ending and Preventing Violence: Advancing peace and sustainable development as mutually reinforcing processes,” where he focused on the mitigation of political conflicts in Africa.
The session included Ms. Marina Caparini, Senior Researcher, Director of the Governance and Society Programme, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and Ms. Daniela Ligiero, CEO of Together for Girls. Dr. Gounden placed emphasis on building local and national capacities for peace as a strategy for SDG 16 and he noted that this helped South Africa avert a civil war. Dr. Gounden went on to further state that if we are to approach SDG 16, it is imperative that we first find the centres of violence around the world in order to generate effective mitigation of violence and civil unrest. In closing, Dr. Gounden also highlighted that there has been success thus far with the implementation of the SDGs, and remarked that from the 2015, when the SDGs were set, to now in 2019, the world is a very different place and this needs to be taken into account for how we continue to respond to the SDGs.