peace, development and human rights

Two billion people – one quarter of humanity – live in conflict-affected areas. Last year, 84 million were forcibly displaced because of conflict, violence and human rights violations and it is estimated that a record 274 million people in 2022 will need humanitarian assistance.

Conflicts have a devastating impact on socio-economic development worldwide. The war in Ukraine has caused skyrocketing food, fuel and fertilizer prices that spell disaster for developing countries and has also led to the senseless loss of life, massive destruction and unacceptable violations of human rights.

Why Goal 16 matters? 

Goal 16 calls for governments, civil society and communities to work together to address the root causes and drivers of conflict. Implementing lasting solutions to ensure the rule of law, combat corruption, end violence, including against women and children, and foster inclusive participation is pivotal to achieving sustainable development.

Everyone should be able to enjoy their lives in safety without the fear of all forms of violence, regardless of their ethnicity, faith or sexual orientation.

Strong, effective and accountable institutions, including a free and democratic press, can help to promote non-discriminatory laws and policies, combat corruption, bribery and organized crime, and prevent violence and terrorism, bringing peace and justice to society at large.

In May’s Goal of the Month editorial, we focus on Goal 16: promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

In Focus

  • The War in Ukraine
  • World Press Freedom Day | 3-4 May 2022
  • Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War | 8-9 May
  • International Day of UN Peacekeepers| 29 May
  • Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance
  • Interview: Reject genocide deniers and war criminals 
  • Interview: Despite security and political crises, ​​​​​​​UN expert remains optimistic about Mali 
  • Feature: African-born advocate and refugee, reflects on being a Black woman in the US 

The war in Ukraine has led to the senseless loss of life, massive devastation in urban centres, and the destruction of civilian infrastructure. 

Amid the suffering and destruction, the United Nations and UN agencies are working to support people whose lives have been uprooted.

Read the series on the war in Ukraine.

On 2-5 May 2022, UNESCO and the Republic of Uruguay will host the annual World Press Freedom Day Global Conference in a hybrid format in Punta Del Este, Uruguay. Under the theme “Journalism under Digital Siege”, topics such as the digital era’s impact on freedom of expression, the safety of journalists, access to information and privacy will be discussed.

Register here to attend the event. Media resources can be found here.

In collaboration with UNESCO, the United Nations Department of Global Communications will host a virtual event for the New York observance of World Press Freedom Day 2022 on 4 May, 10:30 am – 12 pm EDT.  

The event will focus on the challenges to media viability in different regions and media sectors, identifying viable solutions without compromising integrity and editorial independence and exploring the importance of professional practices. The panel discussion will be moderated by United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications (DGC) Melissa Fleming.   

You may ask a question to the panel and watch live via UNWebTV. Visit here to learn more.  

The GA resolution declared 8–9 May as Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War.

It is an opportunity to call upon the Member States of the United Nations to unite their efforts in dealing with new challenges and threats, with the United Nations playing a central role, and to make every effort to settle all disputes by peaceful means in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and in such a manner that international peace and security are not endangered.

People. Peace. Progress. The Power of Partnerships 

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, 29 May, offers a chance to pay tribute to the uniformed and civilian personnel’s invaluable contribution to the work of the Organization and to honour more than 4,000 peacekeepers who have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948, including 130 last year.

The focus of the 2022 International Day of UN Peacekeepers will be on the power of partnerships to secure peace, progress and, ultimately, prosperity for all people, under the theme of “People. Peace. Progress. The Power of Partnerships”.

To mark the Day at the UN Headquarters in New York on 26 May, the Secretary-General will lay a wreath in honour of all peacekeepers who have lost their lives while serving under the UN flag. And a ceremony will be held at which the Dag Hammarskjold medal will be awarded posthumously to peacekeepers who lost their lives in 2021. The Military Gender Advocate of the Year award will also be presented at the ceremony. 

The ceremony will be broadcasted live through UN Web TV.

The war in Ukraine has a ripple effect on the world’s food, energy and finance sectors. Because of the impact on these sectors, the conflict risks tipping up to 1.7 billion people — over one-fifth of humanity — into poverty, destitution and hunger. In response to concerns over the potential consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as the continuing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,  UN Secretary-General António Guterres launched the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance (GCRG).

Mr. Guterres subsequently presented the first detailed policy brief issued by the Group on the importance of global cooperation in tackling the crisis with recommendations to:

1. Call on all countries to keep engaging in multilateral fora 

2. Call on all countries and stakeholders to recognize that the very nature of increasingly common global shocks is such that countries are not individually responsible

3. Make immediate and efficient use of all the existing mechanisms 

4. Call not only on countries, but also on the private, civil society and the philanthropic sectors to help the most vulnerable populations 

Read detailed recommendations and the full policy brief here.

“When hate speech begins, people may initially see it as harmless, but it doesn’t always end up as so. We need to understand that hate speech is the foundation for genocide.”

Ms. Alice Wairimu Nderitu, the Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide has visited several continents in her efforts to help prevent genocides. She explained to Africa Renewal that a new approach to preventing genocide involves engaging communities at the grassroots directly.

Read here.

According to reports, Malian Armed Forces accompanied by foreign military personnel allegedly carried out killings and other grave violations during a military operation. 

Alioune Tine, UN Independent Expert on Mali, remains optimistic, despite the concerning security situation in Mali and appeals to the international community and call on the Malian authorities to favour dialogue so that everyone can find their place to work for the stability, security and peace in Mali.  

Read his interview with UN News here.

Lourena Gboeah, shared her journey fleeing conflict in Liberia, building a new life in the United States and her hopes for the future of Black women in the US. Lourena feels a particular obligation towards Black women and hopes she can make the future bright for her daughter and her community.