Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development

Conflict, insecurity, weak institutions, and limited access to justice remain a great threat to sustainable development. 

The number of people fleeing war, persecution, and conflict exceeded 70 million in 2018, the highest level recorded by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in almost 70 years. 

In 2019, the United Nations tracked 357 killings and 30 enforced disappearances of human rights defenders, journalists, and trade unionists in 47 countries.

And the births of around one in four children under age 5 worldwide are never officially recorded, depriving them of proof of legal identity crucial for the protection of their rights and for access to justice and social services.

COVID-19 response

Human rights are key in shaping the pandemic response. By respecting human rights in this time of crisis, we will build more effective and inclusive solutions for the emergency of today and the recovery for tomorrow.

Human rights put people center stage. Responses that are shaped by and respect human rights result in better outcomes in beating the pandemic, ensuring healthcare for everyone, and preserving human dignity.

The UN Secretary-General urged governments to be transparent, responsive, and accountable in their COVID-19 response and ensure that any emergency measures are legal, proportionate, necessary, and non-discriminatory. “The best response is one that responds proportionately to immediate threats while protecting human rights and the rule of law,” he said.

To focus on “the true fight,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for a global ceasefire, in an appeal urging warring parties across the world to lay down their weapons in support of the bigger battle against the  COVID-19 pandemic.  

More than 2 million people have signed the online petition in support of the Secretary-General’s cease-fire appeal. You can sign it here.

Facts and Figures

Violence against children

Goal 15 Targets

16.1 Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere

16.2 End abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence against and torture of children

16.3 Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all

16.4 By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets, and combat all forms of organized crime

16.5 Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms

16.6 Develop effective, accountable, and transparent institutions at all levels

16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory, and representative decision-making at all levels

16.8 Broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance

16.9 By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration

16.10 Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements

16.A Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime

16.B Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

UN Department of Political Affairs

UN Development Programme

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

UNICEF #EndViolence


United Nations Peacekeeping

UN Counter Terrorism Committee

 High Time to End Violence against Children 

UN action for cooperation against trafficking in persons (UN-ACT)

UN office of the special representative of the secretary-general on violence against children

UN Mine Action service

The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children

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