Sustainable Development Goal 16
Developing the introduction
Overall Aim of Sustainable Development Goal 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Sustainable Development Goal 16 is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations in 2015. The official wording is: “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”. The Goal has 12 targets to be achieved by 2030. Progress towards targets will be measured by 23 indicators.
The goal has ten targets:
Target 16.1: Reduce violence everywhere
Target 16.2: Protect children from abuse, exploitation, trafficking and violence
Target 16.3: Promote the rule of law and ensure equal access to justice
Target 16.4: Combat organized crime and illicit financial and arms flows
Target 16.5: Substantially reduce corruption and bribery
Target 16.6: Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions
Target 16.7: Ensure responsive, inclusive and representative decision-making
Target 16.8: Strengthen the participation in global governance
Target 16.9: Provide universal legal identity
Target 16.10: Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms
There are also two “means of achieving targets”:
Target 16.a: Strengthen national institutions to prevent violence and combat crime and terrorism
Target 16.b: Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies
Reducing violent crime, sex trafficking, forced labor, and child abuse are clear global goals. The International Community values peace and justice and calls for stronger judicial systems that will enforce laws and work toward a more peaceful and just society.
Why is it important for educational community?
Teaching SDG16-related issues is the most direct way to contribute towards SDG16. In terms of curricula, amongst the most-analysed contributions is peace and conflict studies, which is a common intervention in conflict-affected contexts. Centres for peace related education and training are present in many fragile contexts including Afghanistan, Somalia, the Central African Republic, and Sudan/South Sudan where there are at least nine centres for peace and conflict/development studies resulting from the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Whilst new degrees on peace and governance can foster expertise, locating these subjects within a single discipline lessens the potential to educate a critical mass of students and faces obstacles to establishing new disciplines. For instance, in Syria, academic culture inhibits such new teaching programmes, with a general ‘impression that ridicules all issues related to social sciences, let alone peace, government and the rule of law’. Rather than compartmentalise peace impact in a single programme, issues related to conflict and governance can be integrated throughout curricula. The SDGs represent a holistic framework, and education can foster critical thinking to work across disciplinary and sectoral boundaries.
Key dimensions of Sustainable Development 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
The world is still a long way from achieving the goal of building peaceful, just and inclusive societies, with millions of people living in fragile and conflict-affected States. At the end of 2019, 79.5 million people had been forcibly displaced worldwide, equivalent to 1 percent of the global population. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed inequalities and discrimination and has tested, weakened, and in some cases shattered rights and protection systems in countries and territories. The United Nations recorded 69,276 civilian deaths in 12 of the world’s deadliest armed conflicts between 2018 and 2020. In 2020, there were five civilians killed per 100,000 population, one in seven of which was a woman or child. Even before the pandemic, violence against children was widespread, affecting victims regardless of wealth or social status. In 77 mostly low- and middle-income countries and territories with available data from 2012 to 2020, 8 in 10 children, ranging from 1 to 14 years of age, had been subjected to some form of psychological aggression or physical punishment at home. In 2018, some 5 in 10 victims of human trafficking detected globally were women and 2 in 10 were girls. Moreover, about one-third of all detected victims were children.
About 50 percent of the detected victims were trafficked for sexual exploitation and 38 percent for forced labour. The sharp rise in unemployment brought about by the pandemic is likely to increase trafficking in persons. Data from more than 120 countries and territories indicate that people living in low-income countries and territories are those most exposed to bribery. According to the latest data available for the period from 2011 to 2020, the average prevalence of bribery in low-income countries and territories is 37.6 percent, compared to 7.2 percent in high-income countries and territories. Establishment-level data from 145 countries and territories surveyed between 2006 and 2020 indicate that almost one business in six around the world is subject to requests from public officials for bribe payments. Globally as of January 2021, 31.1 percent of parliamentarians are 45 years of age or less, up from 28.1 percent in 2018. Male parliamentarians remain predominant in the leadership positions of speaker and committee chair. In 2020, the United Nations tracked 331 killings of human rights defenders in 32 countries and territories, an 18 percent increase in 2019, and 19 enforced disappearances in 14 countries and territories. Women comprised 13 percent of victims killed and 22 percent of those forcibly disappeared. A total of 62 journalists were killed in 2020 compared to 57 in 2019, with 65 percent killed in non-conflict countries and territories. As of February 2021,
laws on access to information have been adopted by 127 countries and territories, although the implementation of the laws could be improved. Many countries and territories attempted to make data available concerning COVID-19 infections, the contracting of emergency equipment and the allocation of rescue packages and relief financing. By now only with right goals like significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere, end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children, promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all, by 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime, substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms, develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels, ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels, broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance, by 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration, ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements, 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, promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development, we will be on a right path to provide peace, justice and strong institutions for all of us.
The interplay between Sustainable Development Goal 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and the acquisition of 21st century skills
Some 21st-century skills existed before the advent of modern technologies and could be taught without technological support. Critical thinking and problem solving have always been a necessary part of the learning process. Communication and collaboration have been an important part of interpersonal relations for centuries; however, all these skills take on new importance in the digital world of the 21st century. 21st-century skills comprise 2 subsets: ICT skills—pedagogical and ethical— and higher order skills: Critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, self-regulated learning, communication, and collaboration. Using the former effectively fosters the development of the latter. In this sense, the SAMR technology adoption model classifies the use of technology into two stages: Improvement and transformation. Each stage has two elements; in the first, these are substitution and augmentation, and in the second, modification and redefinition. Substitution is concerned with the use of technology in tasks that can be performed without it, and at the higher levels deep learning is developed, critical thinking, problem solving skills, effective communication, and collaborative work are promoted an effective, relevant curriculum must incorporate important topics aligned with the interests of both students and teachers. It must be oriented towards the students’ personal, moral, and social development. Communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving are relevant skills for all, and should be incorporated into the curriculum, taught, and assessed. However, 21st century skills are not part of the curriculum for a variety of reasons; some claim that they are not included because they cannot be taught, others allude to a lack of time, poor teacher preparation, and a lack of strategies for teaching transferable skills, while others suggest that they have not been implemented effectively.
Integrating these skills into the curriculum has been on the agenda of organizations such as the OECD, UNESCO, P21, etc., for some time. Theoretical frameworks have been developed to define these skills, but it is not yet clear how the curriculum should be constructed, although their interdisciplinary nature and the demand for new teaching and assessment methods to integrate them is recognized. Successfully integrating 21st century skills into the curriculum lies, at least in part, in the hands of teachers.