WFUNA's Position on a Goal on Peaceful Societies in the Post-2015 Development Agenda

The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) is a global nonprofit organization representing and coordinating a membership of over 100 national United Nations Associations.

The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) welcomes the focus on peaceful societies as a goal within the post-2015 development framework as a key element to achieving sustainable development. We underline the reinforcing link between peace, security and development whereby violence and conflict not only hinder development but drivers of conflict, violence and insecurity can be traced to inequitable development deficits. Understanding that without a stable and peace-enabling environment development cannot flourish, we strongly support the inclusion of a goal on “Peaceful Societies” in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

We recognize the inherent difficulties tackling the drivers of violence and conflict, and recognize eliminating insecurity, violence and conflict will not guarantee sustainable development. We are, however, concerned that:

• War, violence and high levels of crime currently affect over 1.5 billion people, the majority of whom are under 30, destroying communities around the world, disrupting social cohesion, imposing economic burdens, extinguishing hope of eliminating poverty and unraveling years of social and economic progress.

• By 2015 more than 50 percent of the total population in extreme poverty will reside in places affected by conflict and chronic violence.

• The Millennium Development Goal’s (MDGs) failed to address the specific development issues in conflict and violence-affected countries. No country in an area affected by conflict will achieve a single goal, whilst only 20% of fragile and conflict-affected countries are meeting the MDG target on poverty.

• If we do not learn from the failures of the MDGs the development results by 2030 in conflict and violence-affected countries will remain the same, or even worsen.

• Young people are at an increased risk of physical and sexual abuse, and are more susceptible to forceful armed recruitment as soldiers or trafficked for labor. This is more concerning as we begin to see a “youth bulge” in conflict or violence affected zones.

We emphasize that a standalone goal enables governments to systematically focus attention on the reduction of armed conflict, violence and insecurity, and not avoid targets related to peace and security that have been weaved throughout other Goals. Simultaneously, we support weaving notions of peace and security throughout other Goals acknowledges and addresses the mutually reinforcing link between peace, security and development.

In addition to the numerous reportsi that stress the link between peace, security and development and acknowledge the importance of a 4th pillar (peace and security) to sustainable development., we point to the countless occasions civil societyii, has voiced concern over the need to break the cycle of war and violence as a prerequisite to build sustainable developmental agenda.

During our consultations with our network of 105 United Nations Associations (UNAs) and our civil society partners, civil society expressed loudly that eradicating violence is both a local and global concern and an important part of human progress. Our networks, many of which are in conflict and violence affected countries, called for a future in which all people are guaranteed a life free from violence, insecurity and injustice. There was specific support for the promotion of a framework that highlights the concept of “human security,” to ensure a “freedom from want”, a “freedom from fear,” and a life of dignity for all.

We agree that:

• The post-2015 development framework should be people-centered, leaving no one behind and should aim to complete the unfinished business of the MDGs.

• A goal on peace should not only address negative peace (eliminating weapons and preventing widespread sexual violence), while important, but encourage, and foster a move towards building positive peace and go beyond the absence of violence to strengthening a stable and peaceful environment that supports and enables sustainable development.

• Targets should tackle structural and underlying drivers of conflict versus solely addressing the symptoms of insecurity and violence.

• Violence is universal and therefore should be tackled universally. Instability in one country can create further instability in neighboring countries, and indeed regions. Addressing the drivers of refugee and IDP flows, the transfer of illicit arms, and the existence of corruption is vital to ensuring a comprehensive developmental agenda.

• Creating peaceful societies is the responsibility of not only the nation itself, but of the international community as a whole and therefore targets should address internal (state fragility, stress on natural resources) and external shocks and stresses (organized crime).

• Preventing violence and halting conflict cannot be achieved through a one-size fits all approach and the agenda should not provide context specific approaches

• The agenda should aim to galvanize national ownership, with a degree of flexibility, to allow each goal a level of adaptability to respond to the unique challenges of each situation.

We support the work of the Open Working Group (OWG) of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) in recognizing the importance of peaceful and nonviolent societies in order to achieve economic, social and environmental development. While we agree with the inclusion of peace and security in the OWG’s chapeau of the Zero Draft we call for the further insertion of “human security” and for the chapeau to read as:

“We further reaffirm the importance of freedom, peace and security, including human security, respect for all human rights…”

We support their inclusion in the Zero Draft of Goal 16. “Achieve Peaceful and Inclusive societies, rule of law, effective and capable institutions”. We feel the movement to less measurable targets is not constructive and call for more realistic targets. We support a target/s that recognize the importance of the perception of the individual, to live a life free from fears and therefore, propose the inclusion of such a target on fear perceptions. Our recommended targets are as below:

Goal – Achieve Peaceful Societies, freedom from violence and good governance


1. By 2030, reduce by X% the number of violent deaths per 100,000 and reduce the number of people from all social groups affected, by all forms of violence.

2. By 2030, significantly reduce international stresses that drive violence and conflict, including illicit trade in arms and conflict commodities, and the violent impact of drugs and human trafficking.

3. Reduce by X% the annual production of small arms and light weapons

4. By 2030, there is an increase in the capacity of sub-national and local governments fostering peaceful societies.

5. By 2030, there is an increase in the capacity and access to non-violent, peaceful, inclusive and constructive mechanisms to mediate and reconcile tensions, grievances and disputes within society.

6. By 2030, there is an increase by X% of people from all social groups feeling safer and having more confidence and trust in the security forces, the police, and other legitimate security provisions.

7. By 2020 increase the distribution of information and education on a culture of non-violence and peace by X.

8. By 2030, ensure an increase of legal empowerment and effective remedies to injustice in all social groups with access to, and trust in, effective, accountable and impartial justice provision.

9. Ensure, by 2030, that there is an increase amongst all social groups to enjoying legal identity, freedom of speech, expression and association, peaceful protest, civic engagement, and accessing to independent information.

10. Monitor and gradually reduce perceptions of fear by all social groups.

11. By 2030, there is an increase in access, participation, and representation in decision-making processes at all levels with particular attention to women and children, young people, the poor, the most marginalized and people in vulnerable situations.

12. Reduce by X% bribery and corruption and ensure that all those involved, at a local, national, regional, and international are held accountable.

13. By 2030, there is an increase to the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of public institutions at all levels, and ensure that both public and private institutions are responsive and accountable to citizens.

We urge all Member States and civil society organizations that support a standalone goal on peace, and the inclusion of further peace and security language throughout the agenda, to collaborate and form a consensus of what a goal on ”Peaceful Societies” could look like. Furthermore, we urge Member States supportive of a standalone goal to address the concerns of those who are hesitant of its inclusion, in a bid to promote a consensus around something of fundamental importance to the work of the United Nations. The post-2015 development agenda must be comprehensive, inclusive, and multidimensional if it is to truly leave no-one behind. In tandem, the agenda must focus on building, strengthening, and fostering stable, vibrant and peaceful societies if development throughout the world is truly to thrive.


World Federation of United Nations Associations

Indian Federation of United Nations Associations

United Nations Association of Armenia

United Nations Association of Rwanda

United Nations Association of South Africa

United Nations Association of Uganda

United Nations Association of Venezuela


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