Peaceful, just and inclusive societies are critical to ensuring that no one is left behind

Farmers gathered and discussing in a banana plantation
In Burundi, land rights and access to title are a source of conflict and violence. © SDC

If we want to create a better world, promoting peaceful, just and inclusive societies is crucial to reaching the most vulnerable and ensuring that no one is left behind. However, the success of the Agenda for Sustainable Development requires us to directly address the root causes of fragility, conflict and human rights. We must also invest in more effective and smarter aid.

In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the world’s leaders expressed their determination to ‘foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence’. They set ambitious targets under Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16) for reducing violence in all countries, ensuring access to justice for all and building effective, transparent and inclusive institutions.

16+: a wider approach to promoting peaceful, just and inclusive societies

Recognising the interconnected nature of the goals and targets that make up the 2030 Agenda, Switzerland has now adopted a wider approach that facilitates coordinated responses based not only on SDG 16 but also on other targets dedicated to reducing poverty and to education, gender equality, inclusive growth, employment, reducing inequality and developing sustainable cities. Together, these targets make up the ‘16+ approach’ espoused by Switzerland.

Thus, by placing the 16+ approach at the centre of its new humanitarian aid and poverty reduction programmes, Switzerland is able to promote peaceful, just and inclusive societies. This means helping them escape the fragility trap and strengthening the enjoyment of human rights by their citizens. These efforts help ensure that no one is left behind by reaching those most at risk.

An approach adapted to complexity in order to reduce fragility and strengthen resilience

The 16+ approach provides a comprehensive frame of reference while remaining open. 16+ enables Switzerland to fashion multiple, diverse elements into strong development narratives, break down silos and make full use of all the international cooperation instruments at its disposal.

To this end, Switzerland joined forces with several other countries, international and non-governmental organisations in launching the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, an initiative designed to accelerate delivery of SDG 16 and the 16+ targets for ensuring long-term impacts that create a sustainable future.

Promoting peaceful societies

Switzerland is committed to preventing violence and violent extremism, reforming the security sector and establishing good security sector governance, as well as campaigning against anti-personnel mines.

Promoting just societies

Switzerland helps build just societies specifically by working to promote human rights, the rule of law and education.

Promoting inclusive societies

Switzerland works to establish inclusive societies by ensuring the coherence of its actions, especially in relation to the intersections between religion and development, the closing space for civil society and the latter’s weakened participation in decision-making.