Peace, justice and strong institutions essential for sustainable development in Africa

Marrakesh, Morocco, April 18, 2019 (ECA) - Without peace, stability, human rights, and effective governance based on the rule of law, Africa cannot hope to attain the sustainable development goals, says Economic Commission for Africa’s Eunice Ajambo.

Speaking in a parallel meeting at the on-going fifth Africa Regional Forum for Sustainable Development (ARFSD) in Marrakesh, Ms. Ajambo, an Economic Affairs Officer in the ECA’s Macroeconomics and Governance Division, said Africa was making progress in trying to address issues connected to Goal 16 of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development but more still needs to be done.

SDG 16 is about promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

“Some countries are doing much better than others. Others enjoy sustained peace, security and prosperity, while others are struggling,” she told participants to the parallel meeting for in-depth review, peer learning and dialogue on the sub-theme of ensuring peace, justice, and strong institutions.

“As the basis of all activity, peaceful, just and inclusive societies are necessary to achieve the goals.”

Here’s a summary and key messages from the meeting:

- Sustainable Development Goal 16 is inextricably linked to the attainment of the other SDGs. Overall, governance in Africa remains on an upward trajectory. Improvements are being made regarding the rule of law, participation, rights, and transparency and accountability.

- Notwithstanding, challenges and gaps remain in ensuring peace, justice and strong institutions. Insecurity, social strife, political tension and riots continue to plague the continent. All types of crime, including organized crime, is a challenge, in particular in the large African economies. While participation has improved, driven by democratic elections, it is happening alongside a shrinking civil society space, worsening trends related to freedom of association and assembly, civil rights and liberties, and freedom of expression.

Corruption continues to weaken good governance and the compounding principles of inclusion, participation, ownership, fairness, efficiency and effectiveness. Illicit financial flows continue to be a challenge; significant amounts of financial resources are being lost annually from the continent through such flows and other forms of corrupt activities.

Key messages

- Political leadership and stakeholder participation remains paramount. Good political leadership and effective multi-stakeholder engagement are crucial for ownership, commitment, galvanizing support, mobilizing resources and ensuring accountability pertaining to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.

- Mobilization of adequate and context-specific means of implementation is essential. Although external financial resources are required to implement the 2030 Agenda, Africa must also take active responsibility for its own development. Measures must be vigorously taken to enhance domestic resource mobilization and curb illicit financial flows, attract foreign direct investment and create effective financing structures, including through natural resources management and climate governance. Development partners should complement domestic efforts aimed at capacity and technology development through effective international cooperation programmes.

- Stronger efforts are needed to encourage good governance, transparent and accountable leadership, effective institutions and responsive and effective global partnerships. In this regard, appropriate and results-oriented human and institutional capacity-development strategies and programmes are needed, that include vulnerable and marginalized populations, including youth, women, people living with HIV. Civil society organizations also need to be involved and through the application of human rights based approaches that address poverty, unemployment, among other social challenges

- Deeper and stronger dialogue and collaboration among all stakeholders, including global, regional, and national institutions, including the APRM and National Human Rights Institutions, is required to promote development and apply appropriate monitoring and evaluation frameworks for the targets and indicators of Sustainable Development Goal 16. Such a framework should entail the development of databases that include non-traditional in data collection, including the judiciary and the police, to facilitate analysis, performance tracking and the provision of technical support to countries, and the integration of Goal 16 into national development plans.

- Stronger efforts are needed to establish or strengthen National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in compliance with the Paris Principles in order to ensure accountability, rule of law and access to justice in the context of SDG implementation. 

- Solidarity of African States in the field of security, to limit the consequences of transboundary crises should be strengthened, including advocacy at the international level for security finance in Africa.

Issued by:

Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826