14 August 2018

#SDGsinAcademia: Goal 16

As part of the ongoing campaign on the Sustainable Development Goals carried out by the United Nations, United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) is presenting a weekly series of articles on #SDGSinAcademia that highlights the importance of higher education in achieving the Goals. Featuring additional sources for use by faculty and students alike, this series is intended to inspire action on the SDGs and showcase activities and initiatives of UNAI member institutions.


14 August 2018 - This week we are featuring in our #SDGsinAcademia series Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels


  • 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

What are UNAI member institutions doing about Goal 16? Here are some examples:

The University of Manitoba (Canada) hosts the Arthur V. Mauro Centre at St. Paul's College, dedicated to the advancement of human rights, peace and social justice, conflict resolution and global citizenship through research, education, and outreach. It is also the home to the University of Manitoba’s Ph.D. program in Peace and Conflict Studies. The Centre's emphasis has been the cultural, religious and philosophical dimensions of peace as well as social, economic and environmental justice, peace education, human rights, and the role of international organizations and standards in the quest for peace and justice. 

The Universidad Autónoma de Centro America (Costa Rica) organized the lecture Without a Shot, Costa Rica and the Way of Disarmament given by the former President of the Republic of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Oscar Arias Sánchez. In his remarks, he pointed out: "Nuclear wars kill many people at the same time, but other weapons kill many people, little by little, every day, in all parts of the world". He highlighted the fact that Costa Rica had become the first country to declare peace with the world through the dissolution of its permanent army in favor of investment in education, health and the environment.

The University of Uberlandia (Brazil) has a Human Rights and Global Justice Lab wich promotes research on human rights issues and aims to prepare students, researchers, professionals and activists with the necessary skills to understand how to respect and protect human rights. For these reasons, the Lab and its two study groups on the study of International Human Rights Law and the institutional aspects of the protection and promotion of human rights, organizes several activities, including a colloquium on Human Rights and Global Justice, to discuss the actual implementation of national and international human rights norms.

De Montfort University (United Kingdom) has committed to creating a support programme especifically designed for refugees and asylum seekers under the umbrella of #DMUlocal. The #DMUlocal Refugee Support Programme offers a wide range of activities, from mentoring young refugees into further education through to providing skill development sessions based from various partner charities located across the city of Leicester. The institution has actively promoted the respect, safety and dignity of refugees and migrants while emphasizing the benefits of migration and diversity.

The Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore - Transcrime(Italy) developed the programme entitled FIRE - Fighting Illicit Firearms Trafficking Routes and Actors at Europeal Level, aimed to provide recommendations to counteract and prevent this trafficking, by analizing the regulatory framework, the supply and demand of these firearms, the actors involved, the routes used to smuggle the arms and the online exchange market. The institutions also offers the course Complex Criminal Phenomena, which covers crimes that, as for dimensions, costs, type of threat and modus operandi, have a transnational relevance, and explains the key role of international cooperation in fighting them.

The University of Macedonia (Greece) organized the conference Human rights and the issue of migrant – refugee crisis in Greece, in collaboration with the local branch of the Pan-Hellenic Association of Legal and Political Sciences. The event was focused on the ongoing migrant and refugee crisis in Greece and attempted to present the most important aspects of it under the human rights lens. Faculty of this institution has also produced articles on these topics in local media outlets and academic journals, like an article entitled The Refugee crisis: Is this the Europe we aspire to? written by Professor Ilias Kouskouvelis.

International University MITSO (Belarus) organized together with the Belarusian Red Cross Society and the National Center of Legal Information of the Republic of Belarus a set of events to address the current trends and challenges of the fight against international terrorism. Namely, it hosted an essay contest on the topic 1000 words AGAINST Terrorism, with the participation of dozens of university students of different disciplines. The results of all events combined were merged into a book that was published, containing articles written by the essay competitions’ winners and other participants.

The University of Makeni (Sierra Leone) together with its partners organized a civic education programme throughout the country in order to consolidate the democratic system: voter education, monitoring of elections and reconciliation. Furthermore, students of the Law School have worked on providing access to justice through representation in courts and also women empowerment programmes with a specialized Law Clinic. The institution has also engaged in outreach for training primary and secondary school teachers in the communities in the north of the country, on justice issues.

The University of Pretoria (South Africa) hosts the Centre for Human Rights, that works for human rights education in Africa, a greater awareness of human rights, the wide dissemination of publications on human rights, and the improvement of the rights of disadvantaged or marginalised persons and groups. Aside from the development of a massive open online course on freedom of expression, access to information and the safety of journalists, the Master in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa, brings together graduates from various countries in collaboration with 13 partner universities.

Mofid University (Iran) through its Centre for Human Rights Studies, which coordinates and organizes different academic activities in the field of human rights, has actively promoted a research project entitled Freedom of Religion in Quran and Traditions, Limits and Challenges, aimed to answer these questions: Is it allowable in Islam to use coercive interference in human's thoughts?; What are the conceptions and examples of freedom of religion?; and, What are the reasons for religious freedom from the perspective of the Quran and Sunnah?. The project is undergoing and it will be will be finished by the end of 2020. 

Here you can take a look to a selection of the Activity Reports submitted by UNAI member institutions.


The following resources can help improving your knowledge and understanding about Goal 16 in particular and also about the SDGs in general:

  • This is a comprehensive research guide made by the United Nations Library in Geneva listing resources about the SDGs in general and about each one of the Goals, including books and articles (some of which are fully available on line free of charge), UN documents such as resolutions and reports and additional resources.
  • The SDG Fund has created this online library featuring over 1,000 online publications. The publications are categorized by the Goals they represent, by geographical regions they relate to and by authors, to facilitate easy searchability. Each publication also has a short summary attached to it which helps with keyword searches.
  • This is an initiative supported by UNDP, UN-HABITAT and the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, which offers a selection of tools such as concept notes, papers, case studies, compilation of best practices and guides providing contextual and practical information about the SDGs.
  • This is a guide entitled Getting Started with the Sustainable Development Goals intended for stakeholders and designed by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to serve as an initial basis for implementing the SDGs.
  • This guide entitled Getting Started with the SDGs in Universities was also developed by the SDSN to help universities, higher education institutions and the academic sector in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific to accelerate their contributions to the SDGs highlighting the important role universities have in implementing the SDGs through their teaching, research, operations and leadership, and providing practical guidance and examples to inspire further action.
  • This guide entitled Sustainable Development Goals - Human Response Alignments features the human element of change and the human response corresponding to each of the SDGs in order to quicken the global conversation about vital issues and to encourage the movement that supports the vision of the SDGs.

Sustainable Development Goals Explained: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Sustainable Development Goals Explained: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
United Nations - Patrick Keuleers, UNDP’s Chief of Profession in Governance and Peacebuilding, talks about what makes a society peaceful, just and inclusive, and how you can make a difference as a citizen to achieve this goal.