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SDG 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions

Promoting peace for sustainable development

Sustainable development in the context of the 2030 Agenda is only possible where peace prevails. Vice versa, inclusive and sustainable development is an effective means against war and violence. People must be able to be free of fear and all forms of violence. And they must be protected by a stable legal system. Only then can their lives be considered humane and only then can they reach their full potential and drive forward development.

In many regions, however, the reality is quite different. In recent years, the world has seen a dramatic increase in violent unrest – whether in the form of protests in Hong Kong and Chile, geopolitical competition in Syria and Lebanon, insurgencies in Somalia and Afghanistan, or a drug war in Mexico. The number of countries in which statehood failed also increased accordingly: these are classed as fragile. According to information from the OECD, there are currently more fragile states than at any other time in the past 30 years. If the current trend continues, the OECD forecasts that in 2030, around 80% of the poorest countries in the world will live in fragile circumstances – with grave consequences not only for the countries themselves, but also the international system as a whole.

At the same time, and partly as a result, the number of refugees also increased to a record high: according to the UNHCR, more than 82 million people were displaced in 2020, about twice as many as 10 years ago. At no time since the Second World War has the UNHCR registered more people on the run than in 2020. This situation has been compounded by the coronavirus crisis: refugees are especially vulnerable to the virus, as the camps and cramped living quarters they occupy mean that distancing and hygiene rules cannot be observed. This makes their situation even more difficult.

Precisely because the situation has worsened as a whole globally in recent years, it is now more important than ever to prevent conflicts from escalating to violence, to tackle the structural causes of conflicts and to reduce their effects, and to establish good government structures and legitimate constitutional institutions. KfW Development Bank works towards these aims in a variety of different ways.

As the number of crises and conflicts has increased significantly in recent years, KfW is implementing more and more projects in a fragile context – a good fifth of total commitments in 2020 went to this area. Around EUR 1.52 billion was committed to refugee-related projects. 8.2 million refugees, internally displaced people, returnees and residents of host communities will benefit directly from this. With over EUR 6.8 billion in commitments in 2020 to achieve SDG 16, KfW is helping to alleviate hardship and create functioning framework conditions for sustainable development.

SDG 16 on the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) website (German only)

Hub of migration routes from West Africa to Europe

Kerstin Laabs has been Office Director for KfW Development Bank in Niger for two years and knows the situation on the ground well.

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Perspectives for Lebanon's youth

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KfW's contribution to SDG 16

  • People sitting in a PC lab

    Strong institutions

    Supporting reforms in Tunisia

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  • Children washing their hands

    Peaceful coexistence

    Less distribution conflicts through improved water supply in East Africa

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  • Young boy with his new masks

    Ten years civil war in Syria

    Basic services provided by the Syria Recovery Trust Fund

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  • documents

    Development Research

    Crisis prevention: where can international development cooperation achieve an impact?

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Peace, fragility and forced displacement

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Making societies fairer, more peaceful and more inclusive

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