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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. We are currently experiencing an unprecedented increase in the number of conflicts and humanitarian crises. In 2018, the number of active, violent conflicts around the world totalled 52 in 36 countries – 20 more than in 2012. 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, there are currently almost 80 million people who have been forced to flee their homes – almost 9 million more than a year ago and almost 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 2019. 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.

Because the number of crises and conflicts has increased significantly in recent years, KfW now implements measures in more and more fragile contexts. The volume now makes up over a third of the current KfW portfolio. In 2019, commitments totalled EUR 2.3 billion, and KfW measures reached more than 6.2 million refugees, internally displaced people and residents of host communities, thereby contributing to the alleviation of great hardship and also the creation of real prospects for the future.

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

„People must be heard“

Stephan Opitz, Member of the Management Committee of KfW Development Bank, on the topic of SDG 16 “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions”

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