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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 development forward.

The war in Ukraine is showing us in Europe directly what has for years been reality in many other areas of the world. The number of violent conflicts has risen dramatically. The people in Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen are still not at peace. But even beyond active conflicts, global fragility is exacerbated by economic crises, climate crisis, political polarisation and growing inequality. The number of countries whose statehood has broken down has also increased: they are considered fragile. According to information from the OECD, there are currently more fragile states than at any other time in the past 30 years. Almost a quarter (24%) of the world’s population lives in fragile contexts, and for the most part in extreme poverty too. If the current trend continues, the OECD forecasts that by 2030 around 86% of the world’s poorest people will live in fragile circumstances – with grave consequences not only for those people themselves, but also the international system as a whole.

At the same time, and partly as a result of this, the number of refugees and displaced persons rose to a new record high. At no time since World War II has UNHCR registered more refugees than in 2022: more than 108 million forcibly displaced people, including more than 6 million international refugees from Ukraine and 7 million internally displaced persons within the country. This means that almost a quarter of the population there has left their hometown. The speed at which a such a large number of people are being forcibly displaced is unprecedented in Europe’s recent history.

And the global drivers of fragility continue to evolve: Crops are becoming scarce, as Ukraine is largely absent as a growing and exporting country and grain exports from Russia are also restricted. In addition, the number of climate-related disasters is increasing, with a greater impact on vulnerable populations in the Global South. For example, the Horn of Africa region is currently experiencing the worst drought in four decades. Hunger and hardship – not least in many African countries – are already intensifying and will displace even more people as well as escalate already existing conflicts more quickly.

Precisely because the situation has worsened globally, it is now more important than ever to address the structural causes of fragility and conflict at an early stage, to prevent violent escalation, to mitigate its negative effects, and to promote good government structures and legitimate constitutional institutions. KfW Development Bank has been working towards these aims in a variety of different ways for a long time.

Since the number of crises and conflicts has increased significantly in recent years, KfW implements more and more projects in fragile contexts. In 2022, almost one third of the current portfolio was implemented in the area of peace, fragility and forced displacement (EUR 20.4 billion). Around EUR 1.2 billion was committed for projects related to refugees. With around EUR 592 million in commitments in 2022, KfW is specifically supporting the achievement of SDG 16. Furthermore, KfW is implementing new projects worth more than EUR 1,8 billion with peace and security as a declared main or secondary goal. In this way, KfW is helping to alleviate hardship and create functioning general conditions for sustainable development.

Commitments doubled compared to the pre-war period

The war against Ukraine continues. On 24 February 2023, KfW conducted an interview with the then KfW Office Manager Kurt Strasser about support for Ukraine.

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New start for Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip

There is a housing shortage in Gaza - many families have no home in which children can grow up healthily, and there is often neither water nor electricity. KfW and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees UNRWA have developed a needs-based and participatory approach to counter the housing crisis.

New life | Al-Qastal Rehousing Project in Deir El–Balah refugee camp in Gaza

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KfW's contribution to SDG 16

  • Lima

    Strong institutions

    Better community relations in Peru

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  • Children washing their hands

    Peaceful coexistence

    Less distribution conflicts through improved water supply in East Africa

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  • Destruction in Hatay

    Emergency aid

    Aid for earthquake victims in Türkiye and Syria

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  • documents

    Development Research

    The humanitarian-development-peace (HDP) nexus: challenges in implementation

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