Glancing at the fact that only 9 years are left to 2030, and realizing how much more is yet to be done to accomplish this agenda, this certainly gives a sense of dereliction. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the SDGs are designed to end poverty, hunger, AIDS, and discrimination against women and girls. Clearly a lot has been accomplished, and not just by the UN but by many nations, organizations and individuals in order to contribute to these goals. However, the questions remain, is what has been done enough?
Let us look at SDG 16 i.e.; Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. According to the UNDP, the goal is to attain peace, stability, human rights and effective governance, based on the rule of law. There are a number of regions that are in endless cycles of conflict and violence. A current scenario would be the Afghanistan region. Previously, before the current takeover of the Taliban, the UN had achieved a great deal of humanitarian work under the Afghan government, including; women’s human rights e.g. the right to work. With the Taliban back in power, all that work might’ve just been in vain. Which brings us to question whether certain goals can be achieved by placing a form of deadline to it.
Another current scenario is the situation in Mali. With regard to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), i.e. the Peacekeeping Forces which are employed to maintain or re-establish peace in an area of armed conflict. According to the BBC News Africa (1 May 2021), these forces are categorized to be in the most dangerous peacekeeping mission, due to the fact that more than a hundred of them have been attacked and killed in bombings. This certainly should not be the case since they are “Peace Keepers” and the situation has been ongoing for almost ten years now. So, when it comes to peace, justice and strong institutions, the goal should not be boxed in a time frame for such things can be quite dubious.
On a positive note, the UN is one of the major contributors to world peace and the support they have from many nations is incredible. If it weren’t for their intervention, so many lives would have remained the same or even spiraled to worse. Even though the 2030 agenda might seem imminent, that should not disregard what has been achieved so far and what could yet be achieved albeit after 2030.
By Josephine Mwateuvi