Blog: Amplify

17 Days, 17 Goals: Goal 16 - Peace & Justice

Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

- Promote just, peaceful, and inclusive societies -

Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

This post is part of our blog series: 17 Days, 17 Goals. The blog series features foundations working on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals leading up to the first anniversary of the SDGs. The Council on Foundations Sustainable Development Goals & Philanthropy initiative is in partnership with the United Nations Foundation and SDG Philanthropy Platform. Find us on social media with #PhilSDGs.

Why do we need Goal 16?

  • Among the institutions most affected by corruption are the judiciary and police
  • Corruption, bribery, theft, and tax evasion cost some $1.26 trillion for developing countries per year - this money could be used to lift those living on less than $1.25 a day above that benchmark for at least 6 years
  • The rule of law and development are interrelated and mutually reinforcing
  • Instances of militarization and brutality from some police forces in the US have ignited protests and riots across the country in recent years
  • In 2015, the US Dept. of Justice found that the Ferguson, MO police department was engaging in racist police practices, and similar practices raise concern in other cities across the US

What are some of the targets?

  • Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everyone
  • End abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms violence against and torture of children
  • Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all
  • Provide legal identity for all, including birth registration
  • Develop effective, accountable, and transparent institutions at all levels
  • Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms
  • Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development

Featured: Annie E. Casey Foundation 

Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions is a wide-ranging, but extremely important goal. There are systemic challenges in institutions around the world, which drastically transform the lives of citizens. While in the US corruption is less widespread than other countries, institutional challenges present themselves in other ways. For example, over the past few years, concern has risen over police aggression and violence toward Black Americans. The US also has one of the highest per capita rates of incarcerated persons in the world.

In the United States, the US Justice Department has engaged civil society around utilizing Goal 16 to help guide and frame it's domestic programs. At the launch of the SDGs in New York City in September 2015, President Obama released a presidential memorandum to establish the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable, bringing together representatives from more than 16 federal agencies to increase the availability of meaningful access to justice for individuals and families, regardless of wealth or status and develop policy recommendations that improve access to justice in Federal, State, local, tribal, and international jurisdictions. 

Annie E. Casey Foundation

Annie E. Casey Foundation's mission to help youth across the US involves addressing the real problems in the institutions that serve them. The Foundation’s juvenile justice reform agenda is designed to improve the odds that at-risk youth can make successful transitions to adulthood, working to create a system that locks up fewer youth and relies more on proven, family-focused interventions that create opportunities for positive youth development. The foundation works towards key targets within Goal 16, including the need for transparent, effective, and accountable government institutions. 

For example, the foundation's Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative has successfully created a framework for institutional reform for justice systems in 40 states in the US. When the Foundation launched JDAI as a pilot project in the early 1990s, overreliance on detention was widespread and growing nationwide. By using data-driven techniques to lessen and shorten juvenile detention, today the foundation has reduced the average daily juvenile detention population in active jurisdictions by 44%.

Annie E. Casey regularly publishes learning and research  to help inform other funders about how best to address the complex challenges of juvenile justice reform. For example, in 1992, Ohio began investing in five deincarceration strategies to keep kids out of youth prisons. Over the next 23 years, Ohio cut its admissions to youth prisons by 80% — from more than 2,500 youth to less than 500 youth today. A report published in 2015 reviews strategies central to Ohio’s success and makes recommendations to states engaging in similar efforts. Another guide highlights a wide range of best practices – everything from big picture improvements to frontline fixes – that juvenile justice facilities can implement to advance the safety and well-being of a particularly vulnerable population: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.  

Please read more about the amazing work of our member: 

Annie E. Casey Foundation


Resources & Information

  1. United Nations
  2. Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Civil Rights Division

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