Peace Makes the Cut in Revolutionary New UN Framework

These 5 P’s form the basis for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the revolutionary new framework that the United Nations has established to govern global development until 2030. The SDGs will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that expire at the end of the year. While the language is still being finalized, the 17 goals set forth in the SDGs represent a bold approach to development that includes peace and sustainability as central pillars in the fight to end global poverty and want.

The SDGs highlight  “universal goals and targets to guide sustainable development and poverty reduction over the next 15 years” (Wheeler, 2015). The new global goals continue to strengthen the core mission of alleviating poverty, but they also tackle the deeper issues — such as conflict and inequality — that prevent effective development worldwide.

Global Goals for Sustainable Development; UN Foundation; globalgoals.org

Global Goals for Sustainable Development; UN Foundation; globalgoals.org

We should all celebrate the central role that PEACE plays in the new agenda — with the recognition that sustainable development cannot take hold in the midst of violent conflict, or in societies without legitimate governance. The powerful language about peace in the preamble to the SDGs, along with the inclusion of Goal 16 on “peaceful and inclusive societies,” illustrate the undeniable link between conflict and development, recognizing that protracted conflict prevented the achievement of the MDGs in many countries. An important element to remember is the universal nature of the SDGs: they apply to the US and other wealthy nations just as much as they do to the developing world.

The inclusion of peace was not in any way a foregone conclusion. AfP and its partners, especially SaferWorld, World Vision, International Alert, Quaker UN Office, and American Friends Service Committee, played a significant role in the formation of the SDGs, working with the UN and a range of governments (including our own), specifically advocating for the inclusion of peace. Additionally, in conjunction with other organizations under the umbrella of theCivil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS), AfP helped demonstrate the links between peacebuilding and development in fragile states, and how those linkages could apply universally during an especially turbulent time in the world.

Now that all 193 UN members have embraced the bold vision of the SDGs, the challenge remains for governments, organizations, and individuals to implement and evaluate these global goals. Much work remains to be done regarding the finalization of the indicators, how to monitor and evaluate the results, and the follow-up and review process after 2030. “Taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national priorities,” each country must decide how these goals and indicators will be manifested in their country-specific context. The US government alone has convened 14 different working groups to compile the indicators. Continued work by AfP and its partners will be a key component to the realization of these goals.

From here, the UN General Assembly will officially adopt the new goals during the summit in New York from September 25-27, 2015. This is a historical achievement that will shape development far beyond the 2030 deadline.

Melanie Greenberg is the President & CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, a global membership association of nearly 100 peacebuilding organizations, 1,000 professionals, and a network of more than 15,000 people developing processes for change in the most complex, chaotic conflict environments in the US and around the world.  This article was originally published by the Alliance for Peacebuilding.