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Sustainable development imperative to ensure peace

13 February 2017


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The director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has called upon the world to continue implementing SDGs to combat violence, and on her own organisation to look at he big picture to find ways to foster peace.

The director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has called upon the world to continue implementing SDGs to combat violence, and on her own organisation to look at he big picture to find ways to foster peace.   

“Is the UN fit to deal with new challenges as they emerge? Institutions must be continuously refreshed,” Helen Clark said, pointing out that this question has led to a debate in the UN on how to sustain peace.  

During the first panel of Day Two of the 2017 World Government Summit, Clark continued: "We need big picture thinking here; the sustained development process can help to address high levels of poverty, inequality and the absence of the rule of law. Governments need to be more inclusive. This can’t be addressed overnight but needs to be tackled to get peace, the SDGs can address this."

Clark alerted to the seriousness of a spike in deadly conflict numbers since 2011, and the ongoing waves of violent terrorism.

“The UN doesn’t find it easy to deal with these conflicts, peacekeeper numbers are often inadequate these days, or not equipped to act, or don’t have the mandate to stem violence,” she remarked.

“Given that promoting peace and security is at the core of the UN mission it is important to address what drives the current spike of conflicts,” she added, adding that member states should not wait for the UN to reform its security charter to address root causes of violence.

“There can’t be sustainable development without peace and vice versa,” she emphasised.

Indeed, the magnitude of shared problems affecting everyone, including assaults on human rights, called for global invigoration of all institutions involved in development,

Although optimistic that global governance was taking the SDGs actionable agenda to heart on climate change, urbanisation and addressing the world’s refugee crisis effectively, she mentioned trade agreements, which still haven’t seen the light of the day since 2001, affecting smaller economies negatively.

“This gap today in trade rules coverage definitely needs urgent attention,” Clark urged.