SDG 16, “Peace, justice and strong institutions”: how Millennials can help achieve a peaceful future
If you think about it, no other SDG is possible without peace. War and violence prevent everything else to happen around them, and unfortunately, at least 1/5 of humanity still lives in countries that are experiencing war, violence and political conflict. As of 2015, 65 million people have been forced to leave their homes and countries by conflict, persecution, poverty or some other life-threatening factor; all of them in search of a better future.
People had to migrate across international borders to look for a refuge, and in 2015 the number of international migrants reached 244 million worldwide, which means almost 20 million refugees. This phenomenon, however, is too big for any one State to handle on its own. Therefore, we all have to take on this responsibility and work together, in peace and harmony, to find long term solutions that will substitute the existing systems, which of course are not enough.
As scary as it is, the world is at a critical time in its history, where we are witnessing the highest level of human suffering since World War II. Every day civilians are deliberately killed in wars; therefore, it’s our duty, as humans, to prevent conflicts and find political solutions to resolve them. We, as citizens, need to treat all migrants and refugees with respect and dignity, offering them our support. And although we are not going to fight wars on our own, there are still a few things that we can do to help. For example:
- Take a genuine interest in what your government is doing and spread awareness in your community about the realities of conflict and the importance of peaceful societies.
- Through the help of schools, clubs, teams and organizations, take action in your community to promote peace and justice for all.
- Know your right. In order to access justice, knowing what you’re entitled to will go a long way. To this matter, girls can join the “International Knowledge Network of Women in Politics”, as a resource about their rights (http://iknowpolitics.org/en).
- As students, you can organize legal clinics with local lawyers to help members of society that require legal aid, especially members of marginalized and under-served communities.
- Youth related organizations, schools and universities can become members of the “United Nations Academic Impact”, where individuals can access useful information, videos and speeches (https://academicimpact.un.org/).
- You can join the SCOUTS “Messengers of Youth” project to promote peace (https://www.scouting.org/international/messengers-of-peace/).
This is how you can peacefully fight against an unjust, violent world. Don’t let it slip by and do your part in taking action towards a peaceful future! And if you are already involved in any initiative towards this SDG, please join our competition here: https://goo.gl/5LUfP2.
Cover cartoon credit: Sergio Algeri/GYV