SDG 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Za’atari refugee camp, Jordan, 2015 Photo: UN Women/Christopher Herwig
Photo: UN Women/Christopher Herwig


  • Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere.
  • End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of 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.
  • By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime.
  • Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms.
  • Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.
  • Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.
  • Broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance.
  • By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration.
  • Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.
  • Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime.
  • Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development.
SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

All women need to be able to turn to fair, effective institutions to access justice and essential services. Without these, instability and injustice spread, and discrimination is perpetuated. In both developing and developed countries, however, a variety of institutions continue to fail women and girls, especially through impunity for gender-based violence.

1 in 2 female homicide victims in 2012 died at the hands of a partner or family member.

This denies the reality that almost half of all women victims of intentional homicide in 2012 died at the hands of an intimate partner or family member.

Where conflict strikes, men are more likely to die on battlefields, but a disproportionate share of women will be targeted for sexual violence, among other violations, and homicide rates among women typically rise. Even though the gender dimensions of conflict are increasingly well documented, along with women’s wide-ranging contributions to peace processes, women remain poorly represented in formal mechanisms for negotiating and sustaining peace.

More broadly, whether in global, regional or national governance, women tend to be underrepresented in the governance of institutions. This is discriminatory, but it also entrenches gender disparities, during times of war and peace, as women’s voices go unheard in decision-making.

UN Women advances peace and inclusion by backing the engagement of women in all aspects of peace processes. In all country contexts, we support women to lead, participate in and benefit equally from governance systems. Programmes assist with the gender-responsive reform of justice and security institutions, the introduction and implementation of laws against violence against women, and the provision of public services that fully meet women’s needs.


Khadeja Ramali. Photo courtesy of Khadeja Ramali.

From where I stand: “Women are the leaders of today”
For Khadeja Ramali from Libya, empowering young women to participate in the peacebuilding process is crucial to rebuilding the country post Arab Spring. She co-founded an initiative focused on increasing the participation of women in peacebuilding, as a response to the growing frustration of young women who felt they were not being heard in post-conflict Lybia. 

“The Sepur Zarco Grandmothers” wait for a verdict during the trial of  former military officers for crimes against humanity on counts of rape, murder and slavery in Guatemala’s High-Risk Court. Photo: Cristina Chinquin

Sepur Zarco: In pursuit of truth, justice, and now reparations
Thirty-four years after the rape and slavery of indigenous Q’eqchi’ women of Sepur Zarco, a Guatemalan court convicted former military officers of crimes against humanity. It was the first time that a national court anywhere in the world had ruled on charges of sexual slavery during an armed conflict. The court also ruled to grant reparations to the survivors and their communities. 

Polli Shomaj Women  in Teknaf Sadar. Photo: UN Women/Snigdha Zaman

Women in Bangladesh bolster efforts to turn the tide on rising extremism
As community leaders, professionals, and as mothers, wives, sisters and daughters in family settings, women shape the values of their community members. A UN Women programme in Bangladesh and Indonesia is empowering women economically and facilitating their access to decision-making to promote social cohesion within communities.



UN Women (2018), Turning promises into action: Gender equality in the 2030 Agenda.