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SDG Indicator Framework & Comments on the UNSC Report

Updated: Jan 16, 2022

By Klaus Lehn Christiansen (December, 2015)

Nonviolence International’s main area of expertise is centered on SDG Goal 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. Our point of departure is the fact that violence and armed conflict is a major impediment to development. Peace is a prerequisite for the success of the SDGs. Consider that eradication of poverty is impossible without peace. We also now know that violent conflict and insecurity have prevented achievement of some of the MDGs. In order to truly make Goal 16 about promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, Nonviolence International in cooperation with the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace is proposing that the Program of Action (PoA) for a Culture of Peace be used as a guideline for developing indicators under Goal 16 because of it’s comprehensiveness on these issues. The GA Resolution (53/243 A) and subsequent PoA of a Culture of Peace, was adopted by consensus by the General Assembly back in September 1999. Its role as the historical link between The Vienna Declaration on Human Rights and the MDGs should be recognized. And in cooperation with the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) we would like to propose a second source of inspiration from the Program of Action (PoA) to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, which was adopted in 2001. The strength and importance of this PoA is its comprehensiveness on this issue as well as having been verified by its extensive real world application. Furthermore, it has been politically reaffirmed at the highest level with the Security Council resolution on small arms (26 September 2013), and finally in December 2014 with the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which currently has been ratified by 66 national parliaments. Our overall assessment of the survey responses from some Member States, not all, included in the Statistical Commission’s report, is that it is unnecessarily negative, not taking into account existing capacities for measuring the proposed indicators. Our message is that Goal 16 is measurable. On a global scale we already have plenty of experience of measuring these issues that we think should be included in the indicator framework. In the following, we present and support indicators already effectively in use, such as the ones applied by Global Peace Index, Small Arms Survey, SIPRI, and Saferworld. However, we still see plenty of gaps related to measuring progress on the Goal 16 Targets. We also present new indicator proposals in the following. They also include qualitative indicators based on surveys that reflect how local people on the ground feel. While recognizing the multidimensionality of policy goals, we argue that it should not imply that we should be aggregating fundamentally different things as it may produce questionable result. At this early stage of the indicator framework, we advocate that there is a need for developing additional indicators that can help decision makers, not least National Statistical Offices (NSOs), decide on a qualified, comprehensive indicator framework. To that end, we strongly encourage stakeholders to actively use the PoA for a Culture of Peace as a guideline for your work with developing Indicators.

Target 16.1 Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere:

Indicator proposals

We support the proposal by IANSA for the following indicator for this target:

- Investment in peace education leading to reduction in desire to use Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), measured as a) Money invested, and b) Number of peace education programs (quantitative, data source - IANSA)

Based on Strengthening Action No. 16 of the PoA laid out in Resolution 53/243 regarding a culture of peace, we propose three indicators already implemented in the work of the Global Peace Index:

- Level of internally organized conflict (qualitative, data source Economist Intelligence Unit) - Volume of deaths from organized conflict (international), (quantitative, data sources International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) / Armed Conflict Database (ACD)).

- Number of internal and external conflicts fought (quantitative, data source Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP))

Also based on the same Strengthening Action No. 16, we are also in support of a proposal by Saferworld for the following indicator under this target:

- Percentage of people who report that they feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where they live (qualitative, data source heads of household surveys)

Target 16.2 End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children

Indicator proposals

We support the proposal by IANSA for the following indicator for this target:

- Number of community and traditional leaders involved in the fight to end child abuse, exploitation and trafficking (quantitative, data source International Action Network on Small Arms IANSA)

Target 16.4 By 2030 significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen recovery and return of stolen assets, and combat all forms of organized crime

So far, only one indicator for target 16.4 has been proposed, and that ONLY refers to measuring illicit financial flows, NOT arms flows. Measuring illicit arms flows is critical. IANSA notes that tracking when arms trade goes from being legal to illegal is already done through the International Tracing Instrument (ITI), developed under the framework of UN’s SALW Program of Action, which is possible because this PoA also instructs that weapons be marked during production. Thus IANSA proposes the following indicators for this target based on what is already measured by the ITI.

Indicator proposals

- National implementation of the International Tracing Instrument (ITI)

- Measuring actual illicit arms flows through national reporting on ITI

- Signature, ratification and reporting on implementation of the UN Arms Trade Treaty

- Number of weapons and ammunition stockpiles (quantitative, data source Small Arms Survey / national monitoring)

We also propose the following indicators for this target already implemented by Global Peace Index:

- Ease of access to small arms and light weapons (qualitative, data source Economist Intelligence Unit)

- Volume of transfers of major conventional weapons, as recipient (imports) and supplier (exports), (quantitative, data source Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Arms Transfers Database and EIU)

Target 16.5 Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all its forms

Indicator proposal

Recalling the existence of stringent declaration of assets and accountability laws, IANSA also proposes the following indicator for this target:

- National action taken on Auditor General's Report by Parliament through Public Accounts Committee (quantitative, data source IANSA)

Target 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels Indicator proposal We support the proposal by IANSA for the following indicator for this target:

- National implementation of affirmative action laws (quantitative, data source IANSA)

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Klaus Lehn Christensen

Project Manager - Post-2015 agenda

Nonviolence International

575 Lexington Avenue

Suite 4034 New York, NY 10022

(cell) +1 917-294-1921


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