Sustainable Development Goal 16

Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

Sustainable development is impossible without peace and justice. The interconnected impacts of violence, conflict, and crime divert trillions of dollars each year away from development efforts, and deny billions of people their full human rights. Peacekeeping, the rule of law, and judicial systems must be reinforced to protect the most vulnerable populations from all forms of violence, human trafficking, and exploitation.

UNU’s research on the changing nature of global violence provides insights into how humanitarian, development, and security actors need to adapt to reduce violence and its impact on society in the context of organised crime, terrorism, criminal violence, and rapid urbanisation. Our work on the drivers and impacts of migration is helping policymakers target weak legal protections for migrants and their families, and ensure their safety, dignity, and economic prosperity.

UN Photo / Sylvain Liechti


Adam Day

Adam Day


“Over the last decade, conflicts have increasingly become more intractable and less conducive to long-term stability. Policy-relevant research on the UN's role in peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and global security are therefore more essential than ever to ensure that UN interventions are the most effective and efficient as possible.”

Nidhi Nagabhatla


“The vision of 'water justice' can benefit from managing SDG 6 and SDG 16 in tandem. It remains crucial that peace and political stability, particularly in settings related to food, water, and energy-related crises and conflicts, are examined with a holistic perspective that embraces access, inclusion, and equity, and supports accountable institutions and integrated policies.”

Rebecca Brubaker


“Broadening and strengthening participation in multilateral institutions is essential for promoting international cooperation and peace. By undertaking policy research on sanctions and mediation, and advancing innovative levers within the UN system to support SDG 16, I am passionate about contributing to the 2030 agenda.”


UN Sanctions and Mediation

Mediation and UN sanctions are two essential policy instruments used by the UN in its efforts to prevent and resolve conflict. This project aims to move policy into practice and to continue to bridge the gap between the sanctions and mediation communities through awareness raising, support and training.

Managing Exits from Armed Conflict

Managing Exits from Armed Conflict is a multi-year, multi-stakeholder collaboration to develop a unified, rigorous approach to examining how and why individuals exit armed conflict and evaluating the efficacy of interventions meant to help support their transition to civilian life.

Inequality and Governance in Unstable Democracies

This project focuses on three countries — Colombia, Mozambique, and Pakistan — where democratic institutions have faced considerable challenges, including violence. The project is developing new theory and collecting new comparative data to better understand how inequalities and trust have evolved to shape today's governance outcomes.