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UNGA73 | Stand up for SDG16+

73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly: Stand up for SDG16+


United Nations Headquarters, New York

Delivered by Irene Khan, Director-General, IDLO

Let me start by saying that I am here to reaffirm that IDLO is standing up; standing up very strongly for SDG 16+. There are many here in this room, organizations and individuals, with whom we worked for the adoption of goal 16. But, for also an understanding of goal 16 as a cross-cutting powerful enabler and an outcome of the 2030 agenda. We are working globally and in the field in a number of countries with our partners to press this holistic, cross-cutting understanding of Goal 16. But rather than talking about that generally, what I want to focus on is a particular initiative that we are pressing forward because we see around the world, yes, there is a need for justice. But there is a particular justice gap when it comes to women.

First of all, because the laws themselves don’t give women the same protections and rights as men, but secondly, even where the laws do give that protection, they’re not properly implemented. And then, there are other social factors that can also exclude women from justice, and if half the world does not get justice, if half the world are not included, then you can hardly say we are achieving the 2030 agenda. I noticed that Alejandro mentioned how challenging the implementation of Goal 16 is, but imagine how much more challenging it is when you put Goal 16 and Goal 5 side by side. And yet, within that challenge lies the key to breaking and overcoming many of the obstacles there. If we can promote gender equality through justice, we can ensure justice for women, then I think we will have achieved almost all the goals of the 2030 Agenda.

So, let me tell you what we have done under the auspices of the Pathfinder’s Initiative, and together, with UN Women, the World Bank, OECD, and a number of other interested governments, a multi-stakeholder approach to it, we have established, or convened, a high-level group for justice for women. We’re not talking about access to justice because we want to look at outcomes and not just processes. Justice for women, and the purpose of this is to produce evidence-based arguments as to why there needs to be more investment to accelerate gender equality and justice for women. SDG 16, in its most powerful, cross-cutting way and build public support for it, ensure peer learning and peer sharing of experiences, and put forward this in a very concrete way. This high-level group will produce a report that we expect to take to the UN Commission on the Status of Women in March, and then to feed into the task force on access to justice that has been established under the leadership of The Netherlands, Sierra Leone and Argentina at the high-level political forum.

So, in a very concrete way, we want to make sure that SDG16+ is seen together with SDG5 as being the driving force for delivering the 2030 Agenda. And through concrete results, this is not just a report that will go anywhere, but this is a report that we will make alive through our partnership; our multi-stakeholder partnership, of this high-level group.


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