UK Government support for SDG 16 inquiry launched

23 July 2019

The International Development Committee is holding an inquiry on UK Government support for SDG 16.


The targets within Sustainable Development Goal 16 and related targets across other SDGs (collectively known as SDG 16+) commit the international community to addressing violence, conflict, injustice corruption and exclusion. In recent years, the UK has placed an explicit emphasis on supporting people who are living in contexts of conflict and fragility, playing a leading role in securing international agreement on SDG 16 in 2015. However, the UN recognises that SDG 16 is not on track to be met by 2030. 

The  UN High Level Political Forum has just reviewed progress internationally on SDG 16 (and we have just reported on the UK’s own  progress across all the Goals).This new inquiry will look at what the UK Government has done specifically to address SDG 16 since 2015, how SDG 16+ has informed the UK’s development, and other relevant, priorities, what has been achieved, and whether the UK has an effective implementation plan for the future. We are particularly interested in identifying examples of best practice on SDG 16 from a wide variety of sources.

The Committee's approach

In September 2017, the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies published a Roadmap for achieving SDG 16. The Roadmap groups together all the SDG targets which are necessary for achieving (i) peaceful societies, (ii) just societies, and (iii) inclusive societies. Accordingly, the Committee will consider the evidence according to these themes:

  • The Committee will first consider UK Government efforts to promote peaceful societies: ending violence in all forms including violence against children (see 16.1 and 16.2) 
  • The Committee will then consider UK efforts to promote just societies: access to justice and rule of law, including human rights (see 16.3, 16.9 and 16.b); tackling corruption (see 16.4 and 16.5);
  • Throughout the inquiry, the Committee will consider the extent to which the UK promotes inclusive societies. This includes the promotion of effective, accountable and transparent institutions, and participation in global governance (see 16.6 and 16.8); inclusive and participatory decision making (see 16.7) ; and public access to information (see 16.10).

We recognise that submissions may be written in relation to certain aspects of SDG 16, rather than discussing the goal in its entirety. The Committee requests that all submissions:  
a) indicate clearly which of the SDG 16 or SDG 16+ targets and which thematic area(s) the submission refers to;
b) are supported where possible with specific examples and case studies of best practice. The Committee welcomes examples from a broad range of sources including those working at grass roots level and from other donors.

Key Questions

Background to SDG 16

  • What are the key obstacles to achieving SDG 16?
  • What are the consequences of failing to meet SDG 16 and its different targets (including impacts on achieving other SDGs)

Resourcing and implementation of SDG 16

  • To what extent is SDG 16 sufficiently prioritised and funded by the UK Government and how does this compare to support for the other SDGs? 
  • How sufficient is the UK Government’s competency and expertise for meeting the SDG 16 targets? 
  • What is the UK Government’s implementation plan and what should be prioritised? 
  • What international leadership has the UK shown in relation to SDG 16 and what more could it do to drive progress on SDG 16 internationally? 
  • To what extent could the UK government assist progress on SDG 16 in developing countries by taking action domestically?

Integration and Coherence

  • To what extent is the UK’s strategic approach and programming across the SDGs informed by an understanding of the drivers of conflict, the political context and conflict sensitivity?
  • How well are the SDG 16 targets integrated across UK development programming? To what extent does the UK’s programming on SDG 16 take account of linkages with the other SDGs? 
  • What mechanisms exist for coordination and policy coherence on SDG 16 across the Government’s ODA-spending departments and funds? Are these mechanisms effective? Is there a whole of Government approach to SDG 16 and, if not, what would that look like? 
  • Is there coordination by the UK Government with other donors on delivery of SDG 16? What evidence is there of a transregional approach?

Approaches and partners

  • Who are the relevant actors able to promote and defend SDG 16? Does the UK work sufficiently with non-traditional development partners (such as journalists, judiciary, private sector and business)?
  • How well adapted is the UK’s use of development instruments to supporting the ambitions of SDG 16, particularly in terms of:
    - Programme and funding cycles
    - Results based funding
    - Adaptive programming and management
    - Balancing central/local, and institutional/localised, funding and initiatives.
    - Choice of partners

Accountability and inclusion

  • How well is the Government meeting its commitment to ‘leave no one behind’ in its work on SDG 16?  To what extent do programmes build in accountability to affected populations and incentives for listening to the views of the most marginalised? 
  • How well does the Government’s work on SDG 16 reflect commitments on localisation and inclusion of civil society, women, youth and marginalised groups? What would better localisation and inclusion look like in programmes that address SDG 16? 
  • How well does UK policy and programming relating to SDG 16 across Government respect the principle of Do No Harm?

Evaluation and learning

  • How well does UK Government measure impact and progress in achieving SDG 16? Is the necessary data available and what could be done to improve this?
  • How well are lessons learned from a wide range of sources and shared across departments and funds, and with other donors? What incentives or mechanisms would provide better cross-fertilisation of learning?

The Committee recognises that this inquiry covers a wide range of topics and that not all questions will be answered by in every submission. The Committee also welcomes submissions on any additional points or clarification which you believe are important to the SDG target(s) that you address in your submission.

Written submissions

The deadline for written submissions is 12 noon on Friday 27 September 2019. The Committee values diversity and seeks to ensure this where possible. We encourage members of underrepresented groups to submit written evidence.

The Committee considers requests for reasonable adjustments to its usual arrangements for taking evidence and publishing material, to enhance access. Please contact or telephone 0207 219 1223.

Written evidence submitted should:

Have a one page summary at the front
Be no longer than 3000 words in length
Have numbered paragraphs
Avoid the use of colour or expensive-to-print material

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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