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Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development 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

Food security and a healthy agricultural sector can play a central role in efforts to prevent conflict and build peace.

In many countries that failed to reach the Millennium Development Goals, disasters or political instability have resulted in protracted crises and food insecurity. Rural populations continue to be most affected in conflicts, as attacks on farming communities undermine rural livelihoods and displace people from their homes. Among the consequences are damage to agricultural production, livestock and crop losses, and failure to reach markets.

While the international community currently devotes the vast majority of its resources to humanitarian interventions aimed at saving the lives of people affected by protracted crises, more can be done to help vulnerable people, the majority living in rural areas, rebuild their livelihoods.

Peace and food security are often mutually reinforcing. Interventions to ensure food security and protect and rehabilitate the agriculture sector must address the root causes of conflict. One of the lessons from the global food crisis of 2007/8 was that failing to invest in rural areas could compromise national as well as food security.

FAO has a critical part to play in peacebuilding, restoring rural livelihoods, building resilience, governance matters and participatory approaches to policymaking. The Organization works with countries and partners to develop policy and regulatory frameworks, innovative institutional arrangements, and functional rural organizations that help small-scale producers to overcome social, political and economic barriers.

The participation of multiple stakeholders - including the voice of people marginalised - in planning and policymaking enables greater ownership, lessens potential for conflict and improves the chances of long-term policy success.

Facts and figures

  • Some 2.5 billion smallholder farmers, herders, fishers and forest-dependent communities, generate more than half of the global agricultural production, and are often the worst affected when a crisis or a disaster strikes.
  • Over the past decade (2003-2013) economic damages resulting from natural hazards have caused an estimated USD 1.5 trillion in damages, In developing countries alone, estimated damages from natural hazards and climate-related disasters amounted to USD 550 billion and affect 2 billion people.
  • In conflict situations, an average of 87 percent of those affected do not flee their homes.
  • Economic losses caused by disasters have reached an average of USD 250-300 billion a year, severely affecting stable economic growth in low- and middle-income countries and eroding development gains in vulnerable communities.


SDG16 Targets

  1. Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere.
  2. End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.
  3. Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all.
  4. By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime
  5. Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms.
  6. Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.
  7. Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.
  8. Broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance.
  9. By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration.
  10. Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.

a. 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.

b. Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development.

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