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Inter-regional cooperation for the advancement of sustainable democracy and SDG 16

September 28, 2018 • By Luis José Consuegra
International IDEA held the 7th High Level Meeting of the Inter-Regional Dialogue on Democracy (IRDD) on 27 September 2018 in New York. Photo: Internaitonal IDEA | Luis José Consuegra

International IDEA held the 7th High Level Meeting of the Inter-Regional Dialogue on Democracy (IRDD) on 27 September 2018, in the margins of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, in New York City. The theme of the High Level Meeting was “Sustainable Democracy and SDG 16: Path towards achieving Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions”.

This High Level Meeting also took place in the sidelines of the 2018 Global Forum for Latin American and the Caribbean, jointly organized by International IDEA, the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD), the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean  (ECLAC), and Columbia University.

The 7th High Level Meeting of the IRDD was chaired by the Secretary-General of International IDEA, Yves Leterme, and attended by the Former President of the Dominican Republican, Leonel Fernandez. The Meeting was attended by the Secretary General of the Community of Democracies, Thomas Garrett, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Cristelle Pratt, the Chief of Staff of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Gonzalo Koncke, the Director of the Policy Mediation Unit of the Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations, the Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States to the United Nations, Ambassador Magad Abdelfattah Abdul-Aziz, and the Permanent Observer of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Paddy Torsney.

The purpose of the High-Level Meeting was to bring together the Secretaries-General of the UN and of the Global and Regional Organizations that are part of the IRDD, or their designated representatives, to analyze, discuss and identify the best practices, lessons learned and channels of collaboration for the successful achievement of SDG 16.

SDG 16,  dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels, is an enabler for the achievement of the SDGs Framework as a whole, and it is a relevant example of a field in which more collaboration and understanding is needed, and for which the exchanges of best practices and successful experiences among governments, global and regional organizations, civil society and grassroots organizations, practitioners in the field and citizens in general, should be strengthened through platforms and regular consultations for the harmonization of operative and concrete action plans at the regional and global levels.

The 7th High-Level Meeting of the IRDD complements the Inter-Regional Workshop on SDG 16 that took place at the Palais de Nation in Geneva in Mach 2018, which gather a broad range of partner institutions that included the Inter-Parliamentary Union; UNDP; the Peace Research Institute Oslo; the Kofi Annan Foundation; Transparency International; the World Bank; UNICEF; the Global Challenges Foundation; CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation; the Quaker United Nations Office; the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund; and the World Health Organization.

A report will be issued in the following months with the highlights of the Workshop and the High Level Meeting, which will also include policy recommendations to be presented at the 2019 High Level Political Forum that will review the advancement of SDG 16. Among the preliminary recommendations distilled from the workshop and the High Level Meeting, we can highlight the following:

  • Increase the political will at the global, regional and national level to enable the effectiveness and efficiency of the initiatives that exists worldwide for the achievement of strong institutions governed by the principles of accountability and good governance.


  • Regional organizations should be kept informed and involved on national implementation and monitoring efforts; likewise, regional organizations should exchange regional experiences. Sub-regional approaches can promote positive competition.


  • Develop mechanisms oriented towards the organization of information at the national, regional and global levels that would allow the development of reliable data that would serve to measure the advancement of SDG 16.


  • To advance SDG 16 it is key to increase the commitment towards advancement and guarantee of basic rights such as nationality, registration and identification of citizens; the elimination of violence against women and other vulnerable groups such as youth and people with disabilities.


  • It is needed the development and strengthening of concrete action plans for the eradication of trafficking in persons and terrorism, which include social and legal frameworks as preventive measures.


  • Recognize that conflict is one of the major elements affecting the capacity of governments to achieve peace and just societies and establish mechanisms that prevent the exacerbation of conflicts and promote stronger institutions.


  • Reinforce the role of Parliaments in the process of nationalizing regional and international legal frameworks for the advancement of Sustainable Development, and to entrust them with the development and adoption of national legislation to complement and support the global and regional actions to achieve SDG 16.


  • Civil society needs to continue growing and strengthening as they serve as watchdogs to processes that are inherently related to accountability, transparency, rule of law and inclusiveness, among others, which are the essence of SDG 16.


  • There needs to be a consistent allocation of resources at all levels to be able to maintain and sustain the advancements of SDG 16.


The Inter-Regional Dialogue on Democracy (IRDD) is a high priority programme led by the Secretary-General of International IDEA, and it constitutes the only platform in the world of its kind that provides a space for the Global and Regional Organizations to come together to discuss the challenges, opportunities and successes related to issues affecting democracy worldwide, as well as to identify synergies and enable channels of cooperation among key stakeholders. The overall coordination of the IRDD is regularly supported by the designated focal points to the IRDD appointed by the partner organizations.

About the authors

Luis José Consuegra
Resource Mobilization and Partnerships Officer
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