International Development Law Organization
Home > News E-Library > Policy Statements

SDG 16 CONFERENCE 2023 Closing remarks

Statement by the Director-General, Ms Jan Beagle

Closing remarks

Rome, 1 June 2023

Assistant Secretary General Spatolisano,
Ambassador Colamine,
Ladies and gentlemen,

As we come to the end of the Conference, I want to express my sincere appreciation to all the participants, speakers, and partners who have contributed to our discussions.

Your dedication, insights, and collaborative spirit is what makes this a truly special forum.

I especially want to thank our co-organizers DESA – ASG Spatolisano and her team – and the Government of Italy for their ongoing partnership and commitment to SDG 16. And special thanks to my team – this is the culmination of months of work.

We have heard that the world is facing a perfect storm of crises putting peace and sustainable development in grave jeopardy.

But while the situation seems bleak, we also learned that change is possible.

Investing in proactive conflict prevention, the rule of law and people-centred justice, social inclusion and effective and accountable institutions is not only good policy, it also makes economic sense.

We need to build resilience and reduce vulnerabilities.

Renewing trust in institutions requires greater transparency and integrity and a genuine commitment to understanding and responding to peoples’ needs and aspirations.

Empowering people and communities to claim their rights and participate in decision-making can help catalyse action towards climate justice and food systems transformation.

We need to address “the hidden battle over misinformation” – as Melissa called it – which threatens democracy, destroys trust, and erodes human rights and the rule of law.

Throughout the conference, we heard inspiring stories of individuals and communities working tirelessly to sustain peace, close the justice gap, and promote innovative governance solutions at the local, national, and global levels.

Their examples serve as a reminder of the transformative power of SDG 16 and the incredible impact it can have on people's lives.

Almost every speaker highlighted the importance of inclusive governance and broad partnerships in driving transformative change.

Governments must take the lead but the collective efforts of international organizations, civil society, parliamentarians, the private sector, academia, the justice community, the media, and other stakeholders will be needed to provide the “whole of society” solutions needed.

It is only by working together that we can create a more peaceful, just, and inclusive world for all.

We must empower women and girls and remove the legal, economic and social barriers, and patriarchy, they face in participating equally in public life. And, as we were reminded this morning, we need to address gender misinformation.

We need to stand with vulnerable groups everywhere and with human rights defenders.

Youth leaders bring energy, fresh perspectives and represent the aspirations of an increasingly younger planet. They also have the most at stake in making sure that we build a future that is green and equitable.

The renewed Rome Declaration by members of civil society contains many important messages, and will be an important reference point for all of us. I would like to echo their call, “If not now, when?”

We need to take all opportunities to share insights from the Conference more widely.

IDLO will continue to do its part to champion SDG 16 in international forums, including in the current consultations on the Declaration for the SDG Summit, and at the upcoming HLPF.

In September, the SDG Summit in particular will be a major opportunity to engage with global leaders, generate political will and financial support and continue to change the trajectory on SDG 16 and the 2030 Agenda.

But we should also showcase the contribution of SDG 16 in other multilateral processes like the Food Systems Stocktaking Moment, COP28, and the Meeting of the States Parties to the UN Convention Against Corruption, and others.

Just last week, IDLO highlighted the link between the rule of law and public health at the World Health Assembly.

I am very pleased that the Assembly ended yesterday with agreement to develop a new global health and peace initiative.

I am looking forward to sharing messages from our Conference at the “Women Deliver” Conference in Kigali in July.

Most importantly, we need to act together to turn inspiration into action from local to global levels and here as well, IDLO is proud to be your partner in all regions of the world.

Let us build on the momentum generated here to take concrete actions and implement sustainable solutions that will advance peace, justice, and strong institutions in our respective communities.

And let us stay connected, share our experiences, and support one another in our common journey towards 2030 and beyond.

It will not be easy, it will take time and effort, and we may face setbacks along the way, but there is no better investment that we can make in our collective future, and it is the best way for us to stand in solidarity with “future generations”.