7-8 JUNE 2017 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

Inclusive and Peaceful Societies

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognises the central role of peace in poverty eradication and sustainable development. A number of Sustainable Development Goals include relevant targets promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, while the Means of Implementation and Follow-up and Review arrangements for the 2030 Agenda can also contribute.  Sustainable Development Goal 16 in particular aims to "promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels." The international community now has an agreed vision to prevent and end conflict, address its root causes, and make peace sustainable in every country.

Supporting democratisation around the globe is crucial to the realisation of this vision and constitutes a top priority in the European Union's external action. Broad participation in political decision-making and local ownership of democratisation processes are crucial underpinnings of conflict prevention, and sustainable development.                   

The EU works with a wide range of partners, including civil society organizations, electoral management bodies, parliaments, trade unions and the media, among others, to bring about democratisation reforms. Its intervention in this field focuses on key areas including:

  • the promotion of credible, inclusive and transparent electoral processes
  • Support to media development to encourage the formation of an independent, pluralist and professional media
  • Parliamentary strengthening programmes which contribute to enhancing transparency and institutional accountability
  • Activities in support of citizens and civil society organisations aiming at enhancing political participation and representation

Making full use of all of its geographic and thematic instruments, the European Commission committed more than € 93 million to democracy support in around 190 projects in 2014. Covering € 35 million, support to elections represents the biggest part of the EU's democracy support.

Security is a critical prerequisite for sustainable development. Armed conflict inevitably leads to a loss of lives, damages the social fabric and contributes to human suffering. It can also result in destruction of essential infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and energy systems. Insecurity can also trigger forced displacement of people and contribute to irregular migration. The deterioration or disappearance of  public institutions contributes to endemic corruption, encourages a climate of impunity and facilitates the growth of transnational crime rates, including the trafficking of people, drugs and arms. Therefore, conflict always has a negative impact on development, while development efforts aim at attenuating many of the factors leading to political instability and unrest.

The European Union is and will continue to be part of the solution for addressing all these challenges with a wide range of tools, such as diplomacy, humanitarian assistance, development, security, trade, investment, environment and regional integration incentives to support long-term engagement in fragile and conflict-affected countries. 

Taking into account only development cooperation, over the period of 2001-2009, the European Commission disbursed approximately € 1 billion targeting justice and security sector reform worldwide. This amount is likely to increase during the current period of programming. In 2014 alone the EU has committed € 2.26 billion for the sector of governance and civil society and a significant part of these allocations was channeled to support security and justice in many beneficiary countries. Rule of law, security and justice programmes are already running in more than 40 countries worldwide and several programmes are currently in the pipeline.

In addition, the mandates of several of the 34 CSDP missions and operations conducted so far have also included building the capacities of peace and security actors in partner countries. Most of the EU civilian and military crisis management missions and operations deployed worldwide also have a specific Security Sector Reform component.