If Not Now, Then When? An urgent call for transformative SDG16+ commitments at the midpoint of the 2030 Agenda 2023 Rome Civil Society Declaration on SDG16+

Welcome to the 2023 Rome Civil Society Declaration on SDG16+, "If Not Now, Then When? An urgent call for transformative SDG16+ commitments at the midpoint of the 2030 Agenda"!

This year marks the halfway point of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, making 2023 a crucial year to re-think our commitments to the SDGs predefined in 2015. The international community is severely impacted by escalating humanitarian crises due to geopolitical conflicts and their consequences, and climate-induced events. These challenges demonstrate the crucial need to put SDG16+ at the forefront of the international discussion this year and bring civil society stakeholders in the wider decision-making processes. The 2023 Declaration was issued in the context of the 2023 SDG16 Conference in Rome (31 May - 1 June) and urgently calls for concrete, transformative and ambitious commitments from member states to SDG16+ as we proceed towards the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) in July and the SDG Summit in September.

In 2019, SDG16 was reviewed for the first time at the UN High-Level Political Forum 2019 (HPLF), marking the need for civil society to come together in order to update on the (lack of) progress towards the achievement of SDG16 and to share recommendations in the 2019 Rome Civil Society Declaration on SDG16+. The 2019 Declaration “Amplified Commitments and Partnerships for Accelerated Action: Rome Civil Society Declaration on SDG16+” received endorsement from over 130 civil society organizations and networks. The Rome Declaration was revisited in 2021, as SDG16 was reviewed for the second time at UN HLPF 2021. The Rome Declaration 2.0 “A Renewed Call for Strengthening Commitments, Partnerships, and Accelerated Action for SDG16+” was endorsed by 215+ civil society stakeholders, and looked specifically at the impacts of COVID-19 on the promotion of just, peaceful and inclusive societies. In 2022, further inputs from civil society were required to update the previous versions of the Declaration, in light of the backsliding on SDG16+ produced by tectonic geopolitical developments and persistent crises, such as the invasion of Ukraine, recent coups in West-Africa, COVID-19, and many others. The 2022 Rome Civil Society Declaration on SDG16+, titled "SDG16+ in Peril: An urgent call-to-action for safeguarding commitments to Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies" brings to the fore civil society's main recommendations on the urgent actions the international community needs to undertake in order to place the 2030 Agenda back on track.

After these earlier versions of the Rome Civil Society Declaration, the 2023 Declaration calls for urgent action toward revitalised and transformative commitments on SDG16+ and emphasises four key detailed and action-oriented recommendations that need immediate action and genuine commitment to prosperous, peaceful and inclusive societies;  1) Recognising and utilising SDG16+ as an enabler for achieving the 2030 Agenda and for responding to current global crises as well as a development outcome; 2) Delivering bold and ambitious commitments at the 2023 SDGs Summit, 2024 Summit of the Future and beyond; 3) Delivering catalytic financing for SDG16+ and fixing the broken global financial system; 4) Recognizing the indispensable role of civil society for SDG16+ and the 2030 Agenda, and protect and where possible expand civic space. Halfway to 2030, the promise to ‘Leave No One Behind’ and work together to secure the rights and well-being of everyone on a healthy, thriving planet is in peril. SDG16+ is in need of new and collaborative actions. Bold commitments for urgent action are needed now!

All Civil Society organizations are encouraged to share this declaration with their membership for wider dissemination, endorsement and sign-on. A French version of the Declaration can also be found on our French webpage. You can endorse the 2023 Rome Civil Society Declaration on SDG16+ here and read the 2023 Rome Civil Society Declaration “If Not Now, Then When? An urgent call for transformative SDG16+ commitments at the midpoint of the 2030 Agenda” in full and the Executive Summary here.

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