UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Working Papers

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Working Papers aim to stimulate discussion and critical comment on the broad range of economic, social and environmental issues associated with the United Nations Development Agenda.


A Post-SDG Summit Governance Primer: Interlinking the Institutional, Peace and Justice Dimensions of SDG16 (2016–2019)

As the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development enters its fifth year of implementation, it is opportune to ask how governance is understood and implemented around the world. In fact, one can go further to probe the extent to which governments are cognizant of the principles undergirding effective governance. This paper examines the ways in which governance has been operationalized by countries, major groups and other stakeholders since the first round of Voluntary National Reviews at the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) of 2016. It does this based on the qualitative overview of the Synthesis reports of Voluntary National Reviews (2016–2029), and the quantitative analysis of three SDG databases: Voluntary National Reviews, SDG Good Practices and the SDG Acceleration Actions. It starts with a literature review of the multidimensional concept of governance. The three databases are then scoped through a series of keywords associated with the SDG16 governance targets. It finds that although SDG 16 is catalytic to progress on all other SDGs, its governance dimension does not receive due focus. The article concludes with several action areas to mainstream the governance dimension of SDG16 in sustainable development.


Keywords: governance, public policy, Sustainable development, development, rule of law, peace, nexus, SDG 16, Sustainable Development Goals, institutions, justice, triple nexus, SDGs
JEL: H41: Public Economics / Publicly Provided Goods / Public Goods; J78: Labor and Demographic Economics / Labor Discrimination / Labor Discrimination: Public Policy; J68: Labor and Demographic Economics / Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers / Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies: Public Policy; Q01: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / General / Sustainable Development; Z18: Other Special Topics / Cultural Economics; Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology / Cultural Economics: Public Policy; P48: Economic Systems / Other Economic Systems / Other Economic Systems: Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies; O19: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Economic Development / International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations; G38: Financial Economics / Corporate Finance and Governance / Corporate Finance and Governance: Government Policy and Regulation; L38: Industrial Organization / Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise / Public Policy; J18: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demographic Economics / Demographic Economics: Public Policy; D73: Microeconomics / Analysis of Collective Decision-Making / Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption; H83: Public Economics / Miscellaneous Issues / Public Administration; Public Sector Accounting and Audits
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