Make peace a priority to deliver on SDGs: International Alert statement ahead of Paris Peace Forum 2019

(En français)

Unless the global community puts peace at the heart of all its efforts, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will fail – according to International Alert, a global peacebuilding organisation.

Speaking ahead of the second Paris Peace Forum on 12–13 November, Mike Young, CEO of International Alert said:

“Most countries that are off-track to meeting the SDGs are roiled by violent conflict. Let’s place SDG16 – peaceful, just and inclusive societies – at the heart of all action toward the goals. Each goal isn’t an island – they are all co-dependent, and SDG16 is the key that will unlock real progress.”

International Alert recommends five key actions to achieve this:

  1. Put peacebuilding – or supporting people to manage their differences and conflicts without resorting to violence - at the heart of all global development efforts.
  2. Make all interventions conflict sensitive – be it health provision, access to water, agriculture, or poverty reduction - thus contributing to greater stability and resilience.
  3. Move beyond a ‘hard security’ focus on militarised solutions to violent extremism. Evidence shows that this approach isn’t effective – and might exacerbate the situation. Instead, efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism need to focus on digging deep on the root causes of why people join extremist movements, such as lack of status, voice and exclusion.
  4. Emphasise the importance of gender – empowering women and girls is imperative but we will make little progress unless we reach out to men and boys, and understand how their masculinity within their societies feeds into domestic, sexual, and mass violence.
  5. Accelerate the SDGs in fragile and conflict affected states, through a coordinated, comprehensive, intensive, multi-donor, adaptive and conflict-sensitive plan.

Read the full statement.


According to the Global Peace Index, the world is getting less peaceful[i]. Currently, about 1.8 billion people live in fragile contexts, and this figure is projected to grow to 2.3 billion by 2030[ii]. Some 80% of the world’s poorest live in chronically violent places.

Meanwhile, cooperation between states is decreasing, while military spending is going up.

The Paris Peace Forum, initiated by French President Macron, aims to counter these tendencies by convening states and civil society to drive collective action for peace.

At the Forum, International Alert will:

  • Call on global leaders to commit to urgent action to put SDG16 at the heart of global development efforts.
  • Present its project on Strengthening women’s role in peace in Afghanistan. The project showcases a successful method in engaging Afghan women in the country’s peace process, as well as driving collaboration with ‘male champions’ for peace. The project is run with our Afghan partner Peace, Training and Research Organization (PTRO).
  • Together with its partners, present the Water, Peace and Security project. In recent years, the links between water and conflict have received heightened attention in global discourse. The project develops new tools and services to enable relevant actors to address water-related threats and opportunities in countries like Mali and Iraq.

Interviews are available with International Alert representatives and partners.

Join us!

Follow us on Twitter @intalert using the hashtag #ParisPeaceForum

About International Alert: Established in 1986, International Alert is a leading peacebuilding organisation that works with people directly affected by conflict to build lasting peace, working in over 20 countries and territories around the world.

About the Paris Peace Forum: The Paris Peace Forum is an international event on global governance issues and multilateralism, held annually in Paris, France.

[i] According to the Global Peace Index, global peacefulness has deteriorated by 3.78 per cent since 2008 (

[ii] OECD (