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Considering the proliferation of conflicts, the United Nations' 'Summit of the Future’ must clarify the current definition of SDG 16, which is about promoting peaceful societies

2024 March 20
  • Declaration of the 6th Plenary of the Basque Country Agenda 2030 Forum
  • Peace requires a united and vocal global community. The 2030 Agenda should serve as a point of reference that also carries weight in discussions about peace.
  • A unilateral invasion of a country or a terrorist attack resulting in 1,200 fatalities is incompatible with peace.
  • Preventing humanitarian aid from reaching a besieged population or bombing civilians, including women and children, is the antithesis of peace.
  • Respecting UN resolutions, international law, and international humanitarian law is a means of promoting peace.
  • Raquel Martí from UNRWA reported that opening road corridors for humanitarian aid is the most urgent priority in Gaza, in addition to bringing the war to an end.
  • In the upcoming weeks, the Basque Government will send 750,000 euros for humanitarian aid in Gaza. This is in addition to the 630,000 euros already donated in the autumn.

The Euskadi Agenda 2030 Forum, which is the Basque body for Shared Governance of the SDGs, held its sixth plenary session today at the Euskalduna Conference Centre in Bilbao. The session was chaired by the President of the Basque Government, Iñigo Urkullu. In addition to the President of the Basque Country, all Basque Government regional ministers, the three Provincial Councils, EUDEL, the City Councils of the capital cities, the deans of the three Basque universities, the third sector through Sareen Sarea, and public-private collaboration through BC3, BRTA, or ACLIMA are included.

The Forum's Report 2023 and Management Plan 2024 were approved at the meeting. The report's conclusions highlight three areas that require improvement and three accomplishments that have been consolidated. In the areas for improvement, the priority of renewable energy generation and consumption, responses to the demographic challenge and the need to continue strengthening the dissemination and social awareness of the 2030 Agenda are highlighted.

Regarding the main achievements, this Forum and the Basque Alliance for the SDGs represent a governance model. Additionally, the UN Local2030 world headquarters is in Bilbao, establishing a leading international institution in the Basque Country. Finally, the indicators and evaluation system consolidates a solid measurement infrastructure. In addition to this, the Legislature's main legacy is the model of Basque commitment to localising the SDGs through the 'Now 2030 Basque Country' initiative. This initiative is based on a threefold commitment to greater institutionalisation, socialisation, and personalisation of the 2030 Agenda.

6th Declaration of the Presidency of the Euskadi 2030 Agenda 2030 Forum

At the end of the meeting, the President of the Basque Government presented the sixth Declaration of the Forum's Presidency. Prior to the reading, Raquel Martí, Executive Director of UNRWA Spain, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, provided an update on the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Martí remembered that UNRWA is currently “the main organisation providing humanitarian aid in Gaza. In the past five months, more children, journalists, medical staff, and UN personnel have died in Gaza than in any other conflict zone in the world.” In just 150 days, over 31,000 Palestinians have reportedly lost their lives. Five percent of the population is dead, injured, or missing, and there is nowhere safe for them to go. She warned that “a famine is looming while the inflow of humanitarian aid has halved. The situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is extremely serious. 2023 has been the deadliest year for Palestinians since the United Nations began keeping records.”

The UNRWA Spain Director emphasised the need for sustained and large-scale humanitarian access, including fuel, water, food, and medical supplies, as well as an immediate ceasefire, to respond to the enormous needs of the civilian population in Gaza. Raquel Martí emphasised that while any increase in aid to Gaza is crucial, “it is the entry by land that enables a large-scale response. Air or sea aid is not an alternative to land aid. Humanitarian actors have stated that air and sea deliveries are more costly and less efficient than trucking overland to deliver the large quantities of aid needed by the population.”

After this intervention, the President of the Basque Country informed the Forum that the Basque Government will process a double economic contribution of 750,000 euros through the Basque Agency for Development Cooperation to support the humanitarian emergency response in Gaza in the coming weeks. 625,000 euros was raised last autumn in response to the initial emergency appeal.

The President of the Basque Country read the Declaration titled 'The Summit of the Future and SDG 16 on Peace'. First, he listed the primary theatres of war, including Yemen, Ukraine, and Gaza. “Once again, we call for peace. It is a concept that is both referential and malleable and requires clear indicators to prevent its misuse.”

In September 2024, the United Nations will hold the Summit of the Future to enhance multilateral cooperation and address current challenges and new threats. In this context, Iñigo Urkullu proposed that this summit should “reflect on the meaning of SDG 16, peace, in today's world. The 2030 Agenda must be a reference that speaks authoritatively about peace, especially given the spread of war globally.”

He emphasised that there are indicators that clarify what peace is and what it is not. Some are warning and calling for a reaction from the international community: “Invading a country without justification or provocation using military force is incompatible with the concept of peace. A terrorist attack against civilians resulting in 1,200 deaths within 24 hours is an assault on peace. Indiscriminate bombing of a territory resulting in over 30,000 casualties, mostly women and children, is the antithesis of peace."

Among these negative indicators, the President of the Basque Country highlighted two others that are antonyms of peace: “Preventing the entry of humanitarian aid to a population under siege, suffering from thirst, hunger, and destitution”, or “denying dialogue, diplomacy, and negotiation by using boycotts or conditioning them on the use of force.”

There are also progress indicators that provide a positive connotation to peace: "respect UN resolutions, international legality, and international humanitarian law"; "promote multilateralism and act, accordingly, ruling out unilateral actions or solutions"; or "promote and develop processes of dialogue and negotiation with international mediation". Similarly, “to agree to transparent and independent reviews of compliance with respect for human rights” or “to prioritise the protection of civilians and humanitarian assistance is to embrace the basic principles of humanity and humanisation in a conflict.”

The President of the Basque Country concluded his speech by emphasising that “peace needs the world to speak clearly and unitedly. Making SDG 16 on peace, clear and united to the world may be one of the most pressing challenges of the Summit of the Future. The 2030 Agenda is both a necessity and an opportunity, particularly for peace.”

3 comments
  • Photo SN Robot
    @unrwaeuskadi
    2024 March 20

    Comentario de Twitter:
    Gaur, Euskadiko #2030agenda Foroan, @Raquel_Marti_
    @UNRWAes-eko zuzendariak #Gaza-ko egoera humanitarioari buruzko informazioa eman du 👇
    https://t.co/AwBgBl7yB3

  • Photo SN Robot
    @unrwaeuskadi
    2024 March 20

    Comentario de Twitter:
    Hoy en el Foro #Agenda2030 de Euskadi @Raquel_Marti_ directora de @UNRWAes ha informado de la situación humanitaria en #Gaza 👇

    https://t.co/AwBgBl7yB3

  • Photo SN Robot
    @Raquel_Marti_
    2024 March 20

    Comentario de Twitter:
    Esta mañana he tenido la suerte de participar en el Plenario de la Agenda 2030 con el Lendakari y las administraciones y universidades vascas. Eskerrik asco Lendakari y ⁦@eLankidetza⁩ ⁦@paulortegae⁩ por el anuncio de 750.000€ para Gaza. https://t.co/mv2jwROisy

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Politicians attending the event