We prepared an alternative report on the implementation by the Republic of Belarus of Goal 16 “Peace, justice and effective institutions” of the 2030 Agenda and presented it in New York as part of the UN High-level Political Forum taking place there these days - a platform coordinating the implementation of the SDGs at the international level.
Within the framework of the High-level Political Forum, States submit their voluntary reports on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Belarus is also presenting its next report this year (the first one was in 2017).
Unlike the Human Rights Treaty Bodies, the procedure for implementing the SDGs at the international level does not provide for mandatory State reporting and a clearly defined mechanism for providing separate alternative reports from civil society. Because the essence of the mechanism enshrined in the 2030 Agenda is that all work on the implementation of the SDGs in the State and the preparation of voluntary reporting should be carried out in partnership with all interested stakeholders, including the State and civil society.
In the case of our State, which has destroyed/squeezed out of the country over the past two years almost the entire institutionalized sector of civil society (including most NGOs that were originally part of the SDG Partner Group under the National Coordinator), there is no need to talk about such a partnership. In this regard, we decided to prepare an alternative report that would reflect the real picture in the country for all the targets of SDG 16.
Goal 16. Promote peaceful inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
SDG 16 is a cross-cutting goal that is essential for the implementation of all other Sustainable Development Goals. In our report, we went through each target and identified a number of systemic problems related to their implementation, which have only worsened after 2020: the widespread violence in Belarus, including against children, the lack of de facto independent accountable bodies, the problems of the dependence of the court on the executive power, the lack of the rule of law, the lack of transparency of the process making decisions affecting Belarusian citizens, their rights and freedoms, the absence of national anti-discrimination legislation and a national human rights institution, and others.
In addition to the problems that directly relate to Goal 16, in their report, BHC experts noted the government's deliberate emasculation of human rights from the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the elimination of civil society organizations, some of which participated in the promotion of Sustainable Development Goals at the national level. The BHC report also provides an analysis of the state's general approach to manipulating the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.
Within the framework of the Forum, BHC representatives held a number of meetings with various stakeholders, where they told why it was important to see the link between the SDGs and their targets and the state's international obligations on human rights. This is extremely important to complement the sustainable development agenda at the country level with a human rights component, partnership and inclusiveness, as required by the 2030 Agenda adopted by the UN General Assembly.
In addition, within the framework of the Forum, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya's Office presented a general alternative report on the implementation of all SDGs in Belarus, prepared by representatives of the Belarusian civil society. Our experts prepared chapters on SDGs 16 and 17 for it.
A general alternative report on the implementation of all SDGs in Belarus, prepared by representatives of the Belarusian civil society under the coordination of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya's Office. BHC experts have prepared chapters on SDGs 16 and 17 for this report. (in ru)