Where is Latin America?
Latin American governments and societies played an active role in shaping the United Nations 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. One area where the region came up short, however, relates to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 on peaceful and inclusive societies, access to justice and governance. This Strategic Paper detects a contradiction between the alarming levels of violence and crime in Latin America, and the comparatively low importance attached to SDG 16 during the negotiations from 2013 to the present. The regions´s diplomats exhibited varied levels of engagement with the key themes of SDG 16, whether peace, access to justice, rule of law, security or governance. Some governments were concerned with the potential of SDG 16 to securitize development or divert aid away from “core” priorities. Others were uneasy about specific terms, not least the “rule of law”. There was no regional consensus on SDG 16 even if governments across the region are prepared to support its current formulation. More positively, Latin America is a hive of innovation and experimentation when it comes to preventing violence, extending justice services, and promoting good governance. As such, the Strategic Paper identifies a number of pathways for governments and civil societies to identify and share lessons from the region.