Fostering peaceful sustainable development in the Pacific under the 2030 Agenda

Sustainable Development Goal 16 (the ‘peace goal’) is a key policy opportunity to safeguard development gains in the Pacific. Fostering peaceful sustainable development in the Pacific will require a re-thinking of the development approaches taken, particularly where pervasive exclusion and inequality are linked to potential drivers of conflict. This paper highlights four areas for attention: resource scarcity, migration and displacement, urbanization, and exclusion and inequality. As a threat multiplier, climate change exacerbates all of these development challenges, and the policy urgency is immediate. Future conflict can, however, be avoided. The paper offers that for Pacific island countries, policy emphasis on strengthening institutions – both formal and informal – combined with conflict-sensitive programming will go a long way to mitigating drivers of conflict and realizing the intent of SDG 16 as ‘the peace goal’.