Raising awareness of SDG16+ is essential in order to promote understanding among stakeholders and mobilize action to advance peaceful, just and inclusive societies


Creating awareness of SDG16+ – and the rest of the SDGs – is essential for SDG16+ implementation. It will be much more difficult for you to influence people’s attitudes, behaviors and beliefs towards peaceful, just and inclusive societies without their knowledge of the existence and importance of the SDG16+ agenda. Awareness of SDG16+ is thus a critical first step in order to mobilize action from individual stakeholders. It is also key in helping to mobilize the power of public opinion, which can, in turn, influence the will of political decision-makers to take action to achieve greater peace, justice and inclusion.

Raising awareness of SDG16+ is also necessary to create an enabling environment for accountability. Citizens cannot hold their governments accountable for their commitments if they do not know that such commitments exist. Creating awareness of SDG16+ and promoting opportunities to engage in SDG accountability processes – especially at the local level – can help to encourage people’s participation and inclusion in SDG16+ follow-up and review, especially marginalized and vulnerable groups.

Regrettably, the level of awareness of the SDGs – and SDG 16 in particular – remains low, especially at grassroots and community levels 1. There is thus a need to step up awareness-raising activities in the next phase of implementation, especially among younger generations. 2

Putting it into practice

Multiple strategies, methods and tools can be used to raise awareness of SDG16+. The following is a short summary of some of the key steps you can take to raise awareness: 3

  1. Develop an awareness-raising strategy – Ideally, an SDG16+ awareness-raising strategy should identify the SDG16+ goal or problem, objectives, target stakeholders, key messages, methods, tactics or activities to raise awareness and a monitoring and evaluation plan.
  1. Work in partnership, networks or coalitions with other CSOs and stakeholders – Consider building partnerships with other civil society actors and stakeholders, such as National Human Rights Institutions, in conducting awareness-raising campaigns on SDG16+.
  1. Identify your target audience and their interests, and tailor activities and key messages as appropriate – Specify the individuals or groups whose awareness of SDG16+ is needed in order to achieve your SDG16+ objective(s).
  1. Create key messages for your target audience – Aim to create clear, concise, simple and compelling key messages on SDG16+ that are limited in number. Key messages will ideally include a call to action or request for your target audience.
  1. Consider the most effective methods to raise awareness – Activities may include:
  • Producing educational resources such as reports, policy papers and pamphlets;
  • Creating visual materials such as posters, stickers, t-shirts, bracelets and banners;
  • Producing audio-visual material such as television, video, film and documentaries;
  • Holding events such as conferences, workshops, roundtables or demonstrations;
  • Providing written or oral submissions to parliamentary committees or other groups;
  • Working with the media through press releases, briefings and opinion pieces;
  • Utilizing radio – including community radio – especially in poorer and rural areas;
  • Using social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.) and other online forums and platforms;
  • Using wireless communication such as mobile phones and text messaging (SMS);
  • Networking (online and offline) to create and maintain contacts; and
  • Engaging in the arts including visual art, spoken word, music and street theatre. 
  1. Consider the timing of awareness-raising activities – Try to schedule activities around major events, such as leaders’ summits and international days, 4 in order to leverage publicity and increase the reach and impact of your message. Examples of international days related to SDG16+ include:
  • February 6 – International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation
  • February 20 – World Day of Social Justice
  • March 1 – Zero Discrimination Day
  • March 8 – International Women’s Day
  • March 21 – International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • April 6 – International Day of Sport for Development and Peace
  • May 3 – World Press Freedom Day
  • May 16 – International Day of Living Together in Peace
  • June 4 – International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression
  • June 12 – World Day Against Child Labour
  • June 19 – International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict
  • June 20 – World Refugee Day
  • June 26 – United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
  • July 30 – World Day against Trafficking in Persons
  • August 9 – International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
  • September 9 – International Day to Protect Education from Attack
  • September 15 – International Day of Democracy
  • September 21 – International Day of Peace
  • September 28 – International Day for Universal Access to Information
  • October 2 – International Day of Non-Violence
  • November 2 – International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists
  • November 20 – World Children’s Day
  • November 25 – International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
  • December 2 – International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
  • December 3 – International Day of Persons with Disabilities
  • December 9 – International Anti-Corruption Day
  • December 10 – Human Rights Day

Case Study

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Case Study

100 Days Campaign of Government Accountability

Palestinian Consultative Staff for Developing NGOs (PCS)

The 100 Days Campaign of Government Accountability was launched by the Palestinian Consultative Staff for Developing NGOs (PCS) in cooperation with the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), Palestinian NGOs, AMAN Transparency Palestine, Palestinian National Institute for NGOs and with the participation of collation of 84 civil society organizations of all national and grassroots levels in West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem. The objective was to close the gap between the Palestinian civil society community and the government to encourage active participation and increased partnership in community affairs and the management of public resources.

The work was conducted in the following phases:

  1. A formation of a coalition of 84 civil society organizations working in community accountability and monitoring at the national and grassroots levels.
  2. The grouping of organizations into working groups based on specialization, such as education, local government and health.
  3. The creation of regular correspondence mechanisms between the coalition and Prime Minister’s office, as well with other ministries. These mechanisms included requesting inquiries and clarifications for cases related to the government’s work.
  4. The launch of a webpage and social media to create interaction between citizens and the campaign.
  5. The holding of a press conference and the issuing of a press release.

After the first 100 days, the campaign clearly showed that it had begun to create an institutionalized relationship of sustainable community accountability between civil society and the government. Over the campaign period, government engagement with the campaign elicited varied attitudes and reactions. Mistrust was expressed by several officials but overall, the campaign ended with relatively positive cooperation with some ministries, while also being ignored by others. The Prime Minister’s office showed openness to the campaign throughout its entirety.

Key Takeaways: There is a need to increase government’s openness to civil society, to allow for actual participation and partnership at all levels.  

Key TAP Network resource:

Goal 16 Advocacy Toolkit: A practical guide for stakeholders for national-level advocacy around Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies (TAP Network, 2016)

This toolkit provides civil society and other non-governmental stakeholders with guidance on how to engage with their governments and other local, regional or international stakeholders to support the planning, implementation, follow-up and accountability of SDG 16. It includes a short section on preparing a gap analysis. Available at: 

Key resource:

SDGs in Your Municipality: 50 Practical Awareness Raising Examples (The Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG), 2018)

This resource provides 50 practical examples to introduce the SDGs – including SDG 16 – to a wider audience within your municipality. The awareness-raising examples are wide-ranging but provide a low-threshold and often fun approach to introducing people to the SDGs.


Available at: https://sdgtoolkit.org/tool/sdgs-in-your-municipality/

Preparing for Action “National Briefing Package: The 2030 Agenda and SDGs” (UNITAR and UNDG, 2015)

This integrated toolkit is designed to support national facilitators in planning and delivering briefings on the 2030 Agenda at the country level. It contains a briefing package for use by national governments (and other stakeholders) and can be easily adapted to each national context. Available in English, French, Spanish and Russian.

Available at: https://www.unsdglearn.org/courses/preparing-for-action-national-briefing-package-the-2030-agenda-and-sdgs/

Mainstreaming the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – Reference Guide for UN Country Teams (UNDG, 2017)

This guide assists UN country teams to help Member States adapt the global SDGs to national contexts. Specific implementation steps, practical tools and case examples from developed and developing countries are provided. It includes a detailed section on ‘Building Awareness’ as well as a short section on ‘Awareness Raising and Multi-stakeholder Engagement’ for countries in complex situations. Available in English, Spanish and French.

Available at: https://unsdg.un.org/resources/mainstreaming-2030-agenda-sustainable-development-reference-guide-un-country-teams

SDG Action Campaign (United Nations)

This campaign provides information and resources – including tools, guides, artwork, designs and mixed media content – that can be used to raise awareness of the SDGs.

Available at: https://www.sdgactioncampaign.org/resources/