The What, Why, Who, When and Where of the SDG Acceleration Actions on Justice


Earlier this year, the UN Deputy-Secretary General called for a need to “mobilize action to accelerate transformational change”. The UN also established a global registry for acceleration actions in advance of the SDG Summit.

But, what is an acceleration action and what does it mean for the justice community? Read on for a quick overview.


Acceleration actions are “initiatives voluntarily undertaken by countries and other actors to contribute to the acceleration of the implementation of the 2030.” In a nutshell,

these are the steps needed to achieve the SDGs and the promise of Justice for All by 2030.

The actions don’t need to be brand new initiatives. Scaling up or announcing a new phase of an existing successful action can also be registered.

What does an acceleration action for increasing access to justice look like? Check out some examples below:

It implements policies and strategies to resolve justice problems that matter most to people, prevent justice problems or enable people to participate more fully in their society and economy. For example:

  • Liberian-based NGO Citizens Bureau will empower local communities to mediate civil disputes and avoid timely and expensive court proceedings. The mediation will diffuse tensions and keep larger conflicts from emerging.
  • Namati and its global network of civil society organizations will support communities to have meaningful input into the development of natural resource governance policies.

Increasing justice financing — nationally and internationally — or redistributing existing resources more effectively. For example:

  • The Netherlands will double the target for the number of people who obtain access to justice through its development assistance by 2020.

Invest and use better justice data, research and evidence to ensure impact and support innovation. For example:


On January 1st, 2016, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) came into effect, which explicitly recognizes that equal access to justice is both a means and a must for peaceful, just and inclusive societies. World leaders made history by adopting SDG 16 which has at its center the goal to provide access to justice for all by 2030.

Four years later, how much closer are we to realizing justice for all?

Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammad noted earlier this year, “[a]t the current pace, the world is off track from achieving the 2030 Agenda.” We need to speed up efforts for the achievement of SDGs — that is, we need to accelerate action.

Registering an acceleration action on justice also helps build further momentum. Similar to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Paris Agreement on Climate, there has been an increasing number of countries and organizations speaking up for justice, helping to build a groundswell of support for action.

There is also a more fundamental reason. According to the Justice for All Report by the Task Force on Justice, an initiative of the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, approximately 5.1 billion people are deprived of justice. Forced to live under the persistent weight of injustice, almost 70% of the world’s population needs an action-driven agenda that truly moves the needle.

The Report provides such an agenda, one that can be used as the basis for developing accelerated actions:

  • Place justice at the heart of sustainable development
  • Put people at the center of justice systems
  • Move from justice for the few, to justice for all
(Photo: Bart Hoogveld)



Basically, acceleration actions can be made and also registered by a wide range of actors:

  • national, local and regional governments
  • civil society organizations
  • the private sector
  • UN system, international organizations and international financial institutions
  • partnerships, alliances, networks
  • other actors including academic and research institutions, the scientific community and other actor — individually or in partnership



We need accelerated action to achieve access to justice for all by 2030. Online registration for actions is open and will remain open beyond the SDG Summit.


You can register your acceleration action online here:

During the SDG Summit taking place in New York this week, acceleration actions can also be announced by Heads of State and Government on the margins of the Summit or during the Leaders Dialogues.


The largeness of purpose embodied by SDG 16 is powerful call for justice champions to take action. The moment is now to secure access to justice for all.

Any questions left? Please contact us at