Sustainable Development Goals

Given its proximity to people and being at the grass-roots level, one of the important functions of local government is to provide public services that address local needs and priorities related to the realization of human rights at the local level. – UN Resolution A/HRC/39/L.8

The Raoul Wallenberg Institute coordinates regional programmes in over 40 countries that promote universal respect for the environment and human rights through research, education and dialogue based on international law. National human rights institutions (NHRIs), local governments, the business community, legal practitioners and environmental policy makers/groups are both focuses and partners for RWI’s programmes.

The Institute’s commitment to human rights research and capacity development gives stakeholders the means to realise international human rights standards and achieve the internationally recognised sustainable development goals (SDGs).


Localising Human Rights in the Context of Sustainable Development Goals

Human rights and sustainable development are symbiotic. It takes experience, perseverance and working closely with decision makers at the national and local levels of government and the private sector to realise solutions.

RWI strengthens the capacity and knowledge bases of national human rights institutions (NHRIs), local governments, the business community, legal practitioners and environmental policy makers/groups, to be catalysts for improvement.


RWI’s Regional Asia Pacific Programme (RAPP) connects networks and stakeholders at the regional level across the Asia Pacific, who are influential in achieving the aim of United Nations Agenda 2030 or Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The inclusion and incorporation of local governments’ obligations and contextualised experiences are essential in the achievement of human rights and sustainable development. RWI’s activities encourage and facilitate local governments to more easily conceptualise and put into action human rights theory and national SDG commitments.


RWI’s Partners in Promoting Human Rights and SDGs

The Institute identifies, develops and promotes models, mechanisms and methods that enhances human rights, inclusive societies and social development in joint partnership with among others:

  • The City of Gwangju, South Korea, in conjunction with the World Human Right Cities Forum (WHRCF) and the Indonesia Human Rights Festival (IHRF).
  • United Cities and Local Governments Asia Pacific (UCLG ASPAC), a key knowledge management hub on local government issues in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The Stockholm Environment Institute (ranked as a top think tank on environmental policy by the University of Pennsylvania, in 2019).
  • The Asian Democracy Network (ADN).
  • RTM Nagpur University, India, to research handbook development for local governments.
  • Parahyangan University, Indonesia, to research local government guidelines.


RWI’s Activities and Experience with Human Rights and SDGs


RWI’s RAPP activities on localizing human rights reform and SDGs include:

  • Training for local governments, together with UCLG ASPAC and Gwangju at the World Human Rights Cities Forum.
  • Together with the Swedish Embassy in South Korea, RWI organized an International Human Rights Policy Session on ‘The Role of Cities to Promote Agenda 2030, Democracy and Human Rights.’
  • Researching human rights principals and SDG topics implementation in Bandung and East Lampung (Indonesia), Nagpur (India), Bucay, (The Philippines), and Gwangju. This research was developed further for key stakeholders at the local, national, and regional levels, including academicians, local government, journalists and civil society organisations (CSO)s.
  • Implementing Blended Learning Courses (BLCs) for local governments from various countries.
  • Developing an ‘Indonesia Program’ in partnership with the Indonesian Directorate of Human Rights (Dirjen HAM) to build on human rights-friendly city methods as examples to the world.
  • Assisting Dirjen HAM in developing templates for evaluating human rights-friendly cities

Toward More Inclusive Societies

One of RWI’s and the RAPP’s strategic priorities is to realise more inclusive societies in the context of human rights and SDGs. A society that is more inclusive means:

  • Increasing availability and application of human rights-based inclusion models
  • Promoting the inclusion and participation of migrants, displaced people and refugees in processes that affect them.
  • Creating more accessible and effective remedies for the protection of human rights and advancing inclusion.
  • Increasing the capacities of regional academic institutions to mainstream gender-based approaches to human rights.
  • Improving local stakeholders’ capacities and collaborations to promote human rights, gender equality, and SDGs.
  • Strengthening and expanding the knowledge base of relevant networks on human rights, gender equality and the environment.
  • Enabling just, inclusive and sustainable development at global, regional, national and community levels.

RWI at a Glance


RWI is a charitable trust founded in 1984. It is named after Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who assisted thousands of people at risk in Europe during World War II, and primarily funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

The Institute is based in Lund, Sweden, with field offices in Amman (Jordan), Beijing (China), Istanbul (Turkey), Jakarta (Indonesia), Nairobi (Kenya), and Phnom Penh (Cambodia).