August 2021 Newsletter


Welcome to your monthly roundup of 16+ news and views from the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies. If you find this newsletter useful, please pass it on to others working on the SDG16+ targets for peace, justice and inclusion. Subscribe or unsubscribe here. Visit our website: and follow us on Twitter at: @SDG16Plus.

1. Pathfinders at HLPF 2021

(UN Photo / Manuel Elías)

At Pathfinders, we continue to accelerate SDG16+ implementation and spotlight the need for SDG16+ to be at the heart of a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive pandemic recovery. At this year’s HLPF, which brought together the themes of recovery and setting a path towards achieving the SDGs, the Pathfinders engaged in activities centered on delivering one key message: that SDG16+ is an enabling pillar for the 2030 Agenda.

2. “The Dawn is Ours” — HLPF Policy Brief

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the world was off-track to meet the SDG16+ targets by 2030. 5.1 billion people lack meaningful access to justice. An additional 71 million people are expected to be pushed to poverty in 2020, and domestic violence has increased by 30% since the pandemic. There is an opportunity now to not only recover from the pandemic but to recover stronger and achieve a new normal of peace, justice, and inclusion.

Our new briefing, “The Dawn is Ours — Moving Forward Together for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies,” outlines the global agenda and policy priorities for peace, justice, and inclusion — windows of opportunity to drive progress. It highlights five areas for collective action that we should unite behind to achieve measurable results by the SDG Summit in 2023: mobilize urgent SDG16+ action, strengthen and sustain political leadership, accelerate SDG16+ implementation, sustain momentum through global advocacy, and forge coalitions for success.

The brief also spotlights 35 extraordinary actions and innovations by Pathfinder countries to provide justice for all, prevent violence, and tackle inequalities and exclusion during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some notable examples include:

  • Portugal granted temporary residency rights to all migrants and asylum seekers to access the public healthcare system.
  • Argentina passed a resolution exempting people at risk of gender-based violence from isolation measures.
  • Sierra Leone’s justice sector continued to provide justice for all. Between 2018 and 2020, there was a 93% increase in the number of people that received free legal services and representation through their Legal Aid Board.

Read the policy brief here.

3. Justice for All and the Social Contract in Peril

The social and political dislocations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic threaten to break the social contract between states, communities, and people. Actions taken now — or a failure to make needed reforms — can have consequences that will be felt for decades.

In the newly published, Justice for All and the Social Contract in Peril, the third and final briefing of the Justice in a Pandemic series, the Pathfinders Justice team, together with more than 30 partners from around the world examine the role of justice in combating the negative social impacts of the pandemic.

Justice is a critical sector in the relationship between states and people. Too often, justice systems have been responsible for fueling distrust and weakening this relationship. If justice actors are to play a central role in the recovery from the pandemic, helping their societies to rebuild in a fair, inclusive and sustainable way, people-centered justice is needed more than ever.

Read more here.

4. Voluntary National Reviews — Highlights from Pathfinders

This year, 17 Pathfinder countries presented their Voluntary National Reviews. Below, we have highlighted key messages from their statements:

  • Afghanistan said that they are working to integrate their national peace and development framework with the 2030 Agenda. They are creating a national indicator framework and an SDG Executive Committee, and four Technical Committees. They highlighted improvements in hunger, social protection, climate change resilience, and education. They emphasized the challenges related to their national conflicts and the efforts related to peace building.
  • Cabo Verde highlighted their achievements on gender equality, with a significant reduction of gender-based violence. They said that human capital is the leading accelerator of sustainable development, emphasizing the youth and improving education. They also mentioned the need to implement debt forgiveness to avoid the state’s blockage or collapse.
  • The Czech Republic emphasized the need for climate change resilience and committed to phasing out coal by 2038. They said that income inequality and the at-risk-of-poverty rate are low due to their effective social protection system and increased minimum wage in recent years. The pandemic has created a significant challenge to their social system. They highlighted the importance of not leaving anyone behind, especially in regards to gender equality.
  • Dominican Republic explained that they introduced many public policies to combat the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including social protection plans, unemployment cash flow, and direct support to various productive sectors. This has left them with a fiscal deficit of 7.3% of their GDP. They highlighted the need to reshape the global debt through refinancing based on a worldwide fund available to all countries.
  • Germany stated that global responsibility is one of the principles of the German Sustainability Strategy and that this is reflected by their position as the second-largest donor of Official Development Assistance. They highlighted progress in human well-being and capabilities, social justice, and climate action.
  • Guatemala committed to dedicating 7% of its national budget to the SDGs. They are focusing on standardizing agriculture to increase food. They highlighted their achievements in improving access to healthcare, having built four hospitals in five months. They are also increasing accountability and transparency in the use of public resources.
  • Indonesia said that the urban poor has been the most affected by the pandemic and that the poverty rate was on the decline but increased again post-pandemic. They stated that government spending on social protection has reached a historic level and that they continue to invest in significant infrastructure projects. They highlighted improvements on greenhouse gas emissions, freedom of press, and proper legal identification for citizens.
  • Mexico said that they were strengthening the institutional structure to ensure coordination at the highest level of decision-making. The federal government works with local governments, the private sector, civil society, and academia to implement the 2030 Agenda. They want a paradigm change to ensure that all sectors of society have an essential role in the development plan.
  • Spain asserted that they will focus on people to rebuild their economy and that the 2030 Agenda will enable their rebuilding process, ensuring that no one is left behind. They have passed legislation to protect the LGBTQ+ population and to guarantee the rights of women. They are also focusing on creating jobs for those in rural areas.
  • Sweden said that they are committed to implementing the 2030 Agenda through a whole-of-society approach. They highlighted the need to have engagement from all sectors, including the youth and local governments. They highlighted the crucial role of the private sector. They are also committed to promoting democracy and gender equality around the world through feminist foreign policy.
  • Tunisia highlighted that access to public services like water, electricity, health, and education is almost generalized. They are implementing a multi-stakeholder committee dedicated to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. They also highlighted the importance of the youth to their goals and enacting the Tunisian Startup Act to provide for the needs of young people starting a business.
  • Uruguay highlighted the need to have people-centered policies and to work to achieve more peaceful societies. They showcased their educational programs aimed at enhancing learning for those in socio-educational vulnerability. Uruguay presented the establishment of a Solidarity Fund that increased investment from 1.4 to 1.7% of GDP in 2021 and developed a National Resettlement Plan.

To read the complete VNR reports, visit the UN DESA website here.

5. Pathfinders Events

People-centered Recovery for a Better World: Reigniting SDG16+ Action

This high-level HLPF side event, hosted by the Pathfinders in association with Indonesia, Sierra Leone, and Sweden, took place on Friday, July 9. It explored opportunities and actions to build peaceful, just, and inclusive societies and deliver a speedy recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and featured the launch of our first Annual HLPF Publication, “The Dawn is Ours — Moving Forward Together for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies”.

Watch the full event here.

The Road to Inclusion: Overcoming Prejudice, Racism, and Discrimination

This high-level HLPF side event, hosted by the Governments of Canada and Costa Rica and the Pathfinders took place on Monday, July 12. It explored the high costs of exclusion and deepening inequalities across the world and practical approaches to building more inclusive societies that respect diversity.

Watch the full event here.

6. Partner Events

Mainstreaming SDG16+ in VNRs and National Development Planning

This SDG Learning, Training and Practice session explored SDG16+ implementation and reporting. It highlighted best practices from Cabo Verde and Costa Rica, examined research on gender, justice, and migration, and showcased opportunities to strengthen data collection and scale innovation.

Watch the full event here.

SDG16+: A United Framework to Build Forward Better

This high-level side event brought together representatives from various key SDG16+ constituencies to spotlight SDG16+ as the foundation for reset and recovery efforts, and to build more resilient societies and institutions going forward. During the event, the Global SDG16+ Coalition launched a joint statement calling on the global community to make SDG16+ the foundation for reset and recovery efforts.

Watch the full event here.

7. Beyond HLPF

  • Pathfinders, along with the USAID New Justice Program in Ukraine hosted the Second National Consultation on People-Centered Justice in Ukraine on 15 July. The session boasted a robust line up of speakers across sectors ranging from the Ministry of Justice, the Department of Labor, civil society groups, and international experts. Following the first consultation in 2020, two roadmaps were prepared by diverse working groups on gender-based violence and informal labor. The discussion highlighted the importance of data collection, evidence-based policy, and an interdisciplinary approach to meet people’s legal needs.
  • Pathfinders and the Center for International Legal Cooperation brought together over 60 representatives from government institutions and civil society in Indonesia ,as well as international organizations for the virtual launch of the Bahasa Indonesia translation of the Justice for All report. By showcasing national good practices and discussing key challenges in achieving justice for all, the event emphasized the importance of a paradigm shift towards putting people at the center of justice systems.
  • On 28 July, Farida Nabourema, coordinator for the Gender Equality Network for Small Arms Control (GENSAC) delivered a statement on behalf of the network during the seventh biennial meeting of states on the United Nations Program of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons In All Its Aspects (BMS7). The statement calls on member states to provide equal opportunities for women in decision- and policy-making, and to increase women’s meaningful participation in the security sector to advance small arms control.
  • Also on the sidelines of BMS7, GENSAC and WILPF co-hosted a discussion exploring recent findings on gender responsive small arms control, highlighting the challenges that research institutes and grassroots organizations face when it comes to collecting data on the gendered impact of small arms misuse and small arms control. The discussion featured insights from speakers including Jane Viola Felber (German Federal Foreign Office), Folade Mutota (WINAD), Daniel de Torres (Small Arms Survey), Anne Atambo (WILPF Kenya), Khuder Hamad Hassan (Iraqi lawyer and activist), and Fairlie Chappuis (independent consultant and author of the GENSAC’s latest issue brief — now available in French!).

8. Looking Ahead: UNGA 76

(UN Photo / Cia Pak)

Join the Pathfinders for several high-level events during this year’s UN General Assembly!

  • Peace One Day Live Global Digital Experience 2021 (September 21): The Pathfinders is partnering with Peace One Day to launch the Halving Global Violence Task Force. The event will unite international artists, leading actors and leading champions to celebrate the International Day of Peace.
  • “Delivering the UN common agenda: Action to address inequality and exclusion” (September 23): Marking the launch of the flagship report of the Pathfinders’ Grand Challenge on Inequality and Exclusion, this high-level event will unite leaders of government, international institutions, and civil society who will showcase rising demand for action and demonstrate that tackling inequality and exclusion is possible. This event will be co-sponsored by the Pathfinders and Leaders Network. Stay tuned for more information on how to register!
  • Global Citizen Live (September 25): Pathfinders is partnering with Global Citizen for their 24-hour event as a part of their campaign, a Recovery Plan for the World, to spotlight the need for people-centered justice and equity for a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the pandemic.

Plus 16 things we’re reading

  1. Social Contracts: A New Social Contract for Working People — An interview with ITUC’s Sharan Burrow (Pathfinders)
  2. Social Contracts: Reimagining the world through new social contracts: An interview with Philip J. Jennings (Pathfinders)
  3. SDG16+ Champions of Change: The advocate fighting poverty by leveraging technology — An interview with Zain Ashraf (Pathfinders)
  4. SDG16+ Champions of Change: The activist building a movement to end violence against children — An interview with Howard Taylor (Pathfinders)
  5. Blog: Terror and Politics (Pathfinders)
  6. Blog: Women’s Issues are Justice Issues (Pathfinders)
  7. Blog: A Catalyst for Change: Access to Justice and Gender Equality (Pathfinders)
  8. Policy Brief: How to align city strategies with the SDGs (Brookings)
  9. Article: Life Under Coronavirus: Children’s Views on their Experiences of their Human Rights (The International Journal of Children’s Rights)
  10. News: ‘Honk for humane jobs’: NC activists challenge subsidies for weapons maker (Responsible Statecraft)
  11. Report: Governance, Crime, and Conflict Initiative Evidence Wrap-up (Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab)
  12. Blog: Lockdowns reduced urban crime by over a third around the globe — but some cities benefited more than others (The Conversation)
  13. Briefing: COVID-19: The Impact on Terrorism & Extremism (Strong Cities Network)
  14. Blog: Five Key Considerations To Make the U.S. Global Fragility Strategy Work (USIP)
  15. Report: Climate Change and Crime in Cities (Igarapé Institute)
  16. Report: The Dignity Report (Dignity Project)