December 2020 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: Forging ahead in 2021

(UN Photo)

We are approaching the end of an extraordinary year… A year where we have had to re-assess everything around us: not only our security and health, the safety of our loved ones, the resilience of our institutions, but also ourselves and our own strength. As we approach the close of 2020, you will hear a lot of people saying that next year will be better, that we will get out of lockdown, that the vaccine is close, that we will return to normal. But the reality is that there will be no going “back to normal”. Our world will look different. Millions more people will face unemployment, hunger and extreme poverty. We will continue to see poverty and anger undermining the resilience of many institutions. Our respect for human rights, tolerance, and democracy will be further tested under the weight of our own prejudices, and societies’ increasing polarization and escalating anger. We will likely see countries and institutions stumble, with many leaders failing where others prevail.

We, at Pathfinders, have done what we can to contribute to and amplify solutions in 2020, with new research, data, analysis, and commentary on the challenges arising in areas of peace, justice, and inclusion. Throughout, we have presented new information; pinpointed emerging challenges; highlighted risks and possibilities; underlined the urgency of the situation; and identified evidence-based strategies and solutions. We have repeatedly — urgently — made the case for addressing crisis issues of peace, justice, and inclusion now before we have bigger problems on our hands.

In 2021, we will do our best to contribute to strengthening leadership, governance, and institution-building towards peace, justice, and inclusion. As we move forward, Pathfinders plans to shift more attention to communications and advocacy in our work and to highlight the policy coherence among and interlinkages between justice, inequality, exclusion, and violence. We are already planning our engagement with numerous crucial platforms that give us an opportunity to make issues of peace, justice and inclusion the basis of a global reset and resilient recovery. In 2021, we will ensure that the phrases: “halve global violence!”, “people-centered justice!”, “bridge the gap!”, and “prevent exclusion!” are heard loud and clear throughout corridors of power.

In that spirit, we wish you — and us all — a happy new year!

Read our director’s, Liv Tørres’, full message on our blog.

2. Halving violence in 2021

(Photo: Sheila Fitzgerald /

If the Movement to Halve Global Violence by 2030 (HGV) were a house, in 2020 Pathfinders labored on its foundation. While bolstering its existing cornerstones — such as the Peace in Our Cities network tackling urban violence and GENSAC, which focuses on gender-responsive small arms control — we worked to form and set the other bricks — institutional, political, financial — needed to set a firm basis for the construction ahead.

These efforts continue into 2021, when we will also summon some of the world’s best ‘architects’ to take the building forward, by forming the Halving Violence Task Force. The Task Force will bring together a small group of thought leaders on violence reduction — ministerial-level government officials as Co-Chairs, civil society organizational leaders, and world-renowned experts — to shape a global debate about how to deliver the HGV commitment. The first Task Force meeting is being planned to take part in late March 2021 as a virtual high-level meeting, when the ‘architects’ will convene to validate and deliver HGV’s strategic blueprint.

We will also assemble the team of ‘builders’ that will assist the architects realize their vision and strategy, by consolidating a group of experienced experts and researchers with key knowledge and openness to innovation, supported by non-governmental organizational partners that can help define, ‘translate to the real world’ and amplify policy prescriptions. From the Pathfinders’ side, we will strive in 2021 to garner the needed building blocks and materials — action-oriented research, political capital, and resources — to allow the HGV ‘house’ to rise and become robust for years to come.

3. Justice for all in 2021

(Justice Imman Ali, Supreme Court of Bangladesh)

As we head into this dark winter, with reserves wearing thin and patience running out, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

2020 was not all bad. Under the stress of the pandemic, we have seen ingenuity and resilience, new collaborations, and a surge in innovation. Across the world, in the wake of the US Black Lives Matter movement, many different voices have come together to demand an end to racism, to systemic inequalities and structural injustices. The need to empower people and communities, to put people at the heart of justice and to work towards fair outcomes has never been more prominent. This continues to inspire us and all those working to realize the promise of equal access to justice for all.

2021, we hope, will be much better. A year in which we will create real change across the globe, where the rubber will hit the road for people-centered justice. Where an increasing number of countries follow in the footsteps of Ukraine, who started to develop its national roadmap for people-centered justice this year. Pathfinders will continue to highlight the life-changing work of champions of change. We will engage with justice leaders at the global, national and regional level, and support our partners and grow our network.

Most importantly we hope that 2021 will mean more justice in people’s lives: that a woman no longer has to seek her husband’s permission to open a business; that children are no longer put in detention but receive alternative punishment, or better yet, the care and support they need; that people struggling with debts are not driven to despair by collection agents and that those who are exploited at work are able to stand up for their rights.

We will keep working alongside you as we build a world where justice for the few becomes justice for all.

4. Inclusion in 2021

(Photo: Sanjoy Karmakar /

2020 has been a year of profound trauma. A year in which inequalities of all kinds have been both exposed and exacerbated. As many have said, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that while we may face the same storm, we are not all in the same boat. It has shown too, that some of our lowest paid and most poorly treated workers — those in social care, food and refuse — are those most essential in keeping society going. For us at the Grand Challenge on Inequality and Exclusion, this context has increased our ambition, our commitment, and our belief in the solution-focused policy work we do.

Despite the widespread use of the ‘Build Back Better’ slogan, there are noticeable gaps in action. In 2021, the Grand Challenge on Inequality and Exclusion aims to catalyze political leadership and transform commitments to reduce inequality and exclusion into concrete actions on the ground. Our research — culminating in a final report in September — will include consultations with ministers and policymakers in the Advisory Council, as well as citizens and civil society leaders in partner countries to ensure the resulting recommendations are both politically feasible and impactful.

The stakes are high. Without focused intervention, 2021 is likely to bring yet more inequality. The economic fallout of the pandemic is on-going and is already hitting the poorest and most marginalized groups disproportionately, resulting in a double whammy for some groups — most likely to suffer the health consequences and economic hardship. It is vital that that Grand Challenge uses our policy work with our partner countries to show that change is not just desirable, but possible.

5. Champions of Change

In 2020, we expanded our Champions of Change interview series to highlight more visionary individuals, advocates, and organizations who are making an impact in their communities, and helping to create more peaceful, just and inclusive societies (SDG16+).

In case you missed it, explore our interview series with these inspiring leaders and practitioners:

  • Najat Maalla M’jid, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence against Children
  • Clinton Washington of the Bronx Freedom Fund, a pioneering bail reform advocacy organization and provider
  • Ghida Anani, founder and director of ABAAD — Resource Center for Gender Equality in Lebanon
  • Emmanuel Ametepey, Executive Director of Youth Advocates Ghana (YAG) and a Convener of the African Youth SDGs Summit
  • Nikole Nelson, Executive Director of Alaska Legal Services, and its Partnering for Native Health program is a medical-legal partnership (MLP) that addresses health and justice problems simultaneously
  • Kasha Nabagesera, a LGBTQI rights activist based in Uganda, and founder of Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG)
  • Kashif Siddiqi, footballer for Oxford United FC and Co-Founder of Football for Peace Global
  • Ilwad Elman, Chief Operating Officer at the Elman Peace Center in Somalia
  • Lt. Col. Iman Elman, Head of Planning and Strategy in the Somali Armed Forces
  • Michele Leering, Executive Director of the Community Advocacy & Legal Centre (CALC) is a non-profit legal clinic in Ontario, Canada
  • Dr. Scilla Elworthy, founder of the Oxford Research Group, Peace Direct, and The Business Plan for Peace
  • Zurab Sanikidze, Chairman of the Public Service Development Agency in Georgia’s Ministry of Justice
  • Boniface Mwangi, an award-winning Kenyan photographer and founder of PAWA254
  • Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, lawyer and women’s rights activist working to combat racial injustice
  • Adeyinka Aroyewun and Achere Cole, Director and Deputy Director of the Lagos Multi-Door Courthouse in Nigeria
  • Clara Luz Flores Carrales, Mayor of Escobedo, México and member of the Peace in Our Cities campaign
  • Ariane Kaze, President of Women United for Peace in the Great Lakes Region in Burundi and member of the Gender Equality Network on Small Arms Control (GENSAC)
  • Justice Imman Ali, a judge in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh pushing forward the country’s establishment of virtual courts and electronic bail in reaction to COVID-19

Stay tuned in 2021 for more interviews with innovators and leaders driving action on SDG16+!

6. We’re hiring!

Pathfinders is seeking two Senior Program Officers to join our Pathfinders for Justice program.

  • The Senior Program Officer National Action will focus particularly on promoting action for justice for all at the national level in countries around the world, by raising political ambition and playing a catalytic role in the development of national strategies and plans for people-centered justice.

Plus 16 things we’re reading

  1. Policy briefs: “City playbook for advancing the SDGs” (Brookings)
  2. Video: “Business Leaders for Justice Coalition: A Message from Mary Robinson” (Pathfinders) (For more on the Business Leaders for Justice Coalition, visit
  3. Report: “Justice in the Time of COVID-19: Challenges to the Judiciary in Latin America & the Caribbean” (English, Spanish) (ILAC)
  4. Report: “Great Transitions: Doubling down on the Sustainable Development Goals” (Brookings)
  5. Report: “Addressing conventional arms risks and impacts to prevent conflict and build peace: What more should the United Nations do?” (UNIDIR)
  6. “The Elders reflect on the responsibility of men to end gender-based violence” (The Elders)
  7. Opinion: “COVID-19 exposes need for radical policies to tackle inequality” by Ben Phillips (Al Jazeera)
  8. Feature: “The Violence White Supremacy Issue” (The Current, Jigsaw)
  9. “Justice Policy Series, Part II: Open Justice” (Open Government Partnership)
  10. “Biggest takeaways from the 2020 Global Terrorism Index in six charts” (Vision of Humanity)
  11. “Grassroots organisations are essential to empowering the communities they serve” (The Elders)
  12. “Ilwad Elman and Luca Bucken talk Peace Building and Women Involvement in Disarmament in Africa: (Modern Ghana)
  13. Opinion: “Foreign Governments Are Aiding Nigeria’s Violence Against Protesters” by Nosmot Gbadamosi (Foreign Policy)
  14. Videos: GENSAC member spotlights on Joseph Dube (IANSA) and Katherine Aguirre (Instituto Igarapé)
  15. Policy brief: “Why the international arms trade is a feminist issue — and what Germany can do about it” (CFFP & Heinrich Böll Stiftung)
  16. “The fight for a fair COVID-19 vaccine explained” (Amnesty International)