February 2022 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 — and check out the sdg16.plus website.


1. The latest on… Halving Global Violence

Action on Peace in Our Cities

Peace in Our Cities (PiOC), the urban violence initiative of the Movement to Halve Global Violence, continues to expand and scale the level of support to its members (city leaders and city based CSO partners). In January, the initiative hosted a mayoral roundtable in partnership with the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM). The event brought together mayors from Bristol (UK) to Niterói (Brazil), from Braga (Portugal) to Haifa (Israel), and leading violence prevention experts in dialogue on how to realize the ambition of 50% violence reduction by 2030 — as outlined in the first-ever international resolution articulating this ambition. A compilation of concrete initiatives and policy ideas to implement the resolution is slated to be introduced at the upcoming 11th World Urban Summit (WUF) in Katowice, Poland in June, and the GPM annual meeting, preceding it.

At the beginning of this year, PiOC also unveiled the impact report of its inaugural Peace Incentive Fund. The fund, managed by PiOC co-facilitator Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at University of San Diego, distributed mini-grants to nine recipients in eight cities to put evidence-based research into practice to reduce violence.

The network also started the year stronger as its long-standing partner, Stanley Center for Peace and Security, was elevated to the status of co-facilitating partner. They bring to the network a wealth of experience in convening, managing partnerships, and thought-leadership on prevention of identity-based mass violence.

Pathfinder countries spotlight Halving Global Violence in consultation on the New Peace Agenda

In the recently published Our Common Agenda report, the UN’s Secretary-General put forth ideas to reinvigorate the multilateral system. In a series of informal consultations, UN member states were asked to offer their reflections on the report, including in a 21–22 February dialogue focusing on peace, international law, and digital cooperation. During this consultation, H.E. Amb. Rodrigo A. Carazo, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the UN, presented a joint-statement on behalf of 15 countries expressing their support for the New Peace Agenda, and calling for a holistic and inclusive approach to violence prevention.

The statement spotlighted the Pathfinders’ movement to Halve Global Violence as an example of effective multi-stakeholder collaboration for the new Agenda. It also highlighted other Pathfinders’ initiatives, Peace in Our Cities and the Gender Equality Network for Small Arms Control (GENSAC) for their work in empowering cities and women (respectively) as relevant actors in these debates.

2. The latest on… Justice for All

Announcing — the Young Justice Leaders!

At last week’s Big Brainstorm, hosted by the Unlock the Future Coalition, Pathfinders’ Alisa Jimenez moderated a session on “Young People and Justice.” Participants heard about the upcoming World Justice Forum– an exciting opportunity for those working towards justice for all to come together in the lead up to the SDG Summit 2023. The event gathered innovative thinkers from across generations and areas of focus, identifying ways to seize this pivotal moment to ensure young leaders in the justice space become more deeply engaged and that their voices, solutions, and innovations are amplified amongst one another and with new audiences.

With that goal in mind, Pathfinders is excited to announce the Young Justice Leaders — a group of leaders who happen to be young, and who have been at the forefront of changing justice systems, justice outcomes, and challenging the status quo by centering people and their needs. This group will be busy, aiming to not only work with one another but to leverage, connect, and learn from one another’s networks and expertise. We cannot wait to begin this work. Please stay tuned for more to come!

Read more about who they are and what they’ll be up to, here.

UN Member States debate Our Common Agenda: People-centered justice is key to building trust

On 14 February, the President of the General Assembly convened the second thematic consultation on “Our Common Agenda”, focusing on the challenges of building trust and ensuring the rule of law, as well as ensuring more sustainable and inclusive financing for sustainable development. Among the interventions made by civil society members, Pathfinders for Justice Senior Advisor, Dr. Sam Muller and Task Force on Justice member Ms. Sara Hossain, made remarks supporting the Secretary-General’s assessment that justice systems have a critical role to play in rebuilding and maintaining trust. They concurred with the Secretary-General’s vision of the rule of law that puts people at the center and proffered insights of how this new people-centered vision should be inclusive, concrete, and practical with only one focus: delivery.

Look out for an upcoming blog co-authored by the Pathfinders for Justice with Sam Muller and Sara Hossain, sharing the key messages and takeaways from the session!

3. The latest on… Inequality and Exclusion

Pathfinders’ Grand Challenge on Inequality & Exclusion visits Sierra Leone

Pathfinders’ Faiza Shaheen meeting with directors at the Sierra Leone Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning.

In January, the Pathfinders Inequality & Exclusion team visited Sierra Leone to connect the findings and policies in the Grand Challenge’s flagship report to national, local, and international policy priorities in the country. The team met with governmental, civil society, and academic partners, including directors of the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Country Planning, and representatives of the Ministries of Finance, Health, and Justice, as well as organizations such as the Sierra Leone Urban Research Center, Campaign for Good Governance, and Youth Partnership for Peace & Development, among others. The visit featured discussions about access to affordable housing, youth inclusion and economic opportunities for young people, as well as financing for development mechanisms.

Pathfinders’ Paula Sevilla (left), Dr. Francis Kai-Kai, Minister of Planning and Economic Development Sierra Leone (middle), Pathfinders’ Faiza Shaheen (right)

In the upcoming months, Pathfinders will continue to work with its partners in Sierra Leone to generate research and knowledge exchange on priority policies to address SDG16+ targets, and engage in advocacy efforts to highlight these issues at the global level. The team is particularly grateful to the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development for their hospitality during the trip and engagement with the Pathfinders.

Are Countries Building Back Better?

Early this month, the LSE International Inequalities Institute partnered with the Pathfinders to hold, “Are Countries Building Back Better?”, a discussion centered on how countries are addressing inequality and exclusion, and identifying the key barriers to achieving the scale and speed of progress the pandemic has warranted.

Speakers drew on the findings and policy options from the Inequality and Exclusion flagship report to showcase ways in which political will, grassroots mobilization, and adequate financing can bring about equitable and inclusive societies.

  • Dr. Francis Mustapha Kai-Kai, Minister of Planning and Economic Development of Sierra Leone, called for equitable global vaccine distribution so that all countries can successfully vaccinate their populations and address the health emergency. He also pointed to the financial constraints brought about by the pandemic and the debt levels imposed on low- and middle-income countries.
  • University of Cambridge Professor Ha-Joon Chang described the shift in perspectives brought about by the pandemic, as we realize our interconnectedness and the importance of care.
  • Waleed Shahid, spokesperson and communications director for Justice Democrats, spoke to the successes of civil society in the United States in pushing for the Build Back Better agenda and the political challenges of implementation.
  • Pathfinders’ Faiza Shaheen insisted that inequality and exclusion are a product of decisions and political will, and are thus not inevitable, but that political leadership and grassroots organization are key to driving the agenda of equality and inclusion forward.

Find the full recording of the event, here.

In case you missed it — recent publications

Throughout 2022, be on the lookout for the “Solutions to Inequality” Blog series, in which Pathfinders’ Faiza Shaheen reflects on inspiring policy ideas and initiatives delivering greater equality from around the world. Read the first blogpost in the series, here.

In case you missed them, explore the most recent publications from of the Grand Challenge on Inequality and Exclusion:

4. We’re hiring!

Pathfinders Communications Consultant (6 month engagement)

We are seeking a communications professional, for parental leave coverage (based in New York or remotely), to provide essential communications support as well as contribute to the successful delivery of several key communications projects, starting in April 2022.

Learn more about this full-time consultancy position and how to apply (deadline: 27 February!), here.

Program Administrator

NYU CIC is seeking a talented Program Administrator to manage the administrative operations for the Director of CIC, including for the Pathfinders.

Learn more and apply, here.

5. Upcoming events

Stay tuned for these upcoming events and meetings:

  • World Bank Fragility Forum — Wednesday, 9 March at 11:30 AM-12:30 PM EST: Peace in Our Cities will host a panel exploring centralized urban violence prevention units. Register for the forum, here.
  • Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) — 14–25 March: Join hundreds of civil society representatives from around the world at the 66th session of the CSW, which will focus on, “achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes.” Note, all side events and parallel events will be fully virtual. More information, here.
  • SDG16+ Forum Annual Showcase: San José 2022 — 15–18 March: The SDG16+ Forum will host its annual showcase in San José, Costa Rica under the theme of “Strengthening Democracy to Achieve Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies”. Learn more, here.
  • Peace One Day Anti-Racism Live — 21 March: Peace One Day (in association with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) will host a live-streamed event on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. More information on the event, here, and stay tuned for details on Pathfinders’ participation.
  • World Justice Forum 2022–30 May-2 June: Registration is already open for the World Justice Forum 2022 which will tackle the root causes of our global rule of law crisis through three days of agenda setting, learning, and action focused on three intersecting themes — access to justice, anti-corruption and open government, and equal rights, and nondiscrimination. Stay tuned for more details on the agenda and high-level speakers! More information and registration, here.

Plus 16 things we’re reading

  1. Opinion: Our Future Is Being Discussed Now at the UN. How You Can Get Informed & Get Involved. (By Rubén Escalante-Hasbún, Global Citizen)
  2. Blog: “If we want peace, let us work for justice” People-centered justice lessons from the life and times of Archbishop Desmond Tutu (By Themba Mahleka, Pathfinders)
  3. Analysis: The joint OHCHR-UNDP-UNODC Survey Initiative to improve data availability of indicators of Sustainable Development Goal 16 (OCHR, UNDP, UNODC)
  4. Report: Geneva Peace Week 2021 Thematic Track Report — Confronting inequalities and advancing inclusion, peace, and SDG16 (Geneva Peacebuilding Platform)
  5. Report: Peace Incentive Fund (Peace in Our Cities, Kroc School Institute for Peace and Justice)
  6. Open Letter: WPL urges for immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and peace dialogue (WPL)
  7. Report: Civil Justice for All (American Academy of Arts & Sciences)
  8. Report: Beyond COVID-19: A feminist plan for sustainability and social justice (UN Women)
  9. Opinion: End the Pandemic of Violence Against Women (By Vandana Sharma and Isabela Salgado, Project Syndicate)
  10. Opinion: The End of Homicide — How to Halve Global Murders in a Decade (By Robert Muggah and Ilona Szabo de Carvalho, Foreign Affairs)
  11. Policy Paper: Future Thinking and Future Generations — Towards a Global Agenda to Understand, Act For, and Represent Future Generations in the Multilateral System (By David Steven and Bojan Francuz, UN Foundation)
  12. Report: Looking ahead: Trends & solutions for 2022 (NYU CIC)
  13. Policy Paper: Access to Justice for Women and the Rule of Law (The Elders)
  14. Podcast: Looking Beyond Stereotypes — Simitie Lavaly (Women Beyond Walls)
  15. Research: The global economic burden of violent conflict (By Olaf J de Groot, Carlos Bozzoli, Anousheh Alamir and Tilman Brück, Journal of Peace Research)
  16. Opinion: Can’t pay the court? Go to jail. Debtors’ prison lives on. (By Tony Messenger, Washington Post)