Fall 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 SDG16+

Pathfinders at HLPF 2022

On July 12, the Pathfinders hosted an in-person reception with friends and colleagues from permanent missions and partner organizations after over two years of COVID restrictions. It was an opportunity to come together, thank our partners for their continued collaboration, and recognize the collective work of the SDG16+ community to further peace, justice, and inclusion as we look to the SDG Summit, the Summit of the Future, and beyond.

Pathfinders meet with the PGA

Just in advance of UNGA 77, the Pathfinders met with the then-incoming President of the General Assembly, Mr. Csaba Kőrösi, to discuss priorities for the upcoming General Assembly session, exchange ideas on areas for collaboration, and provide a briefing on the work of the Grand Challenges, including plans for the end of 2022 and early 2023. H.E. Yoka Brandt, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, hosted this meeting, this year’s third gathering of Pathfinders Permanent and Deputy Permanent Representatives.

Global People’s Assembly

On September 21, the International Day of Peace, SDG16+ Program Associate Director, Maggie Williams joined the Global People’s Assembly for a civil society dialogue on peace and prevention to speak about SDG16+, including progress amidst unprecedented challenges, and upcoming opportunities for civil society mobilization, addressing HLPF 2023 and the SDG Summit, the New Agenda for Peace and the Summit of the Future, and the Youth, Peace and Security agenda. She spoke alongside Kavita Desai, Quaker UN Office and Theophilus Ekpon, Centre for Sustainable Development and Education in Africa.

Preparing the ground for the SDGs and UN Summits in 2023

On October 4, Maggie Williams participated in the second workshop of the Friends of Governance, hosted by the Permanent Mission of Romania on behalf of the Friends of Governance for Sustainable Development and UN-DESA. At the workshop, participants discussed and reflected on preparations for the SDG Summit. Maggie shared five priorities to consider: (1) demonstrate that we’re listening (2) amplify SDG16+’s relevance to the crises we face to galvanize relevant action in advance of the Summit; (3) invest in the interlinked nature of the SDGs; (4) lean in on civil society, regional organizations and a multistakeholder approach; and (5) use key milestones to build momentum.

“In a world where there may be different versions of development, showing that success on the SDGs is what protects an inclusive development vision.”

2. The latest on Halving Global Violence

Recent Updates

Halving Global Violence Task Force Meeting

In early September, members of the Halving Global Violence Task Force met for the first time in person in Geneva. Over the course of two days, Task Force members reflected on what has happened to date, brainstormed future activities, and discussed next year’s anticipated flagship report.

While in Geneva, Task Force members also enjoyed the opportunity to meet with the Geneva peacebuilding community at the event co-hosted by the Geneva Cities Hub (GCH) and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform (GPP).

International Peace Day, Peace Day Live, and Peace In Our Cities Anniversary

September 21 marked both International Peace Day around the world, as well as the third anniversary of Peace in Our Cities. In celebration, two members of the Halving Global Violence Task Force participated in Peace Day Live, an annual initiative of Peace One Day.

“The UN was founded with the mandate of preventing the scourge of war.” — Tuesday Reitano, Member, Halving Violence Task Force

“We need to act better, faster, together. SDG16 to me is a cross-pillar SDG because it’s really important. It’s about peace, social justice, ending violence, ending deprivation of liberties, about transparency.” — Dr. Najat Maala M’Jid, Member, Halving Violence Task Force Member

Feminist Foreign Policy Conference

On September 16, GENSAC’s coordinator Farida Nabourema joined Maritza Chan, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the UN, the Small Arms Survey, and the UNDP South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, for a panel convened by the German Foreign Office during the Feminist Foreign Policy conference held in Berlin on September 15. The panel discussed the gender lens on arms control non-proliferation and disarmament.

Out of the Shadows: Addressing the Gendered Impacts of Urban Violence Through the Arms Trade Treaty

On August 23, together with partners, we hosted a virtual side event to the Eighth Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty discussing how to leverage the treaty to reduce urban gun violence and mitigate its gendered impacts.

Watch the discussion, here.

Mayors for Peace at UNGA

Mayor Marvin Rees of Bristol (UK) — champion of the Peace in Our Cities — Global Parliament of Mayors resolution on reducing urban violence — joined the annual Brookings -Rockefeller 17 Rooms meeting which took place on the sidelines of UNGA. This year, Room 16 was curated by our partner, Violence, Inequality and Power Lab, and dedicated to making progress on reducing urban violence.

Mayor Rees also took part in a Strong Cities Network high-level event, during which he made a persuasive case for violence reduction and shared key insights: “Cities are self-organizing…but we need partnerships with national governments and international organizations to make headway.”

Mayors on a Global Stage

Peace in Our Cities member, Palmira, Colombia — represented by Mayor Óscar Escobar and his team — was awarded the prestigious UCLG Peace Prize at UCLG’s Congress in Daejeon, South Korea this year. The Prize celebrates successful initiatives undertaken by local governments to build peace in their communities, like Palmira’s PAZOS initiative, and stimulates others to follow suit.

The Peace in Our Cities secretariat congratulated partners from Palmira, noting that: “the recognition Palmira has earned further showcases the important role cities and local governments play in efforts to reduce violence and build peace.”

In Case You Missed It

  • Pathfinders’ Bojan Francuz authored a blog on what Mechelen, Belgium can teach other cities about advancing peace: read it here.
  • Read the long-anticipated Peace in Our Cities — Global Parliament of Mayors follow up report to the world’s first-ever resolution on reducing urban violence. The report measures progress against the resolution, and its 11 commitments to reduce urban violence and build urban peace. Read the report here

Coming Up:

  • November 3rd at 16:30–17:45 CET — Peace in Our Cities is hosting an event during Geneva Peace Week. This online event — “City-led investments for peace within a context of compounding crises” — will discuss the Peace Incentive Fund and explore what a second iteration of the micro-grant program could look like. Please register your interest here.The Peace Incentive Fund funded nine violence reduction and prevention projects in eight PiOC member cities. This panel event will spotlight members that were supported through the first phase of the Fund to discuss its impact and their vision for the future, namely: Daniela Reina, City of Palmira and winner of UCLG Peace Prize; Werner Van Herle, City of Mechelen; Noemí Pizano, Guadalajara; Beatrice Nzovu, Life & Peace Institute.

3. The latest on Justice for All

Recent Updates

Indonesia Netherlands Legal Updates

On September 20, the Indonesia Judicial Research Society, the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and the Pathfinders’ Justice for All program co-organized a hybrid panel discussion at the Indonesia Netherlands Legal Update (INLU) 2022. The session examined how Indonesia’s progress on people-centered justice (including the 2019 Access to Justice Index and the 2020–2022 OGP National Action Plan) can be linked with, and highlighted in, global processes on justice. Moderated by the Program Director, Swati Mehta, the session also explored ways in which other countries, including North Macedonia and Colombia, are using justice data to develop people-centered policies and how this could be of relevance in the Indonesian context.

OECD Riga Global Access to Justice Roundtable

Jointly hosted between OECD and the Government of Latvia, from 21–22 September in Riga, the 2022 OECD Global Roundtable on Access to Justice was convened to advance SDG 16’s call to ensure equal access to justice for all, focusing on making people-centered justice transformation happen. Pathfinders’ Justice for All Program Director, Swati Mehta, participated in this in-person event and emphasized the importance of taking a people-centered justice approach in designing solutions to the many justice challenges faced by indigenous people, minority communities and people living with disabilities.

Open Americas

The Open America conference took place in the Dominican Republic from 26–29 September. This reunion of diverse communities allowed actors to connect, in-person, to work together for a more open, democratic and sustainable America. NYU Center on International Cooperation fellow, María Fernanda Rodríguez, attended this gathering on behalf of the Ibero-American Alliance on Justice and took part in a panel discussion on innovation and the use and openness of data in the field of justice. These conversations are critical to ensuring governments can deliver sustainable, resilient, people-centered policies.

In case you missed it

  • The Young Justice Leaders, a group of youth change makers from around the world working to achieve people-centered justice for all, published their workplan. Visit their recently launched webpage to learn more about the cohort’s work, past and upcoming events, publications, and more.
  • Vino Lucero, a Young Justice Leader, represented the cohort at a workshop for human rights defenders (HRDs) on “Enhancing knowledge of and engagement with United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms” held between 03 and 05 October in Thailand. Hosted by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Regional Office for South-East Asia, in cooperation with UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and the ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (ASC) and with the support of the Government of Sweden, the workshop focused on enhancing basic human rights monitoring, reporting and documentation skills with a focus on strengthening engagement with the UN human rights mechanisms, including the UN Treaty Bodies, Special Procedures and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.
  • ODI, and Pathfinders published two papers: one examining the landscape of aid and investment in justice systems, and a second exploring the potential for paralegals to increase access to justice for unsentenced detainees in low-income countries.
  • Emily E. Arnold-Fernández, founding President and CEO of Asylum Access, Research Affiliate at University of London’s School of Advanced Studies, and consultant for NYU’s Center on International Cooperation and Pathfinders wrote a paper on legal empowerment and the refugee community. This paper grapples with legal empowerment, looking at its role and availability as well as how it is practiced in relation to refugee communities.
  • Pathfinders’ Nate Edwards authored a paper on Colombia’s support for Venezuelan migrants and refugees, exploring how the country has approached rights for those newly arriving.
  • On the 14th September, Global Citizen, in partnership with the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies and the Open Society Foundation, hosted a virtual stakeholder consultation ahead of the 77th United Nations General Assembly to discuss the global justice gap and to make recommendations on how to advance SDG16 and achieve Justice for All.

Coming up

4. The latest on… Inequality & Exclusion

Recent updates

Alliance for Action on Inequality and Division (AAID)

In early October, Pathfinders hosted the inaugural retreat of the Alliance for Action on Inequality and Division (AAID). AAID will bring together leaders from a diverse range of countries, multilateral organizations, and key civil society groups to catalyze tangible progress in reducing inequality, exclusion, and division.

Representatives of Sierra Leone, Canada, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Mexico, Timor Leste, and Tunisia, as well as leaders and experts from Oxfam, Open Society Foundations, UN ESCWA, UNAIDS, and ITUC, OECD, and the Center for Global Development met to set out a path for the new Alliance, identifying the priority policy areas and opportunities for joint action to tackle inequality and division within and across countries. Members of the AAID will continue to meet and work together in the upcoming years to provide a united voice on key issues such as global financing, narratives to counter polarization, and the challenge of delivering visible improvement in people’s lives under a fiscal squeeze.

Countering Divisive Narratives Workshop

Together with our partners, Spain’s Ministerio de Igualdad, we co-hosted a global workshop in Madrid to discuss urgent concerns over growing use of divisive political rhetoric, pitting groups on basis of gender, race and ethnicity, immigration status, and views on COVID-19 restrictions against each other. This workshop facilitated discussions amongst a mix of progressive politicians and communication experts on creating powerful, shared, and compelling narratives with the aim of uniting society and building support for policies that create more equal, just, and inclusive societies.

SLURC 2022 Conference

Pathfinders is working with government, civil society, and academic partners in Sierra Leone to develop a national housing strategy to promote inclusive urban development. The “Tackling Urban Inequalities Conference 2022”, co-hosted by the Pathfinders with the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre and the International Institute for the Environment and Development, highlighted the role of housing as a vehicle to combat inequality and exclusion in urban areas. The four day workshop that followed the conference brought together representatives from the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning, mayors, town planners, experts and residents of informal settlements to explore policy solutions and approaches to reducing inequalities and fostering inclusive growth in urban Sierra Leone.

Emancipating Education — Event with Indonesian Minister of Education

We were pleased to co-host a lecture by Nadiem Anwar Makarim, Indonesia’s Minister of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology on the learning crisis in Indonesia, especially for tertiary education. Minister Makarim highlighted aspects of Indonesia’s education strategy, including transforming the country’s education assessments into a values-based system — one of the first countries in the world to do so. As he put it: “We don’t want to know what you know, we want to know what you can do.”

5. Staff Updates

Swati Mehta, who previously served as a Senior Program Officer on the Pathfinders’ Justice team, has recently been named the Program Director, Justice for All. Swati is a passionate believer in people-centered justice as a tool for empowering people and bringing about social change. She brings a rich array of experience of over 20 years, working on rule of law and access to justice We look forward to her thought leadership in steering the program forward. Congratulations, Swati!

Plus 16 things we’re reading

  1. Article: UN General Assembly Casts Spotlight on Split Between Rich and Poor (Devex)
  2. Article: In Global Slowdown, China Holds Sway Over Countries’ Fates (New York Times)
  3. Open Letter: 2022 Open Letter to Permanent Representatives to the United Nations in advance of the annual Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security (NGO Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security)
  4. Article: 10 Challenges for the UN in 2022–2023 (Crisis Group)
  5. Editorial: Wartime Economics Come to Europe (New York Times)
  6. Article: Why Is This Colorful Little Wheel Suddenly Everywhere in Japan? (New York Times)
  7. Article: “Twin Summits” to Pave Way for Sustainable, Equitable, and Inclusive Future (SDG Knowledge Hub)
  8. Article: What Is the Global Governance Deficit and How Can We Address It? (Global Citizen)
  9. Paper: Gender and Rising Authoritarianism: Implications for Women’s Political Empowerment and Participation (Swisspeace)
  10. Blog: Is the risk of crime against businesses greater in more unequal countries? (Brookings Institute)
  11. Brief: Third brief of the Global Crisis Response Group (GCRG) on Food, Energy and Finance (UN GCRG)
  12. Report: World Economic Outlook Report, October 2022 (IMF)
  13. Article: UN Member States Identify Priorities, Concerns for UNGA 77 (SDG Knowledge Hub)
  14. Blog: Eight Ways Ombuds Institutes Can Contribute to the SDGs (Medium)
  15. Article: Armies Are Re-Learning How To Fight In Cities (Economist)
  16. Report: States of Fragility 2022 (OECD)