February 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: sdg16.plus and follow us on Twitter at: @SDG16Plus.

1. Flagship Policies to Combat Inequality and Exclusion

Inequality has received considerable attention in the COVID-19 era — and for all the wrong reasons. Higher death rates among the poorest and most marginalized, gendered impacts due to care duties, and the news that the world’s ten richest men have increased their wealth by $540 billion while the poorest face a decade of hardship before they return to pre-COVID income levels — all mean inequality has become impossible to ignore. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the challenge, but the Pathfinders’ Grand Challenge on Inequality & Exclusion have been researching the solutions for over two years and know there is reason for hope.

Our recently released Policy Matrix consultation draft brings these policy solutions together in one place. It provides a menu of options for governments to pursue, from short-term measures like a solidarity tax, to longer-term policies like a youth endowment scheme. Importantly, the breadth of policies means that there is something applicable and doable for every country. However dire the situation feels, this must be the moment where we commit to positive change and choose a route out of COVID-19 that ensures a sustainable and inclusive recovery. We will be consulting on these policies with a wide range of country governments and civil society organizations, with a more extensive set of policies to be published in our flagship report in September 2021.

2. Coming up: Briefing sessions on the fight against corruption

The Pathfinders and the Open Government Partnership will be holding a two-day virtual briefing on March 2nd & March 3rd, 8am-10:30am EST. Participants will assess current progress in the fight against corruption, explore key policy issues requiring collective action, and identify upcoming opportunities to demonstrate political leadership, promote increased commitments by Member States, and ensure country-level action on anti-corruption.

Register for this event: here

3. Business Leaders Unite for Justice

The Business Leaders For Justice Coalition is a growing movement of business leaders and justice experts committed to achieving a new norm in corporate leadership. Justice systems solve and prevent problems that matter most to people, rebuild trust and cohesion, and mitigate the pandemic’s intergenerational impacts. The coalition, guided by the six justice imperative principles, provides a platform for businesses to collectively advocate on issues that matter to their communities and the people they serve.

On January 14th, the coalition met for the first time to explore how to close the justice gap and reflect on this historic moment for justice. Pathfinders for Justice’s Maaike de Langen led a conversation with Jo-Ann Wallace, the President, and CEO of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, Celia Ouelette, CEO of the Responsible Business Initiative for Justice, and Trish Patton, Vice President of Human Resources at The Body Shop, on the role of business in advancing justice. Over 100 business and justice leaders attended, and engaged in a conversation that reflected on what this moment means, the initiative’s ambition, and the promise of progress.

Businesses spotlighted their ambitious actions to drive access to justice for all, including:

Moving forward, the Justice Principles will be used as a guiding framework to identify concrete opportunities for businesses to pursue more daring and intentional action on justice issues.

If you are interested in joining the Business Leaders for Justice Coalition and express your commitment to the Justice Imperative Principles, sign up here.

4. Business as usual is no longer an option — we need to re-think foreign aid policy

(Photocarioca / Shutterstock.com)

Global inequality has grown to grotesque levels in recent decades — a situation that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With it, has come escalating social unrest and political upheaval the world over. In a recently published Op-ed in Utsyn — Bistandsaktuelt, Pathfinders’ Director, Liv Tørres, makes the case for placing inequality at the top of the global agenda for reset and recovery — especially when it comes to foreign aid and development.

Read her latest piece in English or Norwegian.

5. Justice for All Deferred No Longer

(AlexiRosenfeld / Shutterstock.com)

“The dream of justice for all [will be]… deferred no longer.”

In his inaugural address, President Biden signaled a shift in U.S. justice policy, promising to once again work with the global community. In her latest blog and policy brief, Maha Jweied, CIC NYU Fellow and Advisor to the Pathfinders for Justice, reflects on the new administration’s opportunities to advance the movement for justice for all, as they face the challenge of a widening justice gap amidst the pandemic.

Drawing from her own experience working as part of the Obama-Biden administration, Maha shares practical strategies that could be reinstated and reflects on the power of connecting to the global justice community.

Read her analysis:

6. GENSAC: Celebrating a year of cross-regional solidarity

An essential component of Pathfinders’ work to build a movement to Halve Global Violence (HGV) is the effort to support the control of small arms, and harness women’s leadership for violence prevention and reduction. Following consultations in 2019 and early 2020, Pathfinders, with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office, and in partnership with other organizations, launched the Gender Equality Network on Small Arms Control (GENSAC).

GENSAC today, one year on, gathers 80+ champions for women’s leadership on small arms control across the W. Balkans, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Its seven point strategy for gender responsive small arms control in the Decade of Action on SDGs is its guidepost for activities in the future. Despite restrictions on movement and travel in this year, GENSAC members have focused on cross-regional collaboration and knowledge exchange, participated in international policy events, and have taken part in online advocacy campaigns. We look forward to the year ahead in which our digital platform for collaboration will be launched, and research and knowledge sharing capacities further enhanced.

7. SDG16+ Beyond the Pandemic: Access to Justice, Politics, Rights and Inclusion

“Rights are only rights and justice is only justice when all have equal access to them.” — Liv Tørres

On January 29th, Pathfinders participated in the ‘SDG16+ Beyond the Pandemic’ virtual series organized by Costa Rica and the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA). Pathfinders Director, Liv Tørres, moderated a session on Access to Justice, Politics, Rights and Inclusion, and was joined by H.E. Mr. Cruz Castro, President of the Supreme Court of Costa Rica; Irene Murillo, Executive Director of CEDARENA (Center of Environmental Law and Natural Resources); Maria Fernanda Rodriguez, CIC NYU Fellow, former Vice-Minister of Justice in Argentina and former Executive Director of the Body of Lawyers for Victims of Gender Violence; and Denise Dora — Founder and CEO of THEMIS.

The conversation revolved around the need to protect the rights of women and victims of intimate partner violence during the pandemic, as well as the rights of environmental defenders who face particular and often severe challenges in Latin America.

8. Spotlight on: SDG16+ Champions of Change

Pathfinders’ Champions of Change interview series highlights individuals, advocates, and organizations who are making an impact in their communities — helping to create more peaceful, just and inclusive societies (SDG16+).

Read the latest interviews:

Plus 16 things we’re reading

  1. Policy Brief: Judges on the Front Line — Is the Rule of Law Losing its Guardian? Examples from the West Bank and Guatemala (English, Spanish, Arabic) (International Legal Assistance Consortium, ILAC)
  2. UN Secretary-General Presents 10 Priorities for 2021 (IISD)
  3. Opinion: Multilateral Cooperation for Global Recovery (Project Syndicate)
  4. Opinion: The next Covid crisis: a vaccine apartheid endangering us all (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism)
  5. Governments to Discuss HLPF Reforms, Themes for 2022–2023 (IISD)
  6. Toolkit: Gender, think-tanks and international affairs (Chatham House)
  7. Report: Measuring Civil Justice for All (American Academy of Arts & Sciences)
  8. Draft report: Delivering Justice, Rigorously: A guide to people-centred justice programming (HiiL)
  9. Opinion: How President Biden can advance rights for marginalized groups (Washington Post)
  10. Office For A2J Could Be Revived Under Biden (Law360)
  11. Opinion: COVID-19 and the Doomsday Clock by Gro Harlem Brundtland (Project Syndicate)
  12. Watchdog: Least corrupt nations produce best virus response (Washington Post)
  13. Opinion: To defend the rule of law, we must agree on its meaning by Elizabeth Anderson, World Justice Project (The Hill)
  14. Blog: Inequality Virus by Mwanahamisi Singano — Head of Programmes, FEMNET (Oxfam)
  15. Blog: Toward A More Responsible US Arms Trade Policy: Recommendations for the Biden-Harris Administration (Just Security)
  16. Blog: 10 Conflicts to Watch in 2021 (International Crisis Group)