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

1. Act Now for SDG16+

Leading SDG16+ partners including the Pathfinders, CSPPS, Global Alliance, TAP Network, Saferworld, IDLO, UN Women, WFUNA, 16+ Forum and UN Global Compact, have put together a joint statement calling for action for SDG16+. The statement responds to the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating social, economic and political consequences.

The joint statement was launched during the 2020 High Level Political Forum at a side-event co-organized by TAP Network, the Pathfinders, Global Alliance, CSPPS and WFUNA. The statement calls on leaders in every sector to urgently make SDG16+ the foundation for reset and recovery efforts from the spillover effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and for building more resilient societies and institutions going forward. It highlights the urgent need to reduce all forms of violence, drive people-centered justice for all, and build more equal and inclusive societies.

A full list of supporting organizations will be shared during the SDG Summit in September.

Join us and take action now for SDG16+! If your organization wants to support the statement and feature their logo, please complete this google form. For further details, please email contact@sdg16.plus.

2. Justice for All and the Economic Crisis

Countries are still struggling to deal with the uncertainties caused by COVID-19. What we know now is that the second-order impacts of the pandemic will affect us all and are becoming more pressing by the day, as the World Bank forecasts that the global economy is facing the worst economic recession since World War II.

This economic crisis is set to increase pressure on justice systems. As employment contracts are terminated and businesses go bankrupt, the demand for legal assistance will mushroom. People are dying, and that means more inheritance disputes. Domestic violence is on the rise and pressures on families will lead to more divorces with significant economic consequences for parents and children.

In a new briefing on Justice for All and the Economic Crisis, we analyze how the economic downturn will affect access to justice — and how justice systems and partners can play a role in the recovery. The briefing examines how the economic effects of COVID-19 impact common justice problems, and how justice systems can anticipate and innovate in response.

Most importantly the briefing sets out how justice leaders can act today. It provides recommendations for how justice systems and actors can react nimbly to the pandemic’s effects, and look ahead for opportunities to build back better, reshaping justice systems so they can support more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient economies.

Over 40 experts from around the world contributed to this collaborative briefing, which is the second in our series on Justice in a Pandemic. The first briefing in this series — Justice for All and the Public Health Emergency sets out recommendations for how justice systems and actors can respond to the public health impacts of the pandemic.

3. Forecasting the Dividends of Conflict Prevention from 2020–2030

COVID-19 — together with deepening geopolitical tensions and the economic slow-down — is increasing the potential for social disorder, political violence and outright armed conflict. While the risks are growing, there are also important opportunities to prevent conflict onset through early diplomacy, peace agreements, deployment of peace support and smart, targeted investment in policing and justice reform.

A new report published by the Pathfinders — Forecasting the Dividends of Conflict Preventionconsiders the trajectories of armed conflict in a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario between 2020–2030. If no action is taken, the study finds that there could be at least three more countries at war and nine more countries at high risk of war by 2030 as compared to 2020. This translates into roughly 677,250 conflict-related fatalities (civilian and battle-deaths) between the present and 2030.

Produced by an expert panel of social scientists, the study finds that investments in conflict prevention could generate significant dividends. The scenarios explored in the report are approximations, yet demonstrate concrete and defensible estimates of the costs of conflict and the benefits prevention in terms of fewer lives lost, less displacement, reduced spending on aid and peace-keeping and improved economic growth.

4. Future trends in homicide

Most countries have experienced sustained declines in homicidal violence across several decades. Notwithstanding the disruptive effects of COVID-19 and associated economic stresses in 2020, these trends are expected to continue in several parts of the world. For most people, the world is a much safer place than it was at the beginning of the twenty-first century. This does not guarantee that the future will be more secure, but it does suggest whatever the causes, progress has been made.

A new report from the Pathfinders — Future Trends in Homicidefinds that these positive trends could be undermined within the next decade unless more investment in violence prevention is undertaken. Specifically, the total number of homicides could rise by 28 percent over the next ten years — three times the expected rate of global population growth with increases most acute in the Americas and Africa. The cumulative total homicide count would reach 4.3 million by 2030. Similar trends are also evident in relation to terrorist killings, with increases across all regions especially Africa and Asia.

5. Grassroots Justice Fund

On the heels of Mandela Day, global leaders and civil society groups are proud to launch the COVID-19 Grassroots Justice Fund to help marginalized and oppressed communities protect their rights services during the pandemic and ensure a just and equitable recovery.

The Elders, the Legal Empowerment Network, Namati, Justice for All, the Pathfinders and the Fund for Global Human Rights have come together as non-funding partners to assemble the COVID-19 Grassroots Justice Fund, which aims to raise US$1 million to support 100 grassroots justice groups within 12–18 months.

The Legal Empowerment Network will ensure that grantee selection is led by and for grassroots justice leaders. The Fund for Global Human Rights will administer funds, bringing to bear its deep experience channeling resources to grassroots groups around the world. The Elders will use their powerful global platform to highlight the vital work of grassroots justice in the pandemic. The Pathfinders develop evidence-based strategies for justice for all in a pandemic and will make the case for investing in grassroots justice organizations as part of the pandemic response.

6. HLPF 2020: Sharing Economic Benefits

On July 7th, the Pathfinders convened an HLPF side event on Sharing Economic Benefits: Social Protection as a tool for Building Back Better after COVID-19. High-level speakers presented a wide array of regional and country perspectives. These included case studies from Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Uruguay, as well as regional insights from UN ECLAC and UN ESCWA, as well as lessons learned encompassing a diverse set of economic and social contexts, shared from the OECD Inclusive Growth Unit and World Bank Social Development Global Practice. Speakers agreed that building back better after COVID-19 means seizing the moment to create long-term positive change in the delivery of social protection.

Common threads emerging from the discussion included:

  • the need to adapt and innovate on existing social protection programs to durably expand their reach and responsiveness;
  • a strong call for employing a multi-track approach, combining national, regional, and local capacities to better identify immediate needs and available resources;
  • the need for strong public information campaigns and clear guidelines to create tangible, positive impact;
  • the message that universal basic income might not be the best solution at first, but solidifying various fragmented programs into a unified framework that utilizes a cohesive database is worth pursuing;
  • the need to reach informal sector workers, especially in developing countries, with different types of programming than formal cash transfers, including in-kind disbursements rather than formal money transfers;
  • the message that financing is a binding constraint, which requires solidarity both at the national and international levels.

7. HLPF 2020: Accelerating SDG16+ action

On Tuesday, 14th July, leading SDG16+ community partners including the Pathfinders, TAP Network, Global Alliance, WFUNA and CSPPS, co-hosted a virtual HLPF 2020 side event on “Accelerating SDG16+ action to restore human wellbeing and build back better.” Moderated by Sarah Lister, Head of Governance, Bureau of Policy and Program Support at UNDP, the event looked at why SDG 16+ needs to be the foundation of reset and recovery strategies, and stressed the urgency to adopt an integrated approach involving all sectors to mitigate the potential institutional, social, and economic fallout from the pandemic in a peaceful and fair manner.

Speakers included:

  • H.E. Ambassador Omar Castañeda Solares, Deputy Permanent Representative of Guatemala to the United Nations
  • Amin Ben Khaled, Advisor, Permanent Mission of Tunisia to the United Nations
  • Judith Kaulem, TAP Network Co-Chair and representative of Poverty Reduction Forum Trust-Zimbabwe
  • Michelle Breslauer, Senior Manager at the Governance & Peace, UN Global Compact

8. HLPF 2020: Reducing urban violence and investing in peaceful cities

On the sidelines of this year’s HLPF, Pathfinders brought together representatives from a variety of city networks and multi-stakeholder partnerships working with local authorities for a discussion about how cities can lead the way in preventing and reducing violence amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Speakers, including Simeon Dukic, Program Manager for the Western Balkans and Central Asia, Strong Cities Network, and Dr. Catherine Maternowska, Lead, Data, Evidence and Learning, Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, spoke about their work with local leaders to prevent and reduce violent extremism and violence against children, respectively. The lively discussion was moderated by Rachel Locke, Director of the Impact:Peace initiative at the University of San Diego. Their interventions were complemented by a representative from the City of Bristol, UK who spoke about a recent resolution passed by the Global Parliament of Mayors, calling on all mayors to commit to a 50% reduction of urban violence. Peace in Our Cities, an initiative co-organized by Pathfinders, PlusPeace, and Impact:Peace, supports and provided input to the resolution.

Watch a video recording of the event: here.

9. A webinar on halving global violence

Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the risks of geopolitical and regional insecurity were rising. The disease has accelerated the risks of several categories of violence, including conflict, crime, extremism and sexual and domestic abuse. The changing opportunity structure created by COVID-19 is also hastening state repression and emboldening non-state armed groups. These challenges are sharpening due to deficits in global cooperation, together with economic and food security-related shocks.

The world urgently needs to scale-up efforts to prevent and reduce violence. In a short webinar organized by the UK Government, Pathfinders were invited to reflect ways to halve multiple forms of violence by 2030 that are aligned with SDG16. Panelists including Rachel Kleinfeld, Robert Muggah, and David Steven were invited to discuss how an integrated and data-driven approach to security, peace and development — involving multi-stakeholder coalitions — are essential to delivering core goals of poverty reduction.

The webinar explored how a partnership of like-minded governments, together with a constellation of international agencies, private partners and cities, could help drive a global initiative to halve violence by 2030. Panelists proposed launching a “Stern Review” of leading scientists to assess the scope and scale of violence, future trajectories, and concrete examples of what works. Conducted in partnership with the UN, such a process could help set concrete benchmarks to measure and review progress to halving violence by 2030.

Webinar participants also emphasized the importance of focusing on hot spots, emphasizing a blended approach to violence prevention and reduction focused on measurable outcomes. Discussants reflected on how such an effort would mobilize investment and financing to the most “violence-affected” countries and cities.

By investing in the halving violence agenda, supporters can reaffirm the principles and values of the UN charter and its emphasis on peace and security. It would also demonstrate a clear and visible commitment to multilateralism during the 75th anniversary of the UN, and in this Decade of Action.

Read Pathfinders’ briefing on COVID-19’s impact on instability and violence — and what the UK can do, which was presented at the meeting.

10. Virtual Pathfinders PR meeting discusses HLPF 2020, UNGA and UN75

Following two successful high-level breakfast briefings in February and April 2020, a third gathering was held virtually on 1 July, to update Pathfinder countries on how work plans for 2020 continue to be adjusted to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and on plans for the UN General Assembly and 75th Anniversary celebrations in September.

Highlights of the discussion included:

  • Pathfinder members’ commitment to SDG16+ and the need to shine a spotlight on the issue during upcoming high-level events, and to stand together as a coalition;
  • the importance of focusing on violence issues amidst COVID-19;
  • the importance of multilateralism and global cooperation to tackle the global pandemic, as well as the need to make it loud and clear that the world still stands strong for multilateralism;
  • Pathfinder countries’ ambition to ‘build back better’, with the awareness that states are working with less resources, weaker institutions and in the context of a global multilateral system under increasing pressure;

Looking ahead, Pathfinder member states committed to highlighting the importance of peace, justice and inclusion during September’s high-level events and discussions (in the form of either a joint event, a joint declaration, or a compilation of best practices and solutions to tackle the current pandemic).

11. Re-imagining Rule Of Law — Share your inputs to UNDP’s new global program

UNDP is asking for inputs and insights to contribute to a re-imagination of UNDP’s governance, rule of law and peacebuilding portfolio and the design of the UNDP Global Programme on the Rule of Law and Human Rights (2022–2025). To crowd-source insights a public consultation space has been set up which is open until 24 July, so share your inputs now!

All the sessions of UNDP’s virtual Annual Meeting on the Rule of Law were recorded and can be viewed online. Pathfinders’ Maaike de Langen moderated a session on Access to Justice and Securing the Social Contract, How transitional justice and access to justice enhance trust, accountability, and inclusion with Pablo de Greiff of NYU’s School of Law, Fehmi Karami of the Tripoli Bar Association in Lebanon, Beatrice Akua Duncan of UN Women, Candice Welsch of UNODC.

A video recording of the session is available here: https://youtu.be/QVxJL7-Ystw

12. Five Lessons on confronting violence and systemic discrimination in policing in the Global South

(UN Photo / Martine Perret)

In a new guest blog, colleagues from Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) explore recent research on police violence and systemic discrimination in policing in the Global South. Drawing on the findings, they offer five lessons on creating safer spaces in the face of systemic discrimination in policing.

13. Forging the international movement to achieve justice for all

How did the movement for Justice for All begin? What was the Task Force on Justice? How did countries take the lead to set the international agenda for delivery on SDG16’s promise of equal access to justice for all? How did a wide consortium of partners contribute? And what happens next?

In a new paper, Karina Gerlach and Maaike de Langen look back at the process that culminated in the Justice for All report, which sets an evidence-based agenda for action, in the endorsement of the principles of people-centered justice by nearly 40 countries for across the world and in the creation of a vibrant movement for justice for all.

The Roadmap for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies identified three grand challenges for the Pathfinders to take up. The Task Force on Justice was created in response to the first of those three grand challenges. One year ago, at the HLPF 2019, the Task Force on Justice presented its Justice for All report.

Plus 16 things we’re reading

  1. The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020 (UN)

2. Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights” “The parlous state of poverty eradication

3. Report: “COVID-19 and the Informal Sector: What it means for women now and in the future” (Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security)

4. Report: “Tracking Our Progress — Canada’s Justice Development Goals in 2019” (Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters)

5. “Discussing Human Rights, Rule of Law and the renewed social contract in the COVID-19 reality” (By Achim Steiner, UNDP)

6. “COVID-19: Four ways peacebuilders can respond” (International Alert)

7. Blog: “Justice for All and the Economic Crisis” (By David Steven, Global Dashboard)

8. “Protecting Refugee Children During the Pandemic” (Project Syndicate)

9. “Love, Inequity, and Development Policy in a COVID-era?” (By Laura Bailey and Rahul Chandran, Global Dashboard)

10. “A WILPF Guide to Leveraging the SDGs for Feminist Peace” (WILPF)

11. “As Domestic Abuse Rises, U.K. Failings Leave Victims in Peril” (NY Times)

12. “In Latin America, the Pandemic Threatens Equality Like Never Before” (NY Times)

13. “Can Domestic Abusers Keep Themselves Accountable When No One is Watching? “ (The New Yorker)

14. “World Bank foresees that 53 million Latin Americans will have incomes below the regional poverty line” (LABS)

15. “To Save the Economy From COVID-19, Protect Informal Workers” (World Politics Review)

16. “Super-rich call for higher taxes on wealthy to pay for Covid-19 recovery” (The Guardian