June 2019 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. Acceleration Actions

We’re now a week away from the High-level Political Forum and just 85 days from the first SDG Summit. In this critical period for SDG16+, what matters most is whether we build a platform for accelerated implementation in the 2020s.

  • The 2030 Agenda asked Presidents and Prime Ministers to come to the SDG summit to “mobilize further actions to accelerate implementation.”
  • The President of the General Assembly has urged all countries “to come to the SDG Summit prepared to announce acceleration measures and specific, targeted next steps that respond to the urgency of the challenges we face, and give due consideration to trade-offs and synergies.”
  • A call for “accelerated action” forms most of the draft political declaration for the summit. The event itself will include “leaders dialogues” on entry points for acceleration and on a vision for 2020–2030 to “highlight critical actions for accelerating the achievement of the SDGs.”
  • A portal has been launched where governments and other partners can register acceleration actions — “initiatives voluntarily undertaken by countries and other stakeholders to contribute to a speeded up implementation of the 2030 Agenda.”
  • The President of ECOSOC has said she plans to use the HLPF as a platform for promoting these actions. The HLPF should help us understand which actions have achieved “the greatest results at the country level” and “the measures that resonate the most with countries and other actors.”

2. SDG16+ — a call to action

This, then, is our challenge as SDG16 — and SDG10 on inequality — are reviewed at the HLPF. Effective implementation of the SDG16+ targets means:

  • Reducing violence in all its forms, opening a path towards sustainable development for countries, communities, and people.
  • Providing justice for all, and realizing human rights and gender equality.
  • Transforming institutions so they can deliver the promises made for all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Promoting social, economic, and political inclusion at a time when far too many people feel a powerful sense of exclusion.

Three questions for all those working to make SDG16+ a success:

  • How can we use the HLPF to demonstrate an acceleration in ambition that is proportionate with SDG16+’s critical challenges?
  • How can we make sure that as many countries as possible — both government and non-governmental partners — register accelerator actions ahead of the SDG Summit?
  • And how can we use the period that begins with the HLPF and ends with the Summit to demonstrate a powerful mobilization that reaches beyond the UN and connects with a global need for greater peace, justice, and inclusion?

3. The Rome Conference

The SDG16 Conference held in Rome set the stage for a powerful response to these questions. It was the best attended of the preparatory events on the goals under review at this year’s HLPF, demonstrating the diversity of those working to implement SDG16+.

Feedback from the Pathfinder’s David Steven on the Rome Conference:

  • Positive: Rome demonstrated momentum and urgency. It showed how essential progress on the SDG16+ targets is to delivering all 17 SDGs.
  • Negative: We’re still fragmented across the many “tribes” working on different aspects of SDG16+. We need a strong narrative to bring these disparate efforts together.

Our opportunity: To focus on solutions — rather than simply highlighting the scale of our problems. To mobilize our networks to bring acceleration actions to the SDG summit — from all countries and regions, and at all levels from the grassroots to the global. And to actively work together — so that our advocacy efforts are more than the sum of their parts.

4. Speaking with one voice

Two initiatives demonstrate that both civil society and governments are beginning to speak with one voice on SDG16+.

And for governments:

  • Argentina has led the drafting of a member state joint statement on SDG16+. This will be distributed at the HLPF, with a shorter version for the Ministerial Segment of the HLPF.
  • The statement can be supported by any government — whether or not they are a member of the Pathfinders, or of the Global Alliance and 16+ Forum.

If you represent a government please, contact us now if you want to know more about the joint statement — we will send you the draft and let the Argentinian mission know that you are interested in supporting it.

5. An Even ‘Bigger Call’

In April, we gathered the SDG16+ community for the first iteration of “The Big Call” to share the latest updates, plans, and priorities in ongoing preparations for the HLPF. This time, with HLPF less than a week away (as our HLPF countdown clock in the office reminds us daily!), we will be bringing the community together again to start planning the narrative around SDG16+ to make an outsized impact in July.

Join us for the Bigger Call on Wednesday July 3, 2019 at 10.30am (ET).

6. What’s to come at HLPF: SDG16+ and the Future We Want

We are co-hosting our side event “SDG16+ and the Future We Want” on July 16, 6:15–7:30pm at UN Headquarters. Please join us for this interactive discussion with all stakeholders to underscore the role of SDG16+ as an enabler of the 2030 agenda, celebrate successful national experiences of SDG16+ in action, and galvanize catalytic actions and commitments for the next four-year cycle of the 2030 Agenda. To create the future we want, we have to act now.

The HLPF side event is organized by the 16+ Forum, Global Alliance, and Pathfinders, in partnership with the TAP Network, LexisNexis, and Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the United Nations (HLPF Planning Meeting Co-Chairs), and supported by the broader SDG16+ community.

Register on Eventbrite.

7. What’s to come at HLPF: Celebrating Progress, Success and Commitments for SDG16+

Join us for an exciting and energizing reception at the Ford Foundation on July 16, 7:30–9:30pm following the panel discussion at the UN. We aim to highlight the progress we have made so far, celebrate our successes and present commitments for SDG16+ as a community. Showcase your ambitions and commitments during the reception to demonstrate growing momentum and actions behind SDG16+.

The reception is also organized by the 16+ Forum, the Global Alliance and the Pathfinders, in partnership with Lexis Nexis, TAP, and the UK Permanent Mission to the UN.

Register on Eventbrite.

8. Growing Momentum on Inequality

There is growing momentum for tackling the challenge of inequality and exclusion. One of the catalysts is the upcoming High-level Political Forum, which will take place between July 9–18 in New York City and review progress on equality and inclusion-related Sustainable Development Goals.

On May 12–13, 40 high-level member state representatives, senior policymakers, and renowned experts came together to contribute to the Challenge Paper for the Grand Challenge on Inequality and Exclusion, which outlines future research and policy solutions for the initiative over the next three years. The Challenge Paper will be launched at a Pathfinders’ side event on Inequality and Exclusion on July 17, organized by the governments of Indonesia, Korea, Sweden, and Tunisia in the margins of the HLPF. On June 3–6 the Women Deliver 2019 Conference took place in Vancouver, contributing to research on gender equality. Six Expert Group Meetings on various SDGs addressing the subject of equality and inclusion took place over the past few months. The final one, on the interlinkages between the discussed SDGs, is planned to take place ahead of the Forum.

The Pathfinders will publish a series of research and policy papers related to equality and inclusion ahead of the HLPF. A policy brief by Dr. Jeni Klugman on gender equality has just been released. It will be followed by a research paper on democratic health and resilience and a policy paper on building political space for progressive fiscal compromise.

9. What’s to Come at HLPF: Side Event on Inequality

The High-level side event, “Building Momentum on the Grand Challenge on Inequality and Exclusion” will take place on July 17th, 9:00am — 11:00am at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea (335 E 45th St, New York, NY 10017), hosted by the Governments of Sweden, Korea, Indonesia, and Tunisia, in association with CIC.

The event will feature the launch of a Challenge Paper on Reversing Inequality and Exclusion, seeking to deepen engagement on the Pathfinders’ Grand Challenge on inequality and exclusion and build support amongst member states and key stakeholders for the work to advance social, political and economic inclusion and equality. Participants will discuss the strong interlinkages between SDG10 and SDG16; take stock of progress made towards reducing inequality and exclusion; share knowledge about successful policy innovations; and discuss issue areas where countries presently have the greatest demands for evidence and lessons learned — including access to housing, fiscal compromise, social protection, political inclusion, and tax evasion.

Register on Eventbrite.

10. Growing Momentum on Justice

The Justice for All report is gaining traction among key stakeholders and Pathfinder countries. The numbers presented for the global justice gap are shocking, but the findings of the Task Force are widely supported. An increasing number of countries, organizations, and individuals are gearing up to take action on the Task Force’s recommendations.

  • At the Open Government Partnership Summit, the Ministry of Justice of Canada hosted a ministerial meeting where representatives of Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Kyrgyz Republic, Morocco, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Senegal, Sri Lanka and Tunisia, discussed the creation of a justice coalition within OGP. Argentina announced that it will make Justice for All one of the key priorities for its presidency of OGP this year.
  • Parallel to the Summit the Global Center on Pluralism, IDRC and the Task Force on Justice held the Canadian Launch of the Task Force Report.
  • A joint launch took place of the Justice for All report and the Justice for Womenreport in Rome as part of the SDG16 Conference organized in Rome by DESA and IDLO.
  • The findings of the Task Force on Justice were presented at a range of larger and smaller events; at the Annual General Meeting of ILAC in London, a discussion session at IDRC in Ottawa, a presentation to representatives of permanent missions in New York, presentations in Melbourne and Canberra, and a launch event in Bogotá, Colombia in partnership with the Law Faculty of the Universidad Javeriana.
  • Ministers of Justice of the g7+ countries came together in The Hague for the meeting on Access to Justice for All in conflict-affected countries. Discussions focused on people-centered justice and participants agreed to a joint action plan to work on justice for all in their respective countries.

11. What’s to Come at HLPF: Justice

Building just societies is a key promise of the 2030 Agenda and the coming HLPF provides a unique opportunity for the growing movement on Justice for All to converge around the national and the international agenda for action, set out by the Task Force on Justice. Countries, organizations, and individuals can forge partnerships, inspire one another and strengthen their resolve to deliver on SDG16.3 over the coming four years.

A series of meetings and events on justice will take place during the High-Level Political Forum:

  • Starting with two key events on July 8 and 9: UNDP’s Annual meeting on Rule of Law and Human Rights and the high-level meeting on Strengthening the Rule of Law and Human Rights to Achieve Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, organized by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Ibero-American Judicial Summit, the Conference of Ministers of Justice of Ibero-America Countries(COMJIB), and the Ibero-American Association of Attorney Generals (AIAMP).
  • The must-attend event for those working for justice is the Justice for All event on Monday July 15, the eve of the high-level segment of the HLPF. It is co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, The Elders, Namati, Open Society Justice Initiative and the Task Force on Justice. The event will mark the New York launch of the Justice for All Report in combination with the 2019 prize ceremony for Namati’s Grassroots Justice Award.
  • The political centerpiece to the string of events on justice will be the invitation-only ministerial dinner on Justice for All, hosted by The Elders on that same evening, July 15. At this dinner, countries will be discussing how they plan to take forward their work on justice for all, in order to accelerate implementation of SDG16.3.
  • Other events on justice include: a meeting on the Role of Women in Justice, Peace and Security, organized by the ABA and IDLO; an event celebrating the Escazu agreement to protect environmental justice defenders, organized by Namati, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and UN ECLAC; a side event on Governance for the SDGs, with a special focus on access to justice, hosted by Romania, Iceland, and the OECD; A conversation with winners of the grassroots justice prize, hosted by NYU Bernstein Institute and Namati; and an expert meeting on measuring access to justice, organized by Fair Trials, LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation, and the International Legal Foundation (ILF).

12. Growing Momentum on Peace

From Addis Ababa, to Panama, to Stockholm, to Chicago the people behind the growing momentum towards peace will make a big splash at HLPF this month.

Co-sponsored by Germany and Namibia and hosted at the African Union, discussions in Addis focused on arms control and gender equality for prevention. In Panama, UNDP gathered regional partners to discuss chronic violence and how to address its roots and its manifestations. In Stockholm, the Foreign Ministry and SIPRI shined a spotlight on addressing instability while building foundations for lasting peace. And in Chicago, city leaders and their partners joined together in an old bank vault to share options around lowering the seriously high urban violence rates impacting the Americas.

All these discussions showcase the importance of bringing together a range of partners to lower violence and increase peace, a core thematic that will be showcased at HLPF in July. These discussions and more also place an imperative on addressing all forms of violence, rather than narrowly focusing in on only one type, living up to the ambition of SDG16.1.

13. What’s to Come at HLPF: Side Event on Disarmament

Women’s meaningful participation in arms control and disarmament efforts is a crucial component for the three pillars of the Women Peace and Security Agenda (participation, protection, prevention). Similarly, broader joint efforts for reaching the 2030 Agenda includes an emphasis on full and effective participation of women (SDG5). Yet, we are still far from reaching this ambition. While women’s participation in arms control discussions has increased, their contribution at leadership levels has stagnated.

On July 12, the German Mission to the UN will host a lunchtime discussion to address the intersection of gender equality, arms control and prevention. This side event builds on the experiences of experts in the arms control field and outlines specific findings of a regional workshop in Addis Ababa held in May 2019 on the linkages between gender equality, violence prevention and small arms control. The event will outline ways forward and build on the expertise within the African Women’s Leader Network and others in reaching the goals of the African Union’s Plan of Action to “Silence the Guns in Africa until 2020.”

14. What’s to Come at HLPF: G7+ Event

Countries affected by conflict and fragility and represented by the g7+ will be taking stock of progress made in achieving SDG16 and will discuss common challenges that may be better overcome through mutual support. This side event, to be hosted at the Republic of Korea’s Mission to the UN on July 16, will prioritize policy actions that can be taken to further pursue the ambitions of SDG16.

Co-convened by Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste, the Republic of Korea, and the g7+ Secretariat, this high-level side event will place at the forefront the challenge of ensuring we leave no one behind, as called for in 2030 Agenda.

The discussion will present a summary of findings of 20 indicators being monitored by the g7+ as well as findings from the VNRs of g7+ members. Further speakers from both g7+ countries as well as donors and the UN will highlight key actions that can be taken and reinforce the value of partnerships to the agenda.

15. Other HLPF Events:

As HLPF draws closer, we’re hearing of a more side events happening on the margins of HLPF in July. A small sample of what’s to come:

  • July 11 (1–2:45pm | International Peace Institute): “Voices of SDG16+: Stories for Global Action” Peacebuilders and justice activists leading SDG16+ implementation around the world will tell their stories at an event hosted by the International Peace Institute (IPI), in partnership with Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS), Conciliation Resources, the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), Life & Peace Institute, Namati, Peace Direct, Article 19, and Pax Christi International. Find out more about the “Voices of SDG16+” campaign here.
  • July 10 (1.15–2.45pm | International Peace Institute): “Progress is in the Details: Exploring SDG Target 16.4” The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, Small Arms Survey (SAS) and Global Financial Integrity are hosting a discussion on target 16.4 to stimulate discussions on interplay between organized crime, illicit financial flows, arms flows and development efforts.
  • July 12 (1–3pm | Ford Foundation) Side event on “Power to the People: Civic space for climate justice, equality and decent work for all”
    CIVICUS together with other partners are organizing an event featuring civil society leaders from Brazil, Sudan, Colombia and Philippines alongside Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.
  • July 11 (8:15–9:30am | Japan Society): “It takes a world to end violence against children: Partnering with civil society, citizens and children to achieve SDG16” World Vision and partners will discuss the importance, opportunities and challenges to end violence against children by bringing into conversations perspectives and data collected by civil society including through their engagement with citizens and children. Ms. Najat Maalla M’jid, Special Representative of the Secretary General on Ending Violence against Children, will speak.

16. SDG16+ Festival Guide

All these SDG16+-related side events and more will be available in our HLPF SDG16+ Festival Guide!

We’re hoping the guide will become your go-to for all things SDG16+ in July, with information on official events related to SDG16 and SDG10, as well as SDG16+-related side events and receptions happening on the margins of the HLPF. We’ll also be developing an app version of the guide to help the SDG16+ community navigate what is sure to be a packed two weeks.

Plus… 16 things we’re reading:

  1. Torture prevention is an essential part of the sustainable development agenda’ — a new blog by Mervat Rishmawi, board member of the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and Jean-Sébastien Blanc, Director of Thematic Programmes at the APT
  2. Darkening Horizons’ Small Arms Survey’s Briefing Paper on trends in global violent deaths.
  3. On Solid Ground: Building Sustainable Peace and Development After Massive Human Rights Violations’ — the report of the Working Group on Transitional Justice and SDG16+
  4. Reducing Violence to Advance Peace and Sustain Development’, Pathfinders’ Rachel Locke writes about SDG16.1 for IPI’s Global Observatory series on the SDGs.
  5. Integrating Goal 16 and Human Rights With All the SDGs is Vital to the 2030 Agenda’, Masooma Rahmaty and Ş. İlgü Özler, piece in IPI’s Global Observatory.
  6. The UN’s recently released background note on lessons learned from the first four-year cycle of the HLPF
  7. IISD’s analysis of the HLPF background note
  8. A look at the main messages of 17 African countries’ voluntary national reviews (VNRs) ahead of HLPF
  9. IISD reports back from the SDG16 Expert Group Meeting in Rome
  10. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors’ Philanthropy and the SDGs, a two-volume guide for philanthropic funders to align with the SDGs.
  11. Namati CEO Vivek Maru’s book, Community Paralegals and the Pursuit of Justice, provides an in-depth illustration of the legal empowerment movement
  12. Anti-corruption in the OGP: The year of inclusion,” a blog by José María Marín of Transparency International on the relationship between corruption and gender equality.
  13. Philadelphia Citizen’s piece on a ‘one-stop legal shop’ coming to Philadelphia
  14. 64% of Ghanians want SDG 16 prioritized,’ reports the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP)
  15. Why Integrated Implementation of the SDGs Will Help Build Peaceful Societies’ by GPPAC’s Pascal Richard
  16. The Institute for Economics & Peace on Sustainable Development Goal 16’s ‘SDG16+ Progress Report 2019