March 2019 Newsletter


Welcome to your monthly roundup of 16+ news and views from the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies.

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1. Launch of the High-level Group Report on Justice For Women

Panelists at the launch event included: H.E. Mr Lang Yagou, Permanent Representative of The Gambia to the UN;Mette Gonggrijp, Director Social Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands; Fernando Marani, Permanent Mission of Argentina to the UN; Sandie Okoro, Senior Vice-President and General Counsel, World Bank Group (remarks delivered by Francesca Daverio); Rangita da Silva, Associate Dean of International Affairs, UPENN; Amelia Kinahoi-Siamomua, Head of Gender Section, Commonwealth Secretariat; Dr. Inna Michaeli, Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID); and Dr. Jeni Klugman, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and Harvard Kennedy School

On 13 March, the High Level Group on Justice for Women launched their report at a side event during the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), currently underway in New York.

Lead writer, Jeni Klugman, presented the report’s key findings, followed by powerful commentary and statements by panelists discussing the highlights of the report, as well as areas requiring further action to ensure justice for women, including:

  • Embracing intersectionality, not only in discussing barriers faced by women but when working to find and scale solutions. Importantly, to increase women’s access to justice, new partnerships across sectors and within must continue to be developed.
  • Investing in justice for women. In the words of Jeni Klugman, “Investing in women’s justice is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.”
  • Taking action. Representatives from Argentina and The Gambia both shared examples of the instrumental work being done in their countries to deliver on justice for women.

The event closed with a discussion on commitments and a call to action by senior representatives of UN Women, the CEDAW Commission and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO).

Åsa Regnér, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, announced the upcoming launch of the Equality for Women and Girls by 2030 strategy, and shared UN Women’s goal to fast track the appeal of discriminatory laws in 100 countries.

Hilary Gbedemah, Chairperson, CEDAW Committee, called for an end of reservation by state parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Irene Khan, Director-General of IDLO, emphasized the importance of generating commitments to achieve concrete results on justice for women. In her remarks, she announced IDLO’s commitments on this area, including: eliminating legal gender discrimination, addressing gender-based violence, empowering women as rights holders, promoting women’s participation in the justice sector, engaging with customary and informal justice systems, and advocating for centrality of justice for women as an integral part of the 2030 Agenda.

For more on the event, read UN Women’s and IDLO’s coverage.

2. Rome Meeting to discuss SDG16 Implementation

The dates and venue for the meeting to review progress of the implementation of SDG16+ “Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies: SDG16 implementation & the path towards leaving no one behind” have now been confirmed for Rome, from 27–29 May, 2019. This meeting is in preparation for HLPF 2019 where there will be a thematic review of SDG 16 for the first time since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda.

Over the three days, Member States, experts, the UN system and other partners are expected to take stock of progress made on the implementation of SDG16, and identify areas where there is greatest potential for acceleration and commitments, as well as continuing challenges.

The meeting is being organized by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) which is developing the agenda in coordination with SDG16+ partners. While not yet finalized, the agenda is expected to focus on, among other things, the transformational nature of SDG16+, data gaps, challenges and opportunities, facilitating broad and inclusive participation and integrated action, and mobilizing partnerships. It will address the three workstreams within the goal, namely peace, justice and inclusion. The discussions on the latter workstream will certainly benefit from the conclusions of the review of Goal 10 on inequality, scheduled to take place in Geneva on 2–3 April.

More information on these meetings will be forthcoming in the next issues of this newsletter.

3. The “Big Call”

The latest addition to the Pathfinders’ website is a countdown clock to the kick off for the HLPF in July. It shows we are less than four months away to the festival of development. Preparations for SDG16+ related events and activities are well under way among many of our partners, and together with the International Peace Institute we are bringing them all together for a Big Call in early April (details to come), to share the latest updates, plans and priorities, and explore ways to work together. Be on the look-out for an invitation, since this is the call you don’t want to miss!

4. Country Visit to Timor-Leste

As part of the implementation of the Roadmap and at the request of the Government, a Pathfinders-CIC mission visited Timor-Leste on February 13–17. The mission’s work is intended to complement Timor-Leste’s Voluntary National Report (VNR) during the High-Level Political Forum in July.

The team met with a range of government, development and civil society representatives from across the country to explore progress made on SDG16+. Discussions highlighted that over the last 20 years of its independence, Timor-Leste provides rich examples of deliberate action by political leadership and government to foster peace and political inclusion. This history provides a good basis to foster the national consensus that is now needed to ensure fiscal stability and inclusive socio-economic development. Notable areas of progress related to SDG16+ include:

  1. Underpinning peace with internal and external reconciliation as a basis for development
  2. Inclusive socio-economic policies complemented by a strong protection floor and the creation of a middle class
  3. Gender inclusion, with targeted action to promote violence against women, and equality, as well as mechanisms to ensure women’s participation in the political sphere and development process

A short brief of this country visit will be produced during HLPF, as well as others undertaken by the Pathfinders highlighting national progress of SDG16+ targets and country leadership to accelerate further action.

5. Country Visit to Indonesia

The Pathfinders team visited Indonesia last month, where they engaged with stakeholders involved in the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals. Indonesia’s experience of remarkable socio-economic progress and a successful democratic transition offer insight for other countries aiming to accelerate work toward achieving the SDG agenda. Subjects discussed in-depth during the visit included:

  • subsidies and targeted social spending based on Indonesia’s unified database for redistributive programs and recent experience with scaling down the fuel subsidy
  • evidence on the impact of modes of disbursement of social assistance resources on recipients’ sense of dignity and independence
  • building political consensus around the universal healthcare reform
  • an affordable housing program in Jakarta
  • a tax to GDP ratio and the fiscal capacity for addressing inequalities
  • use of constitutional values to contain the threat of religious extremists
  • activities of the anti-corruption agency
  • efforts to provide legal identity to all children
  • implementation of the legal aid program

Institutions involved in the country visit included: UN Office in Indonesia, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, The Anti-Corruption Agency, Ministry of National Development Planning, National Social Security Council, Attorney General’s Office, Administration of the Special Capital Region of Jakarta, Australian-Indonesian Partnership for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, and Fakultas Hum University.

6. Building Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies Amid a World on Fire

At an event on “Building Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies Amid a World on Fire” earlier this month, panelists including Laura E. Bailey (World Bank), Ambassador Sarah Mendelson (Heinz College), Daniel Nagin (Heinz College), Maria Stephan (USIP), David Steven (Pathfinders, NYU CIC), and moderator Nancy Lindborg (USIP) held a lively discussion on how to mobilize behind a roadmap that will put peace at the heart of the 2030 Agenda.

Audiences tuned in to a live-stream of the event (now available on YouTube) and followed the conversation on Twitter with #SDG16.

Some of the highlights:

7. Pathfinders at USIP

In his remarks at USIP, David Steven shared an overview of SDG16+, Pathfinders, and what needs to happen between now and the High-level Political Forum and SDG Summit:

“Mobilizing further actions to accelerate implementation,” — the buzzwords of this year’s SDG Summit — should be the mantra for what the SDG16+ community needs to achieve in 2019. David stressed three areas that all SDG16+ stakeholders should focus on in the coming months:

  • “Action — we need as many governments and other partners to come to New York with tangible commitments to implement one or more aspects of SDG16+.
  • Acceleration — the breadth and depth of these commitments should demonstrate a significant increase in ambition.
  • Mobilization — we need to bring together a growing number of partners and champions, and tap in to the global yearning for greater peace, justice, and inclusion.

If the SDG16+ community is successful, we will enter the 2020s with a platform for scaling up implementation, setting a course to the second SDG summit in 2023 when we need to begin demonstrating measurable progress against the targets.”

For more on David’s remarks at USIP, including an overview of SDG16+, the Roadmap on Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, and key messages for this year’s High-level Political Forum and SDG Summit, read his latest blog.

8. A Gathering on Peacebuilding and the 2030 Agenda

How can peacebuilders best engage with and leverage global peace frameworks, including the SDGs, the Sustaining Peace Resolution, the Pathways for Peace report of the UN/World Bank and the Progress Study on Youth Peace and Security? How can they do so particularly in a context of contracting civil society space and simultaneous increasing demand for peacebuilding?

These were some of the questions on the table for an intimate gathering of key peacebuilding leaders held at the Quaker United Nations Office.

Rachel Locke, Pathfinders Head of Research for 16.1, joined the gathering for an afternoon to listen and share ideas for how the SDGs can serve a positive contribution in the peacebuilding space.

Under Chatham House Rules, some raised concerns that the SDGs are a communications strategy rather than a meaningful contribution to peace on the ground. Others — who had worked to adapt the SDGs in various country contexts — described being able to bridge actor groups who would not otherwise work together and pursue priorities with a peace lens.

The Pathfinders will continue to work with and engage the peacebuilding community, including at an event at the May Stockholm Peace and Development Forum, where we are organizing a panel with the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform and Quaker United Nations Geneva Office.

9. Announcing a New Working Group on Justice for Children

The Task Force on Justice is thrilled that the new working group on Justice for Children have begun their work.

The Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures and CELCIS at the University of Strathclyde have combined forces with the Office of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children and the Child Justice Advocacy Group (key International NGOs working in the field of Justice for Children), with Defense for Children International and Terre des hommes to develop a challenge paper on Justice for Children.

The paper will highlight the distinct realities of justice for children internationally and will inform next steps for the implementation of Goal 16, outlining the key themes where children rights are not being met, and where justice systems can be better used to prevent injustice to children globally. The report will have a strong focus on delivery, and aims to inject yet more momentum to bring about policies and programs that enable rapid improvements for children and young people, in keeping with the UN Convention the Rights of the Child.

Learn more about the working group at: and follow the conversation on Twitter using #SDG16J4C

10. Champions of Change — Argentina’s Access to Justice Centers

In the second installment of our Justice Champions of Change series, we interviewed three women working in one of Argentina’s groundbreaking Access to Justice Centers. Based in a disadvantaged district of Buenos Aires, the women provide a holistic approach to the people they serve, delivering legal advice and support, helping to meet visitors’ psychological needs, and assisting with social challenges such as housing, education and employment. As the example they discuss shows — of how they worked with a woman who had suffered domestic abuse to get her life back on track — their multidisciplinary approach is highly effective.

11. Advancing SDG16+ in 2019: Policy, Practice and Political Will

The 16+ Forum brought together the SDG16+ community to reflect on key takeaways from their Annual Showcases and to look forward to opportunities in 2019. With the inaugural Showcase held in Tbilisi in 2017, the second in Freetown in 2018 and the third planned for Dili in the fall of 2019, Permanent Representatives shared their insights and perspectives on the Annual Showcase and the role of SDG16+ in delivering the 2030 Agenda.

  • H.E. Kaha Imnadze, Permanent Representative of Georgia reflected on the inaugural 16+ Forum Annual Showcase that brought together more than 150 representatives working on the implementation of SDG16+. He highlighted SDG16 as “key enabler” of the 2030 Agenda, underscoring the important role governments and strong governance in bringing all stakeholders together.
  • H.E. Victoria Mangay Sulimani, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone shared success of the second Annual Showcase exploring local, national, and regional dimension to advancing SDG16+. She also emphasized strong political will for SDG16+ in Sierra Leone and its effort in aligning the national development plan with the 2030 Agenda.
  • H.E. Maria Helena Lopes de Jesus Pires, Permanent Representative of Timor-Leste announced that the third Annual Showcase will be held in Dili. She also shared details on Timor-Leste’s preparation for its VNR through SDG working group and civil society advisory group, underlining the crucial role SDG16 implementation is playing in the country.

The next 16+ Annual showcase will be held in November 2019 in Dili, Timor-Leste. For more information, please contact:

12. SDG16+ Survey Results

Pathfinders, along with the other umbrella initiatives for SDG16+ — the Global Alliance for Reporting Progress on Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies and the 16+ Forum — conducted a survey to capture initial efforts from the SDG16+ community leading up to the HLPF and SDG Summit. The survey:

  • gathered over 50 respondents from different regions consisting of governments, UN agencies, NGOs, civil society, academic institutions, private sector, philanthropic organizations, and others
  • highlighted that the majority of respondents focused their efforts around SDG16+ on knowledge exchange and learning; civil society engagement; and international or regional advocacy
  • showed top three SDG16+ targets related to respondents’ areas of work: reduce all forms of violence (SDG 16.1); increase equal access to justice (SDG 16.3); and ensure inclusive and participatory decision-making (SDG 16.7)
  • called attention to joining efforts, collaboration and participation in activities and events as the most useful way to get involved in the HLPF 2019 and SDG Summit

This is the link to planned activities and publications shared by respondents. Please add any events you are planning to the list.

For further details of the results, please see the analysis report. The survey may not capture the full extent of endeavors but we will be sharing other upcoming opportunities to provide updates on plans for the HLPF 2019 and the SDG Summit in the coming weeks.

13. Geneva Meeting on Inequality

On April 2, government experts will come together in Geneva to prepare for the High-level Political Forum, focusing on advancing the SDG16+ agenda on inclusive societies. A follow-up to the Geneva meeting will take place in May during a ministerial level meeting in New York City.

14. Behind the Scenes Ahead of HLPF and the SDG Summit

Preparations are well under way among the Pathfinders’ partners, UN officials, and diplomats for the July HLPF and the SDG Summit in September. According to the latest state of play, we can expect that:

  • The Chair’s Summary for the July HLPF will focus on: (i) areas of progress; (ii) areas of concern; and (iii) acceleration areas with the greatest potential. In addition to a series of side events currently being formulated, the ECOSOC President is also planning to host a roundtable spotlighting SDG interlinkages and improving VNR reporting.
  • The Permanent Representative of El Salvador was recently tasked with choreographing the SDG Summit in September. The general debate is expected to focus on stimulating acceleration of implementation, and there is interest among European leaders for the high-level meeting. Simultaneously, the Permanent Representatives of Sweden and the Bahamas are expected to begin negotiations for the accompanying political declaration on 1 May with an aim of completing it by June (and a possibility of reconvening in early September for any last-minute revisions).
  • UN officials are busy drafting the rationale and narrative for different high-level events in September that will be competing for attention (six, according to our latest count), and exploring the idea of creating a platform to register voluntary commitments of actions made during HLPF by governments, civil society, and private sector.

15. Upcoming Events and Initiatives

This week, gender equality advocates and champions from across the world are gathered for the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York, from 11–22 March. At the same time, the 62nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs is taking place in Vienna, Austria (14–22 March). In addition, there are many events and initiatives to keep an eye out for:

  • This week, Saferworld, TAP Network and the International Peace Institute (IPI) will launch “Voices of SDG16+: Stories for Global Action”, a collaborative campaign meant to showcase the work of civil society on SDG16+ at the 2019 HLPF. Individuals and partners from around the world will have the opportunity to submit short videos telling their “stories” of best practices and extraordinary efforts being undertaken towards SDG16+ at the national and local levels. Stay tuned for more information on how to contribute to this initiative.
  • A series of HLPF preparatory events are taking place on different continents, including the UNECE Regional Forum in Geneva, Switzerland (21–22 March), and the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development in Bangkok, Thailand (27–29 March).
  • OECD is organizing an Integrity Week in Paris, France from 27–28 March and hosting a series of public events relating to anti-corruption and integrity, including the OECD Integrity Forum from 20–21 March
  • The World Bank and UN DESA are convening a meeting on SDG10 and efforts to reduce inequalities on 2–3 April in Geneva, Switzerland. Sarah Cliffe, Director of CIC, will be there speaking about how institutions and governance can help reduce inequalities.
  • In early April, join Pathfinders for a virtual “Big Call” as we rally the SDG16+ community ahead of the re-scheduled Expert Group meeting on SDG16 that will take place 27–29 April in Rome, Italy.
  • During the week of 8–12 April, three notable events are happening across the world, including the Commonwealth Law Conference in Livingstone, Zambia; the meeting of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) in New York, USA; and Civicus International Civil Society Week in Belgrade, Serbia. Topping a busy week is World Bank & IMF Spring Meetings from 12–14 April in Washington D.C., USA.

16. New Additions to the Pathfinders Team

Pathfinders has welcomed three new additions to the team in the past months:

Alisa Jimenez joined Pathfinders in December 2018 as a Program Assistant, primarily supporting the Task Force on Justice. Before joining CIC, Alisa worked with the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) Airbel Center as a Research & Development fellow, and spent time with the United Nations Development Programme in Kosovo.

Justine Brouillaud joined the team in January, as Pathfinders’ Communications Officer. She previously worked in communications at AIDS-Free World, led the WFM-Institute for Global Policy’s International Democratic Governance program, and served as the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict’s UN liaison.

Bojan Francuz — the newest addition to the team — joined as a Program Assistant this month, supporting national delivery and implementation of the SDG16+ commitments. Bojan recently served as a ‘Futurist-in-Residence’ at the Institute for Urban Futures at Concordia University in Montréal, and worked as a policy advisor on political and disarmament affairs at the Permanent Missions of Liechtenstein and Ireland to the UN.

*New funding opportunity! Looking for funding for research events or other projects in security & Rule of Law? The Knowledge Management Fund has opened! To learn more and apply click here.*

Plus… 16 things we’re reading this month:

Saferworld’s Practical guidance for civil society reporting on SDG16+ and their infographic on the SDG16+ localisation process ▪ The Most Significant Access to Justice Gathering in a Decade ▪ Argentina’s Access to Justice Centers (CAJs) in action(in Spanish) ▪ World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2019 ▪ New and inclusive measuring needed for SDG promise of access to justice for all ▪ Vivek Maru reports back from the Task Force on Justice’s final meeting ▪ Clients Need Legal Services But Not Necessarily LawyersProtect and finance those who work for social justice! ▪ Access to justice for the right to housing ▪ SDG16 in the Pacific ▪ Women land defenders face ‘extreme criminalisation’ ▪ Why South Africa should invest in legal technology ▪ V-Dem Annual Policy Dialogue Day Event ▪ Details on the UN’s Funding Compact ▪ UNDP and OGP MOU for the 2030 AgendaNavigating inclusion in peace processes