May 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 website.

1. Justice for All: Over 5 billion people lack meaningful access to justice

Over 5 billion people lack meaningful access to justice. According to our report Justice for All, they live in situations of extreme injustice, they have justice problems they cannot resolve, or they are excluded from the opportunities and protections of the law. The report advocates that to realize just societies, countries need to move from systems that only provide justice for the few to systems that provide justice for all — such is the promise of the 2030 Agenda.

The Task Force on Justice has worked with the world’s leading justice data organizations to compile a first estimate of the global justice gap. The report captures experiences from around the world of what works to improve people’s justice journey and how justice can be used to prevent conflicts and violence.

The Task Force calls to action governments, justice professionals, other sectors, civil society, the private sector, international and regional organizations, and foundations and philanthropists, to join the movement for justice.

Read the full report and accompanying materials here:

2. Justice for All in The Hague

Pictured: Brigitta Tazelaar, Hina Jilani, Dr. Priscilla Schwartz, Maaike de Langen (Photo: Bart Hoogveld)

The first presentation of the Justice for All report was held at World Justice Forum in The Hague on April 29, 2019.

Task Force co-chair Minister Kaag was represented by Birgitta Tazelaar, Deputy Director General on International Cooperation for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, who underlined the different ways in which the report is groundbreaking and the importance of the Hague Declaration on Equal Access to Justice for All by 2030 to further consolidate the movement.

In her remarks, Task Force co-chair Dr. Priscilla Schwartz, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of Sierra Leone emphasized: “To close the justice gap, we need to step up our ambition for justice systems. For too long, including in my country, justice systems have delivered justice only for the few — usually the wealthy and the powerful. As we saw in Sierra Leone, this unfairness can lead to tremendous resentment among the people, and this resentment can eventually explode into terrible violence.”

Task Force co-chair Hina Jilani of the Elders drew attention to the report’s emphasis on the role of civil society: “People cannot always navigate complex legal problems and systems by themselves, and they can’t always afford lawyers to help them navigate these systems. Civil society actors as advocacy groups or as community support groups, such as paralegals, help fulfill that gap. They advise citizens where they can access support and help them to find timely, practical solutions to their problems that don’t require them to fall into debt or into poverty traps.”

Watch the full launch session here.

3. The Guardian: Poor bear the brunt as global justice system fails 5.1 billion people

To coincide with the launch of the Justice for All report, The Guardian’s Kate Hodal spoke with Task Force co-chair, Dr. Priscilla Schwartz, Pathfinders’ David Steven, and Gerald Abila of Barefoot Law (Uganda).

Read more in The Guardian here.

4. Mary Robinson: “The fix is easier than you think.”

“With sufficient political will and financial ambition, I am certain that we can advance the cause of justice for all and build a world where access to justice is a right afforded to everyone, not just the privilege of a minority.”

Read an op-ed published in The Independent by The Elders’ Mary Robinson, on the Justice for All report, here.

5. Justicia para Todos in Buenos Aires

The Spanish edition of the Justice for All report — Justicia para Todos — was launched in Buenos Aires on May 8, 2019. Task Force co-chair, Minister Germán Garavano, Minister of Justice and Human Rights of Argentina, presented the report at a high-level meeting in the Palacio San Martin, in the presence of Minister Jorge Faurie, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina.

The launch of the report was celebrated as part of a week of activities promoting access to justice, the #SemanaDeAcceso. This week also included discussions with the Argentine justice sector, meetings with representatives of Latin American Ministers of Justice, a large conference on access to justice, the launch of the High-level Group on Justice for Women report, and a visit to the far north of Argentina to experience first-hand what leaving no one behind means for justice systems.

The Buenos Aires declaration on equal access to justice for all, endorsing the principle of the Hague declaration, was adopted by representatives of Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, and Uruguay — led by Argentina.

6. Leaving no one behind in Argentina

During the week on access to justice in Argentina, Minister Germán Garavano, Minister of Justice and Human Rights of Argentina, and Maria-Fernanda Rodriguez, Under-Secretary, Access to Justice, Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Argentina, traveled to the remote northern town of Susques in the Jujuy province to meet the team that runs the local Access to Justice center (CAJ). International partners, including Task Force members — Jim Goldston of the Open Society Justice Initiative, Alejandro Ponce of the World Justice Project, and CIC’s Karina Gerlach and Maaike de Langen — joined them on this visit to experience what leaving no one behind means for the justice sector in Argentina.

The CAJ team, comprised of a lawyer, a psychologist, a social worker, and a driver/administrative assistant, explained that Susques — remote as it is and with its population of 1,600 — is an urban center consisting of an area of 200 km around the town. The team uses the mobile access to justice center (see picture), driving up to 3,500 kilometers a month, to travel to where people live, in the high lands of the Andes.

7. Combating inequality and exclusion

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 retreat was convened by the government of Sweden and the NYU Center on International Cooperation with the governments of Canada, Indonesia, Korea, Jordan, Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste, and Tunisia.

Notable panelists included H.E. Annika Söder, Sweden’s State Secretary for Foreign; Dr. Saida Ounissi, Tunisia’s Minister of Vocational Training and Employment; Dr. Bambang Widianto, Indonesia’s Deputy Minister for Human Development and Equality; Dr. Diani Sadia Wati, Indonesias’ Deputy Minister of Development Planning; and Sir Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, University of Oxford.

By bringing policymakers and technical experts to the same table, the retreat represented an important first step to identifying technically sound and politically viable solutions to reducing inequality and exclusion. Participants debated topics such as political leadership to foster social cohesion and common ground, fiscal compromises, ways in which social protection and services can help redistribution and recognition, the impact of new technologies and changing employment, and strategies to foster spatial inclusion between thriving cities and lagging regions.

A challenge paper will be launched at a high-level event on July 17 during the UN High-level Political Forum, organized by the Government of Korea.

8. Expert-level Pathfinders meeting

Following up on a high-level breakfast briefing in April 2019, the Pathfinders’ member states gathered at technical level to share updates on the latest progress in the lead up towards the High-level Political Forum and the SDG Summit.

  • Pathfinders will be updating the Roadmap for the Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies. The revised roadmap will include forward-looking country examples to demonstrate growing national commitment to SDG16+ implementation, making it a valuable input for the High-level Political Forum and SDG Summit.
  • In the lead up to and during the High-level Political Forum, the Pathfinders will circulate a list of SDG16+ side events and launch a Festival Guide for the HLPF. Please share with us plans for the side events during the Forum to

9. Coming to HLPF 2019: “SDG16+ and the Future We Want”

Mark your calendars: HLPF is only two months away and we are co-hosting our side event, taking place on July 16, 6:15–7:30pm at UN Headquarters, followed a reception at the Ford Foundation from 7:30–9:00pm. Under the banner of “SDG16+ and the Future We Want”, we will be bringing engaging speakers 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.

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).

10. Building on 16: How the SDGs can build a more peaceful world

If we are to halve global violence in the next ten years — achieving a significant reduction as called for by SDG16.1 — the foreign policy community will be essential. The international system was set up, after all, to help maintain and advance peace and security globally.

But violence today does not look as it did decades ago. There is far greater integration and convergence than ever before, resulting in violence patterns that are insufficiently defined as “conflict” or “extremist” or “interpersonal” or “criminal.”

Effective prevention is only possible if our analysis, policy, and practice spans the spectrum of violence manifestations. It is also only possible if we put the vast knowledge we have collected on how to prevent violence into actual practice.

Ministries of Foreign Affairs — with a broad view across various communities and the ability to convene them together — are crucial to make this happen.

At a launch event in Berlin on April 30 for a new essay, co-authored by David Steven and Rachel Locke of CIC together with Lukas Rüttinger of adelphi, David described how the SDGs can serve as a tool to advance thinking on engagement of foreign policy actors.

11. Stockholm Peace and Development Forum

The Stockholm Peace and Development Forum kicked off on day one with a panel moderated by David Steven titled: “Neglected, immeasurable and hyper-complicated: Is Sustainable Development Goal 16 for peaceful and inclusive societies doomed to fail?” Panelists, which included Somalia’s Foreign Minister, among others, highlighted the “crises of confidence” that exists in many places, both between people and between people and their institutions. They stressed the need for more specific language, particularly on the term “inclusivity”, and the necessity for practical solutions as prevention.

On day two of the Forum, Pathfinders, together with Geneva Peacebuilding Platform, hosted a session on “Human rights, peacebuilding and SDG16.1: Breaking silos and building bridges.” This session discussed how human rights tools, such as the Convention on Racial Discrimination, can help address rights violations to prevent violence. This orientation directly links the presence of human rights abuses to larger structural violence, and serves as early warning indications of the potential for broader, social violence.

As is true every year, the Forum brought together hundreds of experts across the data, academic, military, practitioner, policymaker, and political realms. Session summaries and “instant reporting” can be found here.

12. Stockholm 16.1 Retreat

Taking advantage of the expertise gathered in Stockholm for the annual Peace and Development Forum, Pathfinders held a workshop on advancing our work on Peaceful Societies on Monday, May 13.

Hosted at the offices of SIPRI, Pathfinders brought together a group of leaders in the violence and conflict prevention space to conceptualize a movement to halve global violence in all its forms under a common mission. This co-creation process entailed horizon scanning, empirical orientation, and campaign testing. Participants also discussed the outlines of a joint strategy and conceptual framing to address all forms of violence in an inclusive, comprehensive, and practical approach.

Additional workshops are planned for the coming months. If you are interested in attending or hosting one, please let us know!

13. Launch of Justicia para las Mujeres

Panelists: Maria-Fernanda Rodriguez, Under-Ssecretary of Access to Justice, Ministry of Justice and Human Rights; Olga Perez, Coordinator for Latin America, IDLO; Adriana Quinones Giraldo, Country representative for UN Women Guatemala; Francesca Daverio, Senior Counsel and Special Assistant; Ambassador Leoni Cuelenaere, The Netherlands

The High-level Group on Justice for Women — El Grupo de Alto Nivel sobre Justicia para las Mujeres — launched their Spanish language report, Justicia para las Mujeres, on Thursday 8 May. The launch took place during Argentina’s Access to Justice week in Buenos Aires, and included a panel.

The High-level group was co-convened by Phumzile Nguka-Mlambo, Executive Director of UN Women; Irene Khan, Director General of IDLO; and Sandie Okoro, Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel of the World Bank.

The report can be found online here

14. Conference on International Criminal Law and the 2030 Agenda in Nuremberg

Photo: International Nuremberg Principles Academy/LÉROT

The Nuremberg Academy brought together leading practitioners and academics for a discussion on synergies between International Criminal Law and the 2030 Agenda, in the historic Courtroom 600 in the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, on May 3. In the opening panel Building the Foundations for Justice and Rule of Law, NYU-CIC’s Maaike de Langen, presented the report of the Task Force on Justice and asked participants to consider what people-centered justice looks like for international courts and tribunals.

  • Former UN-High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, emphasized the impact of human rights principles on the 2030 Agenda as the first global agreement, which explicitly recognizes governance and civil and political rights as a dimension of sustainable development.
  • Klaus Rackwitz, Director of the Nuremberg Academy underlined that “The UN Agenda 2030 and its effective implementation has a crucial role to play in the prevention of conflict, peacebuilding and sustaining peace.”

The other panelists, Glaucia Boyer, Policy Advisor, UNDP, Bertrand Ramcharan, former Acting High Commissioner, United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, and Marieke Wierda, Rule of Law Coordinator, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, added perspectives from transitional justice and international human rights instruments and mechanisms.

15. Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law 2019 Annual Conference — Call for Session Proposals

The Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law will host its 2019 Annual Conference on October 10, at COMM in The Hague.

The Annual Conference brings together the brightest minds in the security and rule of law (SRoL) community and beyond, to critically engage with the most pressing questions in the field. The conference connects SRoL stakeholders, with the objective of sparking discussions and enabling knowledge transfer beyond systemic and geographical boundaries. Through interactive exchanges in workshops, debates and discussions, the Platform aims to extract lessons and best practices that will help to shape security and rule of law policy. The content of the Annual Conference is split between sessions conceived and organized by the Secretariat and the sessions that result from this call, submitted by the Platform network.

Submit your session proposals by Friday, June 14 here!

16. Upcoming events

In the weeks ahead, look out for several events related to SDG16+ in the lead up to the HLPF and SDG Summits:

  • SDG16 Conference from May 27–29, in Rome, Italy will bring together civil society to take stock of global progress towards achieving the SDG16. More than 300 participants and high-level speakers are expected to attend. With OHCHR and the Global Alliance, Pathfinders will be organizing a plenary roundtable on “Strategies for accelerating broad and inclusive implementation of SDG16” on the morning of May 28. Later that evening, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IDLO, and Pathfinders will be hosting a reception for regional launch of the Justice for All report, and the High-level Group on Justice for Women report, with speakers who will share highlights of both reports.
  • Open Government Partnership Global Summit from May 29–31, in Ottawa, Canada. The sixth Global Summit hosted by the Government of Canada will bring 79 member countries and 20 local governments of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), together with participants from local and regional governments, civil society groups, academia, and beyond to share knowledge and create solutions for more open and transparent governments around the globe. Pathfinders, along with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC|CRDI) and the Global Centre for Pluralism, will host the Canadian launch of the Justice for All report on Thursday, May 30, from 8:30–10:00am.
  • A dialogue session on “Transitional Justice and the Sustainable Development Goals,” will be held on June 6, in Brussels. Hosted by the International Center on Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the dialogue session will focus on assessing the challenges and opportunities in advancing the 2030 Agenda through transitional justice processes. The dialogue session will draw on the research of the Working Group on Transitional Justice and SDG16+, which was co-convened by the Task Force on Justice and ICTJ.

Plus… 16 things we’re reading:

  1. A new practical guide on the protection of LGBTI persons deprived of liberty
  2. TAP Network’s new ‘SDG Accountability Handbook: A Practical Guide for Civil Society’
  3. HiiL’s Sam Muller writes about people-centered justice in Mali in Slaw
  4. HiiL’s report on ‘Justice Needs and Satisfaction in Mali — second wave’
  5. The story of one man’s struggles to secure a legal identity by Namati
  6. Time to close the shaming justice gap’ by The Elders
  7. CBC’s coverage of Ontario’s decision to expand the use of mobile crisis teamsLearn more about the Global Youth Justice 2030 Global Goal for SDG 16
  8. ODI’s working paper on ‘Achieving equal access to justice for all by 2030: lessons from global funds’
  9. ‘Criminal justice reform is great. But where’s the data to show us whether it’s working?’ Op-ed in USA Today
  10. Is Prison Necessary?’ An activist’s take on criminal justice reform in the New York Times
  11. How Haqdarshak is helping facilitate economic justice in India’ on Justice Hub
  12. 5.1 Billion People Denied Real Justice Within World’s Woeful Legal Systems: Study
  13. Law 360’s interview with Pathfinders’ Maaike de Langen on the Justice for Allreport
  14. Struggle, survival, success. Lessons on engaging the justice sector’ by HiiL
  15. Hina Jilani’s inspiring speech at the World Justice Forum
  16. The News International’s editorial on Justice for All in Pakistan