November 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. A Decade of Action for SDG16+

Following the SDG Summit, the Pathfinders has continued to develop plans for how to put SDG16+ at the heart of the Decade of Action for the SDGs:

  • Member states used the summit’s political declaration to call for “a decade of action and delivery for sustainable development.”
  • The Secretary-General has launched a global conversation for the UN’s 75th anniversary that asks what it will take to close the gap between our aspirations for a better world and current trajectories.
  • He will host the first SDG Action Platform as part of the 75th anniversary summit on September 21, 2020 — an opportunity for leaders to commit to accelerated action on the SDGs.

Read our new challenge paper on the SDG16+ Decade of Action to find out:

  • Why the Climate Action Summit overshadowed the SDG Summit — and what we can learn from it.
  • How SDG16 has attracted more Acceleration Actions (commitments registered with the UN to implement the 2030 Agenda) — but why we need many more.
  • Our proposals for how we can develop strategies to close the gap on SDG16+ priorities, assemble high ambition coalitions committed to transformational change, and build a new mobilization for peace, justice, and inclusion.

2. The Countdown Call

Earlier this month, the SDG16+ community came together virtually for the first of a series of Countdown Calls, leading up to the Decade of Action on the SDGs called for by the Secretary-General. This series of calls will serve to coordinate efforts to make progress and ensure measurable change on SDG16+ targets in the years to come. If you missed it, watch the discussion here.


Stay tuned for the next Countdown Call in January 2020!

3. Accelerating action for SDG16+

As of November 15th, the UN SDG Registry shows SDG16 as having the highest number of Acceleration Actions of all 17 goals. Sixty-six actions were registered, with almost 40 percent related to justice alone.

4. A new challenge paper on gender and disarmament

Pathfinders continues to engage with Germany, a Pathfinder, to advance gender-equal small arms control to enable conflict prevention and development. Most recently, on the sidelines of the UN’s First Committee, we released the Disarmament, Development, Gender and Violence Prevention Challenge Paper, informed by an ongoing engagement with African women leaders involved in arms control. The paper highlights the centrality of disarmament within the broader context of violence prevention and challenges the international community to advance the role of women in pursuing more effective prevention of violence through arms control.

5. Pathfinders at Geneva Peace Week

From left: Rachel Locke (Impact:Peace), Thomas Abt (Harvard Kennedy School of Government), Angela Me (UNODC)

Pathfinders joined more than 250+ speakers at the Geneva Peace Week (GPW) this November. Our marquee event “Ending Urban Violence to Build Urban Peace” featured Thomas Abt, Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, in conversation with Rachel Locke, Director of Impact:Peace, Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego, and Angela Me, Chief Research and Trend Analysis Branch, UNODC. Panelists made the persuasive case that violence not only is concentrated in cities but that the cities themselves are the most effective change agents. The full recording of the event is available here.

Pathfinders’ Bojan Francuz participated in a panel on ‘Good practices and lessons-learned in transitional settings’, organized by Conflict Armament Research and UNIDIR at Geneva Peace Week.

On the sidelines of the GPW, Pathfinders co-hosted a closed discussion with the Small Arms Survey on the ways and approaches to measuring and collecting data around urban violence. These and other discussions throughout the GPW feed into the recently launched Peace in Our Cities campaign.

6. Global Parliament of Mayors commits to halving violence in cities by 2030

On November 9–11, 2019, the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM) met in Durban, South Africa for its Fourth Annual Summit on Empowering Cities for the 2020s, a decade of change: shaping multi-level governance on a global scale. Notably, all mayors of the GPM committed to reducing all forms of violence by 50 percent within cities by 2030, to advocate for the adoption and financing of smarter security measures, and to fostering stronger partnerships with international organizations.

The Mayors also called on national governments to support data-driven and evidence-based standards to improve public safety and security, and for international institutions to “create and support formal platforms for cities and their networks to be involved in the shaping of international policies pertaining to security.”

7. 16+ Forum Showcase

Pathfinders, in partnership with the Rule of Law Collaborative, presented the Justice for All report at the 16+ Forum Annual Showcase in Dili, Timor-Leste on November 14th. The presentation was followed by two panels which helped unpack the report’s findings. The first panel entitled “Leadership for 16.3: Role of different justice actors in bridging the justice gap” included the Honorable Makario Tagini, Minister of Justice, the Solomon Islands; Fidelis Manual Leite Malghães, Minister of Legislative Reform and Parliamentary Affairs, Timor-Leste; Agneta Johansson, Executive Director, the International Legal Assistance Consortium; and Thyn Zar, Director of the Public Legal Aid Network, Myanmar. The panel covered a range of topics including a lively discussion on the interplay between customary and formal justice systems.

The second panel, “Access to Justice for Action: What Works and Why?” included Dr. Manual Carceres da Costa, Minister of Justice, Timor-Leste; Ms. Munkhtuya Altangerel, Resident Representative of UNDP, Timor-Leste; Ms. Stacey Cram, Policy Director, Namati; and Mr. Alan Wu, Senior Regional Coordinator, Open Government Partnership, Asia-Pacific. Panelists discussed what are the practical means in-country to improve access to justice for all.

8. Violence against children

Pathfinders’ David Steven and Harshani Dharmadasa attended a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children.

David Steven spoke at the latest meeting of the Executive Committee of the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children.

He also travelled to Geneva for the World Health Organization’s workshop to develop the main messages of the Global Status Report on Preventing Violence against Children. Read the first Global Status Report — which covered all forms of non-conflict violence — here. Both these meetings come ahead of Universal Children’s Day on November 20th.

9. U.S. launch of Justice for All

Former Attorney-General of the Bahamas, and current Task Force member, Allyson Maynard-Gibson, launched the Justice for All report at the annual gathering of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) in Detroit, Michigan, earlier this month.

Allyson Maynard-Gibson QC addressed the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA)

“A people-centered approach to justice is the solution to resolving justice problems. This means putting the people you serve before the process” — Allyson Maynard-Gibson

Speaking to an audience of over 500 legal practitioners, including public defenders and those working in legal aid, Maynard-Gibson put the lessons of the Justice for All report into a U.S. context, highlighting the ways in which those in attendance rise to the challenge to bring justice to those who need it the most, and connecting the work to the larger international movement for justice for all.

10. Technology takes center stage at the World Bank’s Law, Justice and Development week

Pathfinders’ Maaike de Langen participated in the World Bank’s Law, Justice and Development week.

This year’s Law, Justice and Development week focused on technology. A plenary panel organized by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), discussed how technological innovation can be used to provide justice for all.

  • Zambia’s Chief Justice, Irene Chirwa Mambilima, underscored that for most Zambians, access to courts and the internet is limited. She also drew attention to the need for investing in cyber security while courts digitize their work. As she put it: “if court records can be manipulated, we are back to square one”.
  • Pathfinders’ Maaike de Langen emphasized that when we use more technology, more data becomes available. This data allows us to better understand and resolve people’s justice problems, which can drive reform and better results in justice systems.
  • As an example of technological advances that can support better access to justice services, Tanina Rostain referenced several tools, including this amazing interactive map that uses a variety of data sources to analyze legal vulnerability.

In another session, Chelsea Shelton of UNDP, Yannic Koertgen of GIZ, and Maaike de Langen had a fireside chat about the possibilities of technological developments to increase legal empowerment.

11. What’s next on justice — strategy call for justice partners

Wondering what’s next after the Justice for All report?

We will update our partners on Monday, November 25th, sharing the 2020 plans for Justice for All. Dial in for:

  • An update on the shared strategy we’re developing
  • Key dates to keep in mind
  • Upcoming events and opportunities for collaboration

If you would like to join, please reach out via email to:

12. Pathfinders at the Paris Peace Forum

Pathfinders participated in the second Paris Peace Forum, alongside 30+ Heads of State and thousands of policymakers, diplomats, activists, and civil society representatives. This was our first engagement at the Forum, as we are looking toward the SDG Decade of Action and Delivery in 2020 and ways to align our efforts on halving global violence with the Forum’s goals of serving as a platform to “advance governance solutions where there are none.”

Bojan Francuz, Pathfinders’ Program Associate, hosted an informal discussion at the Forum about our ongoing Peace in Our Cities efforts and ways to support mayors and local authorities in reducing urban violence.

13. Moving forward in the fight to end inequality and exclusion

Amid the whirlwind of this year’s UN General Assembly, there were some bright moments for meaningful progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. One that particularly stood out was a gathering of leaders from a diverse group of countries who came together, at the invitation of Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, to speak up about the need for multilateral action on one of the most pressing sources of political polarization and public anger in our world: rising inequality and exclusion. In their joint statement, they “commit to working together to identify practical and politically viable solutions to the challenge of inequality and exclusion in our own societies and globally.”

Read CIC Director Sarah Cliffe’s blog on our collaboration with these countries for the Grand Challenge of Inequality and Exclusion here.

14. How better policy choices could help governments prevent inequality-driven protests

(Protesters in Santiago, Chile in October 2019. Marcelo Gonzalez/CC BY-SA 2.0)

A wave of protests have filled capital city streets from Quito to Santiago to Beirut to Baghdad. The sparks that lit this unrest have their roots in suffocating and structural forms of inequality and exclusion. In a new blog, Pathfinders’ Michael Higgins argues that a new suite of progressive policies are now available which countries can use to respond to citizen demands and avoid political turmoil.

15. SDG16+ Events App

Stay informed about events and meetings related to SDG16+ happening around the world as the SDG16+ community gears up for a Decade of Action, by downloading our SDG16+ Events App.

Want to feature your event on the app or in our SDG16+ Calendar? Submit your events and meetings here.

16. Welcoming new members of the team

We are pleased to introduce two new members of the Pathfinders team!

Kimberly Brown, joined Pathfinders as a Senior Policy Analyst in September. She has extensive experience in the areas of human rights, gender equality, access to justice, legal and policy reforms, international criminal law, and governance. Kimberly joins CIC most recently from the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), where she managed programs relating to access to justice and gender reforms towards implementation of the 2010 Kenyan Constitution, with an emphasis on the judicial transformation agenda, the national legal aid plan, children’s rights, commercial justice, and gender equality.

Anthony Triolo will be joining Pathfinders as the National Liaison Officer in the Justice team. He comes to this role with extensive experience working for international organizations in countries such as Sierra Leone and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and most recently served as the Senior External Relations Officer of the Rule of Law Collaborative, University of South Carolina. Prior to this, he was the Senior Government Relations Officer at the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) in Rome, Italy. Anthony’s expertise includes external and government relations and transitional justice.

Plus 16 things we’re reading

1. International Legal Assistance Consortium’s (ILAC) recent rule of law assessment report, “Still Looking for Justice: Customary Law, the Courts and Access to Justice in Liberia

2. A profile of Peace in Our Cities campaign partner, Impact:Peace in PassBlue, featuring an interview with Impact:Peace’s director (and Pathfinders’ alumnus) Rachel Locke.

3. The Atlantic’s fascinating interview with Thomas Abt on his ‘how-to manual’ for peace in the streets

4. World Justice Project’s ‘Global Insights on Access to Justice 2019’ report

5. ‘We can halve most forms of violence by 2030. Here’s how’, a new blog by Robert Muggah

6. A new blog by the Mott Foundation on ‘Increasing access to justice

7. The Engine Room and Open Society Justice Initiative’s report on ‘Technology and Legal Empowerment Around the World

8. Brookings’ new report on ‘Building the SDG economy: Needs, spending, and financing for universal achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals’

9. Canadian Forum on Civil Justice’s report on ‘Investing in Justice

10. A recent Brookings’ analysis of tackling vertical and horizontal inequality

11. A deep-dive into Chile’s inequality-driven protests in the New York Times

12. Small Arms Survey’s Gender-responsive Small Arms Control Handbook

13. Principles for Inclusive Peace, a new independent initiative launched by Interpeace at the Paris Peace Forum

14. UNIDIR’s presentation on making the links between disarmament and the SDGs

15. An examination of ‘The Promise of Data-Driven Policymaking’ in ISSUES

Ahead of this year’s CSW, an analysis of civil society engagement in the pursuit of gender justice