Pathfinders at the High-level Political Forum


At the High-level Political Forum, ten Pathfinder countries demonstrated successful implementation of SDG16+ in their Voluntary National Reviews. The thematic review of SDG16 was supported by a joint statement from 36 countries and a new version of the Roadmap for Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies.

The Pathfinders co-hosted eight SDG16+ events and two high-level dinners, working with more than 25 government, civil society, and private sector partners.

We published major reports from the Task Force on Justice — as the UN Secretary-General called for urgent action to meet the needs of 5 billion people who are deprived of justice.

We launched the grand challenge on inequality and exclusion, with the announcement of an advisory council bringing together member states and key partners.

Our SDG16+ Festival Guide helped participants navigate the formal sessions of the HLPF and more than 110 SDG16+ side events. The Pathfinders’ Booth informed more than 600 delegates about SDG16+.

Key Messages on SDG16+

Our key message for the High-level Political Forum was the need for accelerated action to:

  • Significantly reduce all forms of violence everywhere, with the aim of halving global violence.
  • Shift from a world where justice is only available to the privileged few, to one that protects human rights and provides justice for all.
  • Transform institutions so that they can meet the aspirations of people and underpin the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda.
  • Tackle inequality and exclusion so that all people have a stake in a fairer and more sustainable future.

Accelerating Action at the SDG Summit

The High-level Political Forum provides a platform for action on SDG16+ at the SDG Summit from 24–25 September 2019.

We hope that Heads of State and Government will use the Leaders Dialogues to make concrete proposals for accelerating the achievement of SDG16+ in all countries, but with targeted action to reach the furthest behind first.

We are supporting governments and partners from all sectors to register Acceleration Actions on SDG16+ for the summit and we are responding to the call from the Deputy Secretary-General for “a decade of action to deliver on the SDGs” as we mobilize for a Decade of Action on SDG16+.

Voluntary National Reviews from Pathfinder Countries

Central African Republic

CAR is implementing its Recovery and Peacebuilding Plan (2017–2021). It announced plans to set up a governance group working on SDG16, and has accelerated progress towards post-conflict recovery through its peace and reconciliation agreement between armed groups in February 2019. Challenges: high rates of crime and sexual violence, endemic corruption, income inequality, and women’s political participation.


Enacted legislation to prevent all forms of domestic violence and abuse and ensure access to justice for all. Pre-trial detention has been cut from 30 percent in 2007 to 13 percent in 2018 and birth registration has increased from 63 percent in 2011 to over 71 percent in 2017. Challenges remain: Ghana reports that psychological and sexual violence remain higher than expected among women.


Though there has been progress in reducing crime, citizens’ trust in security institutions remains low. Challenges and priorities ahead: strengthening institutions and access to justice, and reducing inequalities, especially for indigenous populations, women and people with disabilities.


Increased financial inclusion (especially for the poorest), strengthened democracy, reduced corruption, expanded birth registration, and greater access to legal aid. Challenges include: limited access to responsive public services, unequal quality education and economic opportunity, and inadequate data and information.


Progress towards greater social cohesion, legal certainty, and ability to combat corruption and money laundering. Challenges: accessibility and usability of digital platforms for all social groups; ending discriminatory comments against social groups in media fora; and strengthening efforts to support migrant integration and citizen relations.


Governance reforms to consolidate peace, build strong and accountable public institutions, and create a stable environment conducive to investment and growth, spurring inclusive growth (lifting millions out of poverty), fighting corruption, and expanding access to quality justice.

Sierra Leone

Strong reporting on increasing access to justice (more than 215,000 people have benefited from legal representation, advice, and education), anti-corruption, and birth registration. Created Government Commissions to coordinate service delivery on human rights and inclusion.


Created independent human rights, anti-corruption, and electoral institutions; promoted decentralization; built institutional capacity; and strengthened the justice sector. Challenges include: low birth registration rates, a dearth of well-trained lawyers, weak institutional capacity, and high rates of domestic violence and violence in schools.


Gender equality policy was reinforced during the 2018 municipal elections, with 48% of the candidates being women and 20% of mayors elected were women. National social protection programs for the poor have risen from 22% in 2010 to 50% in 2019. Challenges: economic growth and unemployment rates remain stagnant.

United Kingdom

Progress on protection for the rights of minorities and vulnerable people, strengthening the criminal justice system (crime has fallen by 40 percent over the last decade), tackling fraud and corruption, and increasing transparency in public services. £5 million invested in an innovation fund to support access to justice.

Publications launched at the HLPF 2019

Joint Statement on SDG16+

Supported by Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Central African Republic, Colombia, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Indonesia, Ireland, Jordan, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, United Kingdom, and Uruguay.

Download here.

Roadmap for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies

The Roadmap provides a shared vision for how to deliver the 2030 Agenda targets for peaceful, just and inclusive societies (SDG16+). This updated version includes 4 new Pathfinders (Ethiopia, Germany, Jordan, and Norway) and a new foreword signed by all 31 member states.

Download here.

Justice for All: Final Report

From the Pathfinders’ Task Force on Justice chaired by Ministers of Argentina, the Netherlands, and Sierra Leone, and the Elders. Drawing on research by the world’s leading justice organizations and experts, the report provides a first estimate of the global justice gap, and makes the case for shifting from a model that provides justice for the few, to one that delivers measurable improvements in justice for all.

Download here.

Justice for All: Highlights and Policy Recommendations

Summarizes the main message of the Task Force: “To deliver justice for all by 2030 in a world where billions of people are not yet able to obtain justice, we must resolve justice problems, prevent injustices from occurring, and use justice systems to create opportunities for people to participate fully in their societies and economies.”

Download here.

Grand Challenge on Inequality and Exclusion Challenge Paper

Highlights the exciting ideas and practices which are emerging or already taking place in the area of inequality and inclusion and presents policy options that are practical in technical terms, viable in political terms, and can be applied on a cross-regional basis.

Download here.

Pathfinder events at the HLPF 2019

SDG16+ and the Future We Want

Speakers: Baroness Sugg, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, UK; Marcos Bonturi, Director for Public Governance, OECD; H.E. Dr. Francis Mustapha Kai-Kai, Minister of Planning and Economic Development of Sierra Leone and Chair of g7+; Lynrose Genon, 16x16 Initiative; Kim Haviv, White & Case LLP; Florence Syevuo, SDG Kenya Forum; Mark Thompson, CEO, NY Times.

Our partners: 16+ Forum, and the Global Alliance for Reporting Progress on Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, in collaboration with Lexis Nexis, TAP Network, and the UK Mission to the UN.

Showcased ‘what works’ to achieve progress on SDG16+ at all levels, galvanizing political will for investment in evidence-based actions and empower all — including the youth — to accelerate progress on SDG16+.

SDG16+ and the Future We Want: Reception

Speakers: H.E. Ms. Mary Robinson, Chair of the Elders; H.E. Ms. Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights; H.E. Fidelis Magalhaes, Minister for Legislative Reform and Parliamentary Affairs, Timor-Leste.

Our partners: 16+ Forum, and the Global Alliance for Reporting Progress on Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, in collaboration with Lexis Nexis, TAP Network, and the UK Mission to the UN.

Exhibition booths: UN DESA, ActionAid, World Justice Project, TAP Network, Pathfinders, 16+ Forum, Global Alliance, Voices of SDG16+, UN Global Compact (Pfizer, LexisNexis, White & Case LLP), FPU, GFMD, UNESCO.

A reception to highlight existing national progress on SDG16+ and to encourage more ambitious commitments to accelerate action towards peace, justice, and inclusion.

Building Momentum on the Grand Challenge on Inequality and Exclusion

Speakers: H. E. Mr. Kang Jeong-sik, Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea; H.E. Ms. Annika Söder, State Secretary to Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden; H.E. Mr. Bambang Brodjonegoro, Minister of National Development Planning, Indonesia; H.E. Mr. Belgacem Ayed, Director General, Ministry of Development and International Cooperation, Tunisia; H.E. Mr. Fidelis Magalhaes, Minister for Legal Reforms and Parliamentary Affairs, Timor-Leste; Ms. Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, OXFAM International.

Our partners: Indonesia, The Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone, Sweden, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, and Oxfam.

A high-level side event aimed at deepening engagement and support amongst member states and key stakeholders working to build more equal and inclusive societies, economies, and political institutions.

Justice for All

Speakers: H.E. Priscilla Schwartz, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of Sierra Leone; Maria Fernanda Rodriguez, Vice-Minister of Justice and Human Rights of Argentina; Ambassador Lise Gregoire-van Haaren of the Netherlands; H.E. Ms. Mary Robinson, Chair of the Elders; Sara Hossain, member of the Task Force on Justice.

Our partners: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the Elders, Namati, Open Society Justice Initiative, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Argentina to the UN, and Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN.

Launch of the Justice for All report and award of the 2019 Grassroots Justice Prizes. Followed by a high-level dinner on justice for all, with the UN Deputy Secretary-General as special guest.

Gender Equality, Arms Control and the 2030 Agenda

Speakers: Karin Goebel, Head of Economic Department, Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations; H.E. Ambassador Martha A. A. Pobee, Permanent Representative of Ghana to the UN & Representative of the Group of Friends of the African Women Leaders Network to the UN; Mary Soliman, Chief, Regional Disarmament Branch, United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs; Verlaine-Diane Soobroydoo, Policy Adviser on WPS, Permanent Observer Mission of the African Union to the UN; Focal Point, African Women Leaders Network (AWLN); Josephine Habba, President, West Africa Action Network on Small Arms, Nigeria Chapter (WAANSA) & Representative of the African Women Leaders Network.

Our partners: Germany, Ghana, Namibia, the African Union, and the African Women Leaders Network.

Highlighted the role of women leaders in arms control and announced the development of a cross-regional network for gender equal arms control.

SDG16 in Conflict-Affected Situations: Ambition vs. Reality

Speakers: H.E. Dr. Francis Mustapha Kai-Kai, Minister of Planning and Economic Development of Sierra Leone and Chair of g7+; H.E. Mohammad Mustafa Mastoor, Minister of Economy, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; H.E. Dionisio Babo Soares, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste; H.E Lee Mi-kyung, President of KOICA; H.E. Félix Moloua, Minister of Economic Planning and Cooperation, Central African Republic; and H.E. Priscilla Schwartz, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of Sierra Leone.

Our partners: The g7+ Secretariat and the Permanent Missions of Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste, and Republic of Korea.

Identified common trends, successful strategies, and effective policies for promoting peace, justice, and inclusion and facilitating sustainable development in conflict-affected countries.

Other events Pathfinders contributed to

Strengthening the Rule of Law and Human Rights to Achieve Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies
Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Ibero-American Judicial Summit, Conference of Ministers of Justice of Ibero-America Countries, and Ibero-American Association of Attorney Generals.

Driving Transformative Change: Foreign Affairs and the 2030 Agenda
adelphi and Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN.

VNR Lab on “Leaving no one behind: Inclusive implementation and reporting”
UN Division for Inclusive Social Development.

Partnering with civil society, citizens and children to achieve SDG16
World Vision International and the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.

Justice for Children Call to Action
Permanent Mission of Belgium to the UN, Office of the SRSG on Violence Against Children, CELCIS, University of Strathclyde, Terre des hommes, Defence for Children International.

Review of SDG Implementation and Interrelations among goals: Discussion on SDG 10 — Reduced Inequalities
Official HLPF meeting.

Gender Equal Arms Control Dinner
Closed Event.

Launch of Joint-CSO Report: Empowering Civil Society for National Reporting and Action on SDG16
Global Alliance for Reporting Progress on Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies.

Effective Development Co-operation in Fragile Contexts
Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation, OECD, UNDP, Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, CPDE.

KOICA roundtable: South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Peace and Development in the Conflict Fragile Contexts
Korea International Cooperation Agency.

UN-Business Roundtable on Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals
UN Global Compact.

DCAF/CIC Expert Roundtable — the role of independent oversight bodies in SDG 16.6 and 16.A
DCAF — Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance and NYU/CIC.

High-Level side event on Reducing Inequalities: SDG 10 Progress and Prospects
UN DESA, UNDP, World Bank.

Empowering Civil Society for National Reporting and Action on SDG16
Korea International Cooperation Agency.

Religions for Peace — the role of faith communities in building peaceful, just and inclusive societies in Latin America and the Caribbean
Religions for Peace.

From our partners

Report from the Global Alliance providing an overview of country level actions and progress on SDG16+ across different regions and development contexts and highlighting key trends and findings on SDG16+ implementation globally.

Open Government Partnership’s briefing paper with examples of progress on SDG targets in-country.

A video campaign showcasing the work of civil society organizations around the world at the 2019 HLPF.

Being held on November 11–14, 2019, in Dili, Timor-Leste, The 16+ Forum Annual Showcase on the theme of “Reconciliation, Strong Institutions and Inclusion”.

Safe to Learn, an initiative of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, announced 13 commitments by partners to end violence against children in and through schools.

The Global Compact announced plans for a series of national consultations on the Global Compact’s Action Platform for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, which aims to develop global business standards in understanding, implementing, and reporting on business engagement on SDG16.