SDG16+ at the HLPF


Daily updates to help you make sense of all the action on peace, justice and inclusion at the High-level Political Forum.

“This is what we saw and heard — tell us what we missed!”

Key resources: SDG16+ Festival Guide (Pdf, Android, Apple) | Roadmap on Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies | SDG16+ report

Thursday, July 18

Thursday’s highlights — Day 8

That’s a wrap! After eight days of intense discussions, debate and activity, the 2019 High-level Political Forum closed on Thursday evening.

Before the closing, H.E. Gloria Amparo Alonso Másmela, Minister of National Planning, Director of the National Planning Department and Chair of the SDG Commission of Colombia, summarized the key findings of the Forum:

Areas where progress has been made:

  • Greater country ownership over the 2030 Agenda and stronger participation in the VNR processes, revealing similar challenges facing many nations

Areas for accelerated action and attention in the year ahead:

  • Turning attention to reversals in global progress on education.
  • Tackling the looming threat of climate change.
  • Addressing rising inequality, and a need for greater attention to be paid to the implementation of SDG10.
  • A greater emphasis on the promise of SDG16 as an enabler for the delivery of the entire 2030 Agenda, especially addressing barriers to accessing justice around the world.

Deputy-Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed took the floor at the closing session of the HLPF, issuing a call for accelerated action in the year ahead: “It is clear that the left behind are still being left behind. We must do more to reach the most excluded and discriminated against. We know the clock is ticking and the stakes are high… This is the time to put in place the foundations for a decade of action to deliver on the SDGs and a pathway towards peace, prosperity for us all, and a healthy and thriving planet.”

In her closing remarks, ECOSOC President, H.E. Rhonda King, echoed the DSG’s call to launch, “an ambitious decade of action that puts the world on a new trajectory for SDG achievement,” starting by making clear commitments at the SDG Summit in September.

As the HLPF came to a close, discussions focused on moving towards concrete action and commitment to implement SDG16.

At an event hosted by the Pathfinders (hosted by the Center on International Cooperation) and the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF), representatives from ombuds institutions in Costa Rica, Kenya, Malaysia and the Netherlands shared their insights into how ombuds institutions can effectively serve as an early warning mechanism to prevent conflict.

Six main takeaways from the discussion:

  1. Broad agreement that ombuds institutions are a good way to nationalize and institutionalize early warning systems.
  2. There is a delicate balance between independent and governmental organizations.
  3. Ombuds institutions are in a good position to work with other institutions, including state and non-state actors, for follow up and actions.
  4. The discussion is moving from designing good laws to implementation.
  5. There is a lack of representation of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in New York.
  6. Finally, language around ombudsmen needs to change to emphasize ombudspersons.

At the same time, the inaugural “UN-Business Roundtable for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions” was taking place, exploring the link between business, government and UN collaboration to advance SDG16, aiming to gain commitments from Government and businesses to support the UN Global Compact’s effort to host country consultations through the Action Platform for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. They discussed the importance of SDG16 providing an enabling environment for the whole agenda, and the need for partnerships to bring the goal to life.

  • David Steven presented the work of the Pathfinders and shared the key themes emerging from this year’s HLPF. He emphasized the opportunity for businesses to make the Action Platform the docking station for the private sector’s concrete commitments to implement SDG16.
  • Achim Steiner, Administrator of UNDP, emphasized that just and inclusive societies do not just depend on government action, but also the products and services received by communities and delivered by businesses. This requires having a justice system that works not just for businesses, but for the people.
  • H.E. Marc-André Blanchard, Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN urged that institutions are only as good as people in those institutions, and SDG16 requires government as well as businesses to lead by example.
  • Michelle Breslauer from the UN Global Compact highlighted four core priorities for the initiative: translate SDG16 into the language for businesses; explore how to operationalize good governance through corporate strategies and practices; identify how businesses can work with governments to change norms and institutions at all levels; and strengthen accountability on SDG16 within business and government reportin
  • Emmanuel Lulin, Chief Ethics Officer at L’Oreal stressed that SDG16 is not just the right thing, but the right thing to do. He noted the business community must focus on the law and ethics together, which is underpinned by trust — within consumers, suppliers, and the government.
  • Sarah Fantoli Frommelt, Public Policy and Global Regulations Manager at Nestle, called on businesses to work at the global and local levels together to make a difference on SDG16. She stresses that SDG16 is a goal that permits the flourishing of partnerships based on ethics, trust, and integrity, and noted that Nestle is committed to integrating SDG16 within their corporate DNA.

VNR Highlights:

  • Tunisia: adoption of a constitution enshrining democratic values and human rights, including freedom of expression and association. Challenges: economic growth and unemployment rates remain stagnant.
  • Liechtenstein: progress toward greater social cohesion, increased legal certainty, and the country’s ability to combat corruption and money laundering. Challenges: making digital platforms accessible and usable to all social classes; bringing an end to discriminatory comments against social groups in newspapers and on internet forums; and strengthening efforts to help migrants integrate into society and Liechtenstein citizens to accept integration.

What they’re saying:

H.E. Gloria Amparo Alonso, Minister of National Planning of Colombia

“We need to step up our actions if we want to meet the 2030 goal. The time has come to sound the alarm and accelerate action.”

Peaceful, just and inclusive societies are catalysts in fighting poverty, ensuring education, promoting gender, and economy.”

Deputy-Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed

“It is clear that the left behind are still being left behind. We must do more to reach the most excluded and discriminated against… We know the clock is ticking and the stakes are high… This is the time to put in place the foundations for a decade of action to deliver on the SDGs and a pathway towards peace, prosperity for us all, and a healthy and thriving planet.”

Lotta Tahtinen, Chief of Outreach and Partnerships Branch at UN DESA

“Based on the VNRs happening this week, at UN DESA, we have heard many countries are struggling to engage with business. But in countries where UN Global Compact exists. Governments report working with companies is much easier.”

What’s happening on Social Media:

Look out for today:

  • Conclusion of the High Level Segment (10:00am, UN Headquarters)

Wednesday, July 17

Wednesday’s highlights – Day 7

Spotlight on the Grand Challenge on Inequality

At a packed meeting at Permanent Mission of Republic of Korea, Pathfinders presented its challenge paper on inequality and exclusion. The 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.

The NYU-Center on International Cooperation will act as convener on this work, drawing together key research findings, country experiences and partner inputs to continue to inform and develop the evolving challenge paper.

At the event, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Annika Söder, announced that an advisory council of countries and key partners, including Indonesia, Sweden, Tunisia, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, and Oxfam, ECLAC, and the World Bank, had been established to drive forward the equality and inclusion agenda, act as supporters and appraisers of emerging solutions, and generate attention and support on the international stage and at the highest political level.

Sweden, Republic of Korea, Tunisia, Timor-Leste, and Oxfam, partners drew on their own experiences and efforts to address inequality and inclusion, in very different but equally challenging circumstances:

  • Republic of Korea noted the social compact and agreements between social partners which had paved the way for its economic success and social harmony.
  • Indonesia described how they had handled the politically risky fiscal decision to replace large-scale fuel subsidies with targeted social protection measures.
  • Tunisia emphasized the important role that political leadership and social dialogue, including on budgetary matters, had played in reducing tensions and laying the foundations for political inclusion in a post-revolutionary environment.
  • “The imbalanced nature of development and growth prior to 2011 directly contributed to the revolution.” – Timor-Leste provided compelling testimony about the joint commission of inquiry on political violence which was established in conjunction with Indonesia and that produced findings that were accepted by both countries and allowed for economic, social and cultural ties to flourish.
  • Sweden underlined the positive and respectful relationship that had been forged between key social partners, which boosted commitment to the idea of equality within its own domestic politics.

Social, political, and economic inclusion were also very much on the mind of g7+ ministers and ambassadors at their packed side event on SDG16+. Sierra Leone’s Francis Kai-Kai talked about Sierra Leone’s National Cohesion Commission, while Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative described the consultative jirga that has engaged all sections of society in building a consensus for peace and a roadmap for talks with the Taliban. Central African Republic’s Felix Moloua stressed the need for national dialogue and a commitment to cohesion at all stages of the country’s political cycle, not just during elections.

At a side-event on ‘National Experiences of SDG10’, Ministers from Colombia, Argentina, and Uruguay, in collaboration with UNDP, spoke about the steps being taken to address inequality in the Latin American region.

Key takeaways from the region:

  • Inequality is weakening democracies in Latin America, limiting the citizens’ ability to participate in policymaking and hampering trust in institutions.
  • Economic growth paired with policy initiatives such as tax reform, increased healthcare programs, and progressive labor laws that allow workers to negotiate benefits with employers are having a positive effect on reducing inequality.
  • Each country in the region is facing different challenges related to inequality. Any national development plan must incorporate context-specific strategies and resourcing based on local needs.

Committing to SDG16+:

  • Timor-Leste invited all partners to the next 16+ Forum – the primary annual showcase on SDG16+.
  • The g7+ countries presented their declaration and joint action plan on justice for all in conflict-affected states.
  • Indonesia, Sweden, Tunisia, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, and Oxfam, ECLAC, and the World Bank announced the establishment of an advisory council to drive forward the equality and inclusion agenda.

VNR Highlights:

  • Rwanda: implementing governance reforms to consolidate peace, build strong and accountable public institutions, and create a stable environment conducive to investment and growth. They have deployed homegrown solutions (HGS) to address governance and development challenges which has spurred inclusive growth (averaging 8% annually leading to millions being lifted out of poverty), fight corruption, and reform its judicial system to expand access to quality justice.
  • Timor-Leste: 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.
  • Ghana: enacted legislation to prevent all forms of domestic violence and abuse, ensure access to justice and provide the necessary institutional support for women, men, and children. Their commitment to ‘Justice For All’ has reduced the pre-trial population from 30 percent at its inception in 2007 to 13 percent in 2018 and birth registration has increased from 63 percent in 2011 to about 71 percent in 2017. Some challenges remain: Ghana reports that psychological and sexual violence remain higher than expected among women.

What they’re saying:

H.E. Félix Moloua, Min. of Economic Planning & Cooperation, Central African Republic

"Without peace, you cannot have reconciliation. We have to step up multiple bodies to ensure our commitments to our national plan and actions on SDG16 are implemented well, with accountability."

H.E. Dr. Francis Mustapha Kai-Kai, Sierra Leone, Chair of the g7+

“Peace and state building and issues of national cohesion & reconciliation continue to be challenges for Sierra Leone. The fight against corruption is important as it tells people in power that they are accountable to the people.”

H.E. Annika Söder, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden

“Frustration and anger at increased inequality is growing and is a political force in itself that needs to be dealt with so that it becomes a constructive force in our society.”

“[Inequality and exclusion] is an area where global development is going in the wrong direction, political consensus is needed for a turn in the tide, and it’s obvious that change requires political courage. We need to be decisive and many need to step in and support strategies and solutions that are practical and feasible.”

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, OXFAM International

“The SDGs are often seen as numbers, things to deliver to people, but they’re not — they’re a new form of politics.”

What’s happening on Social Media:

Look out for today:

  • UN-Business Roundtable, Action Platform for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions: Less Platform. More Action (8:00am, Baker McKenzie)
  • DCAF-NYU/CIC expert roundtable on the role of independent oversight bodies in SDG 16.6 and 16.A (8:00am, Millennium Hotel)
  • SDG16 as key enabler for the whole of Agenda 2030: Measuring, monitoring and beyond / Monitoring SDG 16 (1:15pm, UN Headquarters)
  • Conclusion of the HLPF (5:30pm, UN Headquarters, Conference Room 4)
  • See more upcoming events in the SDG16+ Festival Guide!

Tuesday, July 16

Tuesday’s highlights — Day 6

The 16th of July was a big day for SDG16+. The opening of the high-level segment of the HLPF. A joint call for accelerated action on peace, justice, and inclusion from member states. And the joint side event and reception, hosted by some of the main cross-cutting partnerships on SDG16+.

Opening the ministerial segment, Secretary-General António Guterres warned that, “we are not yet on track and must step it up.” Citing the Justice for All report, he pointed to the, “5 billion people [for whom] fair and efficient justice systems — so critical to inclusive development — remain beyond reach.” In her keynote, Mary Robinson also urged action in justice: “we need to use the HLPF as a springboard for action to deliver the promise of the SDGs and build a world that Nelson Mandela and other justice champions would recognize as fair, open and free.”

Later in the day, Argentina presented the joint statement on SDG16+ on behalf of 36 member states, supporting SDG16+ to build more peaceful, just and inclusive societies:

  • The statement brings together the collective voice of member states to underline the importance of SDG16+ to the 2030 Agenda and to demonstrate growing national commitment to the implementation of these targets.
  • It calls for accelerated actions to significantly reduce all forms of violence everywhere, places justice at the heart of the sustainable development agenda and build democratic and transparent institutions and promote social, economic, cultural, and political inclusion.
  • Supporting member states: 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, Uruguay.

More states are invited to support the statement ahead of the SDG Summit in September.

The SDG16+ and the Future We Want event — hosted by Global Alliance, 16+ Forum, TAP Network, Lexis Nexis, the UK Mission for the United Nations and Pathfidners — began in the ECOSOC chamber and then continued at a reception in the Ford Foundation. Highlights included:

  • UK development minister, Baroness Sugg reiterated the call for Acceleration Actions for the SDG Summit: “”A call for accelerated action is at the heart of the political declaration for the summit, and a registry to capture these accelerator actions has recently been launched. The registry is open to all stakeholders, and we need work together and build momentum and reinforce the call to action.”
  • “No justice for the poor. No peace for the rich.” Sierra Leone’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Francis Kai Kai called for action to make justice systems work for everyone.
  • A call for a greater focus on governance and justice from Marcos Bonturi of the OECD. The OECD will launch a governance hub — with an access to justice pillar — at the summit.
  • Calls to action from the private sector (Kim Haviv of the global law firm, White & Case), civil society (Florence Syevuo, of the SDGs Kenya Forum), and from one of the UNDP 16X16 youth advocates, Lynrose Genon. “My story isn’t different from other young people… we share the same challenges and barriers. What young people want is to be witnessed and heard,” referencing the Rome Youth Call-to-Action on SDG16

And at the reception, Mary Robinson — former High Commissioner for Human Rights — was joined by her successor and another former President, Michele Bachelet.

“I truly believe the 2030 Agenda is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to advance on human rights and human dignity in countries across the world,” the current High Commissioner told a packed room. “SDG16+ is a concept is that captures the interlinkages between SDG16 and all other goals, and its role in enabling delivery of the entire 2030 Agenda.”

She spoke of how a human rights approach has given visibility to the furthest behind in Sierra Leone and Kenya. “We are so convinced that the construction of peaceful and just societies, with effective, accountable and inclusive institutions, ensures human rights.”

Committing to SDG16+:

  • OECD is preparing to launch an Acceleration Action in at the SDG Summit that will have a focus on access to justice, share best practices, and enable peer learning among countries and support the development of people-centered justice systems.

VNR Highlights:

  • United Kingdom: The UK reports that there has been progress on protection for the rights of minorities and vulnerable people, improving the UK’s criminal justice system (crime has fallen by 40% over the last decade), tackling fraud and corruption, and increasing transparency in public services. The UK’s commitment to justice is clear: they are investing £5 million in an innovation fund to explore how technology and expanded, inventive legal aid can support access to justice.

What they’re saying:

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General

“I am asking leaders to come to the SDG Summit not with beautiful speeches, but concrete actions, plans and commitments to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The people of the world do not want half measures or empty promises. They are demanding transformative change that is fair and sustainable, that has used the world gathering in September to rachet up the ambition and highlight the imperative of inclusion, and together let us kickstart a decade of delivery and action for people and the planet.”

Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders

“Justice is the thread that runs through the each of the 17 SDGs. Without equal access to justice for all, at every level in society, we stand little chance of achieving the wider goals.”

“This is a good day for SDG16. The future we want is a future where our children can live in a world with peace, justice and inclusion.”

Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights

“I encourage you all to come to the SDG Summit with more than just words, but with additional commitments and acceleration actions.”

Marcos Bonturi, Director for Public Governance of the OECD

“There’s a perception that civic space is shrinking in many parts of the world. But we’re also observing a gradual erosion of trust in institutions. If you put these together, a picture emerges of major problem. We need to build trust in institutions.”

What’s happening on Social Media:

#SDG16Plus is trending!

Look out for today:

  • Building Momentum on the Grand Challenge on Inequality and Exclusion, (9:00AM, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the UN)
  • SDG16 in Conflict-Affected Situations: Ambition vs. Reality, (1:15pm, UN Headquarters, Conference Room A)
  • The crucial role of international criminal justice in achieving SDG16, (1:15pm, UN Headquarters, Conference Room 1)
  • How Legal Empowerment Advances the Sustainable Development Goals: A Conversation with the 2019 Grassroots Justice Prize Winners, (5:00pm, NYU School of Law, Vanderbilt Hall 40 Washington Square South, Room 216)
  • See more upcoming events in the SDG16+ Festival Guide!

Monday, July 15

Monday’s highlights — Day 5

Week two of the High-level Political Forum began with a big push on justice for all.

At an event with standing room only, the co-chairs of the Pathfinders Task Force on Justice launched the final version of their report — Justice for All. While a preview version has been discussed in the Spring, the new report includes a foreword from the heads of UNDP, UNODC, UN Women, the Elders, Open Society, and many of the world’s leading justice organizations:

“This report is the result of a collective effort by the world’s justice partners to chart a path towards equal access to justice for all,” they write. “We call on all countries and on partners from all sectors to join us in standing up for justice.”

Launching the report, the co-chairs underlined this message:

  • Priscilla Schwartz, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Justice and Attorney-General: “We believe that justice for all is a realistic goal, and our report sets out an agenda for action for how justice systems can be transformed to deliver it. For too long, including in my country, justice systems have delivered justice only for the few — usually the wealthy and the powerful. To deliver justice for all, we need to step up our ambition for justice systems.”
  • Maria-Fernanda Rodriguez, Vice Minister of Justice of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Argentina: “In Argentina we have invested heavily in such a different approach with the creation of over ninety Centers of Access to Justice — which provide legal services to those who are furthest behind and serve as a gateway to other services provided by the state. Women have benefitted most from this increased access to justice. Recently we have expanded their reach to the most remote provinces via mobile units… In this way the presence of the State becomes real for these populations and access to justice enables them to access services they are entitled to. That is putting leave no one behind in action.
  • Ambassador Lise Gregoire-van Haaren of the Netherlands, speaking on behalf of her Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag: “As the Netherlands, we have made our own commitment to double the number of people who have access to justice by 2030. But this is just one drop in the ocean. Two thirds of the world’s population does not have access to justice. We have to act now. We have already invited 27 Ministers to the Netherlands to discuss how we can close the justice gap and civil society continues to play an essential role. Our efforts are merely starting at HLPF… We must make good on our promise to bring people-centered justice to all by 2030.”

After the launch event, the Elders hosted a dinner for member states, in partnership with the Dutch government and the Pathfinders. Guest of honor: Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, who underlined her personal commitment to justice for all.

The DSG spoke about the need for sustainable growth and shared prosperity (SDGs 7–15) to support the human development and poverty reduction SDGs 1–5. “But none of it will stand up unless it rests on SDG 16 and 17. And it is about justice. It is inclusive of institutions, the rule of law, but it’s also about the collaboration and the partnerships that we need to make that happen.”

Also at the launch event, the Elders’ Mary Robinson and Hina Jilani also announced the winners of this year’s Grassroots Justice Prize, an award recognizing grassroots organizations and institutions that are working to put the power of law into people’s hands. The 2019 winners:

  • This Life Cambodia: This Life Cambodia works with communities to provide them with the tools, training, skills and initial support to tackle their community’s specific development issues.
  • Nirman: NIRMAN provides guidance, expertise and environment to inculcate self-learning and encourages youth for social action.
  • City Life/Vida Urbana: City Life/Vida Urbana is a grassroots community organization committed to fighting for racial, social and economic justice and gender equality by building working class power.
  • Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST): BLAST help women, children and the marginalized understand their available rights, remedies and justice services, seeking to ensure greater responsiveness to their needs from within the justice system.

Committing to SDG16+:

  • The g7+ group of countries have adopted a joint action plan on access to justice for all in conflict-affected countries and will develop Acceleration Actions for justice that we can present at the SDG Summit in September
  • Argentina is convening Ministers of Justice from the Latin-American region and asking them to register Acceleration Actions for the SDG Summit.
  • Cambodia, Georgia, Ghana, Mexico, Moldova, Nepal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, South Africa, Uganda, the United Kingdom committed to supporting and implementing the Safe to Learn call to action.
  • At the Safe to Learn Leaders Event, representatives of UNESCO, the Global Partnership for Education, the World Council of Churches, the World Bank and others made a commitment to specific and evidence-based steps to make classrooms both safe and a joyful place to learn for children.

VNR Highlights:

  • Sierra Leone: strong reporting on the expansion of access to justice (215,000 people have benefited from legal representation, advice and education), on anti-corruption, and birth registration. Sierra Leone’s has also created Government Commissions to coordinate service delivery on issues of human rights and inclusion.
  • Indonesia: 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.

What they’re saying:

Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Sierra Leone

“A critical part of our SDG journey is the renewed commitments to work with civil society in driving the goals forward.”

Hina Jilani, The Elders

“The HLPF is not only an opportunity for us to come up with ambitious actions to implement the 2030 Agenda, but to encourage optimism to tell us what we have done so far to close the justice gap.”

Sarah Hossain, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Member of the Task Force on Justice

“We call on countries, North and South, to step forward to show leadership to ensure justice for all. This means creating and protecting spaces to enable individuals and communities to pursue their claims for rights and justice. The SDG summit in September is an opportunity to make clear the world’s commitments. People will continue to work and fight for justice wherever they are. We appeal to governments to consider how you can act urgently and to partner with citizens’ groups, with activists, with professionals and with people’s organizations, to take timely action, and put in resources, to act to right wrongs wherever they occur.”

Vivek Maru, Executive Director of Namati and Task Force on Justice member

“There’s no shortcut. We cannot find our way as a species if we cannot find justice.”

What’s happening on Social Media:

Look out for today:

  • SDG16+ and the Future We Want (UN Headquarters, Trusteeship Council Chamber, 6:15pm | Followed by a reception at the Ford Foundation, 7:30pm)
  • Governance for the SDGs: Learning from country experiences and defining an agenda for the future (UN Headquarters, Conference Room 5, 1:30pm)
  • Breaking silos: Showcasing integrated solutions to help achieve SDG 16, gender and land related SDGs (Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN, 1:15pm)
  • Achieving Access to Justice through Partnership: The Global South Leading the Way (Millennium Hilton Hotel, 1:15pm)
  • See more upcoming events in the SDG16+ Festival Guide!

Friday, July 12

Friday’s highlights — Day 4

A Call for accelerated action for SDG16+
At the review, a packed room clamored to register their support of SDG16+ and progress towards implementing targets for peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

Key takeaways:
The crucial role of SDG16+ as an enabler for the 2030 Agenda — “the golden thread that weaves through the entire tapestry of the Agenda” — reverberated throughout the session.

Challenges: Given the crosscutting nature of SDG16+, failure to make significant progress on peace, justice and inclusion will impede progress on other goals.

  • Global violence is increasing: all forms of violence persists with more than 70 million people fleeing war, persecution and conflict — the highest level seen in almost 70 years.
  • The justice gap is widening: 1.5 billion people cannot solve their justice problems, while 5.1 billion lack meaningful access to justice.
  • Space for civil society is shrinking.
  • Greater investment to implement SDG16+ is needed.

Potential: A growing number of member states and other stakeholders are responding to the call to accelerate action on SDG16+. (See the commitments made at Friday’s review, below.)

Friday’s ‘Gender Equal Arms Control’ event linked SDG5 and SDG16 in the framework of regional approaches to arms control in order to achieve the goal of gender equal arms control.

Key takeaways by NYU Center on International Cooperation Director, Sarah Cliffe:

  1. We need to move to action to harness the capacity of women, and at times dare to be disruptive
  2. Good practices already exist
  3. There’s a need for cross-regional exchange on gender equal arms control.

In her opening remarks, 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, called for women to seen as agent for change and properly equipped to instigate change, particularly in the security sectors and arms control measures.

Commit to SDG16+:

  • At the SDG16 review, Canada committed to “do its part to invest in a system of justice based on the needs of people,” referencing the Task Force on Justice’s Justice for All report, and greater empowerment of women and girls.
  • The Netherlands also made reference to Justice for All, calling for “people-centered approaches to justice,“ and committed to “doubl[ing] the number of whom we provide access to justice by 2020 — half of whom will be women.”
  • Switzerland called for the “localization of SDG16” as a priority moving forward.
  • The Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS) delivered a statement on behalf of over 130 civil society organizations who have signed the Rome Civil Society Declaration on SDG16+, pledging to, “deliver our part on the implementation of SDG16 and call on duty-bearers to deliver, as well.”
  • Mexico announced the adoption of a public security strategy focus on eradicating corruption, achieving an “ethical renaissance” of society, reform of drug policy, and ensuring human rights.
  • At the ‘Gender Equal Arms Control’ event, Germany said it would support the development of a cross-regional network for gender equal arms control in order to amplify partnerships and alliances, such as the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) and expertise at the intersection of gender equality (SDG5) and arms control (SDG16.4).

What they’re saying:

H.E. Laura Chinchilla, former president of Costa Rica and Vice President of Club de Madrid:

“SDG16 is the moral backbone of the 2030 Agenda. It recognizes and advances the equal standing of every person in shaping the society they want to share with others.”

María Fernanda Rodríguez, Vice Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, Argentina

“We need firm commitment to continue towards this great utopia, which is to leave no one behind.”

Ms. Gabriela Cuevas Barron, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)

“We need a new model of governance capable of including all people and rebuilding trust in public institutions.”

H.E. Mr. Omar Hilale, Vice President of ECOSOC

“This is the first time that there is so much commitment in the halls of the UN and so much ownership of SDG16. Today’s discussion shows that we’re at the beginning of a true dawning of awareness about SDG16.”

What’s happening on Social Media:

Look out for today:

  • Justice for All, showcasing the findings of the Justice for All report. (5:30pm — 7:30pm)
  • Voluntary National Reviews (Second Timers): Azerbaijan, Chile, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Guatemala, Indonesia, and Turkey (11:00am — 2:00pm, UN Headquarters)
  • A Dialogue for Peace: Delivering SDG 16+ in conflict-affected situations Ministerial launch of the IDPS 2019–21 Peace Vision (4:00pm — 5:15pm, Canada’s Permanent Mission to the UN)
  • SDG 16+ Lessons learned in implementation, partnerships and the way forward (4:30pm — 6:30pm, Uganda House)
  • See more upcoming events in the SDG16+ Festival Guide!

Thursday, July 11

Thursday’s highlights — Day 3

Yesterday at the HLPF — the challenge of delivering the SDGs for the world’s children (30 percent of the world’s population).

On a panel convened by World Vision, David Steven joined speakers from Indonesia and Japan (two of the pathfinder countries from the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children), Najat Maalla M’jid, the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Ending Violence against Children, and young speakers from Lesotho and Indonesia.

Key resource: World Vision’s new report, Small Cracks, Big Gaps: How governments allow violence against children to persist. “While some progress has been made to end violence against children, commitments by governments have not been matched by substantial action. This leaves significant gaps in laws, policies and programs that can have severe consequences for children.”

Over lunch at the Belgium mission, launch of the Justice for Children call to action — ten points that aim to promote justice as an enabler of children’s development, accelerate action to respond to the most critical and urgent justice problems, and establish and sustain the foundations for change.

Next step: establish a High-Level Implementation Group of global ambassadors and champions of justice for children to inspire global and national commitment and action, and to raise awareness more widely. The SRSG, OHCHR, CELCIS, Terre des Hommes, and Defence for Children International are among the partners backing this work.

Finally — read our new blog on SDG16+ and leaving no-one behind.

Voices of SDG16+

150 video award-winning submissions from the ‘Voices of SDG16+’ campaign were premiered at today’s “Voices of SDG16+: Stories for Global Action” event at IPI.

Vibrant voices from around the world were documented — from youth peace ambassadors to activists working with the Kenyan government to pass ground-breaking laws on gender-based violence. Each of these stories demonstrate the growing civil society movement on SDG16+ and the need to focus on solutions.

As Kasha Slavner of Global Sun Rise Projects, Canada — “Voices of SDG16+” finalist advocated: “What’s missing from the SDG16+ narrative is the solutions: the fearless grassroots acts which are creating positive change despite adversity or a lack of resources.”

Commit to SDG16+:

Who’s responding to the call to accelerate action on SDG16+?

  • Mongolia declared 2019–2020 as the country’s ‘Year of Children’s Development and Protection’, during which various measures will be implemented to decrease violence against children..
  • Najat Maalla M’jid, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children, was the first to agree to join the High-Level Group on Justice for Children.
  • Mr. Abdul Manaff Kemokai, President, Defence for Children International, reiterated Sierra Leone’s commitment to addressing the justice needs of sexual violence and rape survivors, with a special focus on minors.

What they’re saying:

Najat Maalla Mjid, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children:

“Justice is one of most strong pillars in preventing and protecting children from all forms of violence.”

Mr. Abdul Manaff Kemokai, President, Defence for Children International:

“Justice is indispensable to everyone — especially children — and we commit to being part of any network promoting access to justice for children”

Tamara Tutnjevic, Policy Manager, Ending Violence against children, World Vision:

“We have never lived in the world that is more safe for children, yet almost every child suffering from some form of violence — this tells me we are not doing our job correctly.”

What’s happening on Social Media:

Look out for today:

  • Official HLPF Thematic review of SDG16: Peace, justice and strong institutions, 3:00pm — 6:00pm, UN Headquarters, Conference Room 4
  • Gender Equal Arms Control: Leveraging the 2030 Agenda to Promote Peace, 12:30pm — 2:30pm, Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN
  • Launch of the Report on “Empowering Civil Society for Reporting and Action on SDG16”, 9:30am — 12:30pm
  • Workshop: Practical tools for empowering people, access to justice and peaceful societies, 10:00am, UN Headquarters
  • See more upcoming events in the SDG16+ Festival Guide!

Wednesday, July 10

Wednesday’s highlights – Day 2

At the launch of its SDG16+ report, Enabling the implementation of the 2030 Agenda through SDG16+: Anchoring peace, justice and inclusion, the Global Alliance on Reporting Progress on Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies showcased the latest data on progress being made on SDG16+ implementation. “The critical thing about this report is that it enables an evidence-based policy approach through it’s vast amount of data,” said Ambassador James Roscoe of the UK Mission to the UN at the launch event.
Drawing on 25 country case studies and a series of regional multi-stakeholder consultations on SDG 16+, the report boils down the current SDG16+ landscape to three key findings: 1) A strong political push and financial investment is needed to accelerate progress on SDG 16+; 2) SDG16+ implementation requires a ‘whole government’ and ‘whole society’ approach’; 3) SDG16+ remains instrumental in protecting fundamental freedoms and ensuring that no one is left behind.

In the formal program, the HLPF shone a spotlight on the most vulnerable with a VNR Lab on leaving no-one behind, co-hosted by UN DESA, OHCHR, UN Women, and the Pathfinders.

A key message — those being left behind are often being actively pushed behind — was hammered home by the UN’s Matthias Bruckner, home by Joan Carling from the Indigenous Peoples Major Group, Diyana Yahaya from the Women’s Major Group. The Pathfinders called attention to the impact of violence, insecurity, injustice, inequality, and exclusion on those furthest behind.

We’re also seeing a big push from civil society on their best practices and commitments — as civil society leaders met for a “world café” on SDG16+ implementation in Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire, Argentina, and other countries. Civil society is not only demanding a seat at the table as VNRs are prepared — it is playing a growing role both as an implementer and by holding governments accountable.

Expect a registry of civil society commitments to be launched next week.

Commit to SDG16+:

Who’s responding to the call to accelerate action on SDG16+?

What they’re saying:

Charles Chauvel, Governance Team, UN Development Programme

“The most important message of this report is the need to end silos… It’s about the collective effort to implement SDG16+.”

John Romano, Transparency, Accountability, Participation (TAP) Network

“We cannot see the HLPF as an endpoint — it needs to be a stepping stone towards the SDG Summit.”

Peter van Sluijs, Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS)

“The VNR is not an end in itself- it’s an exercise of taking stock, and an important entry point to continue dialogue”

Mr. Isaac Morales Tenorio, General Coordinator for Multidimensional Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mexico (at a discussion on ‘Organized Crime, Arms Trafficking, and Illicit Financial Flows: Exploring SDG Target 16.4’)

“There is a clear link between illicit arms flows, security challenges and development obstacles… We are working together to achieve target 16.4, [drawing on] local, to global experiences and bringing international advances to the regional, national and local level.

What’s happening on Social Media:

Look out for today:

Tuesday, July 9

Tuesday’s Highlights: The first day of HLPF!

Progress is far too slow to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. This was the headline as the High-level Political Forum officially kicked off with remarks from ECOSOC President Rhonda King. Read a run-through of the opening session of the HLPF.

The UN also launched the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019 today. Key findings for SDG16:

  • Young men are most at risk from homicide, but women are the vast majority of those killed by their partners.
  • Fewer than three quarters of children have their births registered.
  • Human rights defenders, journalists and trade unionists are being killed in growing numbers.

Our first side event explored the role of foreign ministries in delivering SDG16+. The Pathfinders’ David Steven called for them to: create political conditions to allow change to happen, act as a platform for domestic and international actors to work together using the SDGs as a shared strategic language and be part of a driving a bigger mobilization. At the event, Jürg Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN, called on “foreign ministries to go beyond the business as usual, and become serious about the ‘whole-of-government approach to SDG implementation’.”

What they’re saying:

H.E. Rhonda King, President of ECOSOC

“We have the unprecedented opportunity to talk to each other and learn from each other… This is a global moment where we are all together. We need to use it to its utmost… We also hope that all countries and actors will announce SDG Acceleration Actions at the [SDG Summit]. We must demonstrate our continuing commitment to the 2030 Agenda”.

H.E. Liu Zhemin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

“Our collective ambition for realizing the 2030 Agenda hinges on how we manage the evolving risks and challenges and whether we seize the social, economic and environmental opportunities before us; it is imperative to act now with renewed commitment and accelerated action.”

In the news

Devex: Funding access to justice, a ‘cross-cutting enabler of the SDGs.’ Hewlett, Mott, Open Society, and others exploring an intermediary fund for justice:

“We are relatively large foundations in terms of the money that we give, but we have limited staff size, and most paralegal groups or legal empowerment groups have small budgets, are scattered, and work on the subnational level,” said David Sasaki, program officer in global development and population at the Hewlett Foundation.

While most grants from the Hewlett Foundation are between $500,000 and $2 million, in April, the Silicon Valley-based funder made a $6 million grant to Namati, which supported active clients in five countries last year and has plans to expand.

But with an intermediary fund, the Hewlett Foundation could pool its resources together with other funders — and bring new funders on board — in order to finance community justice work at the global scale.

What’s happening on social media:

Look out for today:

  • Launch of the SDG16+ Report (2:00pm at the SDG Media Zone)
  • Showcasing Commitments for National Action: Civil Society Driving Progress on SDG16+ (10:00am, UN Church Center, 10th Floor)
  • Good Practices at the Intersection of SDG16 and Mass Atrocity Prevention: Operationalizing and Measuring Prevention (1:15pm, UNHQ, Conference Room B)
  • Organized Crime, Arms Trafficking, and Illicit Financial Flows: Exploring SDG Target 16.4 (1:15pm, International Peace Institute)
  • See more upcoming events in the SDG16+ Festival Guide!

Monday, July 8

Monday’s Highlights: The Day Before the HLPF

The HLPF doesn’t formally start until Tuesday, but the first of the 100+ side has taken place. The SDG Data Initiative made the case for the critical role of non-official data in monitoring and implementing SDG16.

The initiative launched its third global report, finding “mixed evidence as to whether the world is experiencing improvements towards the different targets.” Bright spots include some evidence that people feel safer in their communities. On the downside: increased homicides, deteriorating citizen engagement, declines in checks on government, and reduced access to information.

Also on Monday:

  • The UNDP High-Level Meeting on Strengthening the Rule of Law and Human Rights for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, with ministers and justice leaders from around the world.
  • The launch of the annual report of the UNDP Global Program on Strengthening the Rule of Law and Human Rights.
  • A meeting of justice leaders from the Ibero-America Justice Systems
  • The launch of the key findings from the Task Force on Justice.
  • In the UNDP meeting, Switzerland shared its own experience of people-centered approaches, empowering men and women to serve as "peace judges" and training them as mediators to resolve justice problems.
  • Similarly, the United Kingdom explained how it has launched a legal support action plan, to identify how to resolve people’s justice problems early, bring people together and avoid the unnecessary cost of court proceedings.

Committing to SDG16+:

Who’s responding to the call to accelerate action on SDG16+?

What they’re saying:

Achim Steiner, head of UNDP

“I believe that in the context of the 2030 agenda, our work on governance, on the rule of law, on rights, human rights, is ultimately premised on the notion of access to justice. Justice is not something that we have to spend endless amounts of time defining. Justice is a fundamental principle that governs virtually every society that I have ever had the privilege to come into contact with.”

(Read Achim Steiner’s full closing remarks at the High-Level Meeting on Strengthening the Rule of Law and Human Rights for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies)

Dolores Delgado, Minister of Justice of Spain

“Justice is a facilitator but also an end in itself.”

Karina Gerlach, Senior Advisor, NYU Center on International Cooperation

“In Latin America the statistics are daunting with regard to crimes and homicides but there are areas of progress and reasons for optimism as we have witnessed by the actions described here today.”

What’s happening on social media:

Look out for today:

  • The official opening of the HLPF! (9 July, 9:00am, UNHQ)
  • Driving Transformative Change: Foreign Affairs and the 2030 Agenda — The relevance of the SDGs to foreign policy and international security (9 July, 10:00am, Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN)
  • The role of Judicial Systems in the implementation of SDG 16 and its targets related to justice, peace, security and access to information (9 July, 1:15–2:30pm, UNHQ, Trusteeship Council Chamber)
  • See more upcoming events in the SDG16+ Festival Guide!