SDG16+ — September 2018


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. SDG16+ at UNGA

Next week is the high-level week of the 73rd session of UN General Assembly, with lots of events exploring how we can build momentum on peace, justice and inclusion.

For an overview of what’s happening, download our calendar of events. We will continue to update it so please share any events we’ve missed!

2. Stand Up for SDG16+

During UNGA, the Pathfinders, Global Alliance, and 16+ Forum will host a side event on September 28, at 1:15–2:30 pm in Conference Room 11.

  • During the High-level Political Forum 2018, the three initiatives brought together partners to stand up for SDG16+ and to prepare for the High-level Political Forum in 2019.
  • Our challenge paper sets out a plan for the HLPF (or read our recent blog).

This new event will broaden and advance the debate — looking forward to major events and initiatives that will take place in the latter part of 2018 and provide a preview of what is on the horizon for 2019.

Due to overwhelming interest the event is already full. We will be providing live webcast — the link will activate a few minutes prior to the event.

3. Justice 2030: Time for Action

Also during the high-level segment of the UN General Assembly, heads of delegations are invited to a major event: Justice 2030: Time for Action. Speakers include:

The event marks the tenth anniversary of the report of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, but it also begins a year-long mobilization on justice for all.

It is hosted by the Open Society Foundations, The Elders, and the Task Force on Justice. It will take place on the evening of September 25, 2018 and is by invitation only. If you would like to take part, please contact us at

4. A new initiative on inequality and exclusion

The Pathfinders are preparing to launch a new grand challenge on inequality and exclusion, building on work on justice over the past year.

  • The High-level Political Forum in July 2019 takes the theme empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality. It reviews SDGs 10 and 16, among other goals.
  • According to the UN Secretary-General, “inequality is systemic and growing” — driving a polarization that is a growing risk to countries, regions, and the international system.
  • There is growing awareness of the nature of the threat, but much less consensus around the solutions that can build more equitable and inclusive societies.

During UNGA, we will publish a challenge paper that sets out current trends and triggers a new conversation on how we can tackle widening economic inequality, and high levels of social and political exclusion.

Get in touch if you’re interested in hearing more about this grand challenge.

5. It isn’t enough to talk about peace…

At the Pathfinders, we are also tightening our focus on SDG16.1 — which calls for a significant reduction in all forms of violence everywhere:

  • Given that some violence trends are moving in the wrong direction and that violence is a dominant factor in the lives of very large numbers of people, there is an urgent need to seriously review the challenge posed by SDG16.1.
  • This target has the potential to bring together communities working on different forms of prevention: conflict, urban violence, violence against women and against children, human rights abuses and mass atrocities, etc., etc.
  • Delivering substantial reductions in violence could — and should — be as central to the 2030 Agenda as halving poverty was to the Millennium Development Goals.

But prevention takes hard work — and fatalism is an enormous problem. Many of us simply don’t believe the evidence that shows that violence can successfully be prevented. Nationalist rhetoric is reducing space for smart, evidence-driven solutions. And violence prevention communities are fragmented at a time when they need to unite behind a common agenda for peace.

If you’re interested in exploring how we can stand up for SDG16.1, we’d like to hear from you. Please also be in touch with Rachel Locke, our SDG16.1 consultant, with any ideas you may have to move this agenda forward.

We’re also planning events at Geneva Peace Week in November and in Washington DC in early December — again, get in touch if you’d like to be part of these debates.

6. Think Justice — share your ideas on how we deliver SDG16.3

© Namati

Think Justice — run as a partnership between the Justice for All campaign and the Task Force on Justice — is an opportunity to shape the global debate on justice and to accelerate the mobilization for justice for all.

It allows everyone working on the frontline of justice to share their insights and ideas with the Task Force on Justice.

What do you think about justice? We invite you to tell your justice stories and debate recommendations to world leaders, to contribute data and evidence on justice needs and describe responses to these needs.

  • Spend 10 minutes (or more if you have the time) giving us your input — click here!
  • The discussion will continue on the Global Legal Empowerment Network’s community board.
  • Please forward the link to your networks so we can gather as many ideas as possible.

7. Sierra Leone to host the second meeting of the Task Force on Justice

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice of Sierra Leone, H.E. Priscilla Schwartz has accepted to co-chair the Task Force on Justice, as the new government continues to convene the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies.

The second meeting of the Task Force on Justice will take place in Freetown, Sierra Leone on 11 and 12 October. The Task Force will discuss emerging finding of the research and potential recommendations.

The meeting of the Task Force on Justice is part of a week of events that the Government of Sierra Leone is hosting with the aim to advance Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16. Other events include:

  • 16+ Forum Annual Showcase from 7–10 October (see below)
  • As part of the showcase: a Ministerial Panel on Justice
  • Justice Leaders Dialogue on Wednesday 10 October

If you would like to take part in the events in Freetown, please contact us at

8. 16+ Forum Annual Showcase in Freetown

Sierra Leone will host the 16+ Forum’s second Annual Showcase in Freetown this October 7–10.

  • The showcase is emerging as the premier gathering for actors working on SDG16+.
  • The aim: highlight successes, challenges and solutions in meaningfully advancing SDG16+, and explore links to other agendas such as sustaining peace.
  • It brings together stakeholders from all sectors: governments, civil society, the UN, private sector, academia and others.
  • The forum will also focus on the role of regional organizations in supporting and enhancing local and national-level implementation.

Find out more:

9. Transitional justice and SDG16+

The Task Force on Justice’s working groups are moving into high gear, as they explore different dimensions of the challenge of providing justice for all.

Transitional justice — “not a special form of justice but justice adapted to societies transforming themselves after a period of pervasive human rights abuse” — offers opportunities to respond to past abuses while building foundations for a more just society.

The Transitional Justice Working Group met for the second time in The Hague on September 12–13, to explore the ways in which transitional justice processes can contribute to increasing access to justice in the context of massive and serious human rights violations. The group is convened by the International Centre for Transitional Justice and will publish a report in 2019.

The group:

  • Grounded its work in experiences from Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Mexico, and Tunisia.
  • Explored the balance between dealing with past atrocities, addressing structural exclusions in the present, and triggering the systemic changes that will underpin a just and peaceful future.
  • Emphasized the need for transitional justice processes to be driven by local actors, with the needs of victims at their heart.

Key insight from the Argentina case study: transitional justice can force the justice sector and its professionals to rethink their role in society, shifting legal procedures, changing legal education, training lawyers to be problem-solvers, and providing opportunities for judges to actively shape democracy.

10. Tackling the links between injustice and inequality

“Often when we discuss violence and injustice, we find — at its core — it is a story about inequality: unequal protection, unequal access, unequal treatment, unequal opportunity.”

This was the starting point of the annual conference of the Knowledge Platform for Security and Rule of Law, held in The Hague on September 13, which took inequality as its theme.

Some highlights:

  • IDLO’s panel discussion on justice for women, which contributes to the work of the High-level Group on Justice for Women.
  • Marcus Manuel and Clare Manuel of ODI presented a paper showing that only 1.4% of ODA is spent on justice, with donor support falling 40% over the past four years. They drew lessons from global funds in other sectors as a potential vehicle for investing in justice.
  • Abigail Moy of Namati presented a paper calling on states to fund and protect grassroots justice defenders.
  • In the panel on transitional justice, Kalthoum Kennou, Vice-President of the Court of Cassation of Tunisia and member of the Task Force on Justice, spoke on the long-term challenge of moving from dictatorship to democracy, with important transformations in Tunisian society, including with regard to the equality between women and men.

11. Justice Project in Australia: “The justice system is struggling to help people effectively”

The Law Council of Australia has recently completed its Justice Project, a comprehensive, national review into the state of access to justice in Australia.

Since early 2017, the Law Council of Australia has conducted around 150 consultations and received 129 submissions, revealing often heartbreaking accounts from everyday Australians about the devastating consequences of not being able to access justice, or of receiving poor justice outcomes.

Some overarching themes:

  • The consequences of a failure to access justice are profound.
  • Many people are feeling the brunt of the law, but not its protection.
  • Access to justice underpins healthy, functioning communities.
  • The law needs a human face — but technology’s potential benefits should be explored.
  • People-driven, community-driven, strength-based approaches are worth pursuing.
  • Investing in the evidence base is essential.

12. Democracy under threat

The V-Dem Democracy Report for 2018 offers important insights into the worrying state of democracy across the world:

  • Global levels of democracy remain high, but there is evidence of a trend towards autocracy since democracy’s peak in 2004. “Western Europe and North America are back to levels of liberal democracy last seen nearly 40 years ago, and Latin America some 25 years ago.”
  • The decline in democracy appears to be driven not by changes in formal structures and processes (such as elections), but by closing civic space, reduced freedom of expression, and growing acceptance of autocratic policies.
  • Political exclusion is on the rise, while only 4% of the world’s population lives in countries where political power is evenly distributed between social groups and 27% in countries where it is at least somewhat evenly distributed.
  • 15% of the world’s population live in societies where political power is distributed at least somewhat evenly between men and women. “For the first time in about 70 years, the global level of women’s political inclusion and empowerment is no longer advancing.”

13. Governance, peace and security fact sheets

Data for governance is badly needed if countries are to build the institutions that will support the shift to more sustainable patterns of development.

As part of the Strategy for the Harmonization of Statistics in Africa (SHaSA), a group of African statisticians has developed and pilot-tested a new methodology for monitoring governance, peace and security in official statistics.

The fact sheets were produced by the African Union (AUSTAT) and participating national statistical offices, with the financial support of the European Union.

14. Pathfinders’ Roadmap in Portuguese

The Portuguese version of the Roadmap for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies has been published. Download the roadmap to share with your networks.

English, French and Spanish versions are also available.

15. For your diaries in the next month

Sep 18–30: 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly, New York

Sep 19–21: Third Conference of the Law and Development Research Network, Leiden

Sep 21: Partners Global Alliance for Peacebuilding, New York

Sep 24: UN Private Sector Forum, New York

Sep 24: Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, New York

Sep 24–25: Sustainable Development Impact Summit, New York

Sep 25: Closing the Justice Gap — meeting hosted by SDG Philanthropy Platform, Task Force on Justice, and Justice for All, New York

Sep 25: Justice 2030: Time for Action — heads of delegation event, hosted by Justice 2030, The Elders, and Open Society Foundations, New York

Sep 26: Financing the Sustainable Development Goals and the Promise to End Violence against children, New York

Sep 28: Stand Up for SDG16+ side event to UNGA, New York

Sep 29: Global Citizen Festival, New York

Sep 30 — Oct 1: Inequality and Exclusion retreat, hosted by the Pathfinders, New York

Oct 7–10: 16+ Forum Showcase, Sierra Leone

Oct 7–12: International Bar Association Annual Conference, Rome

Oct 10–12: Second Task Force on Justice meeting, Sierra Leone

Oct 12–14: Annual Meeting of the IMF and World Bank Group, Bali

Oct 16–19: UN Women Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces Global Leaders Forum, Edmonton CA

16. SDG16+ round up

  • A useful UNGA event guide
  • Meet the new ECOSOC president
  • Discussion with Nitin Desai, UN DESA — a leading light in sustainable development and economics
  • The promise of the Global Goals
  • Sign the petition to ensure people have equal access to justice
  • Read about local peacebuilding networks
  • Terrorism and Radicalisation Research Dashboard
  • UNFPA’s Violence Against Women regional map
  • WHO’s knowledge platform for preventing violence
  • Apply to be a country expert for V-Dem’s next dataset update

Plus 16 things we’re reading

New Head of Women’s Rights at OSF ▪ UNESCO handbook for LAC governments on cities and migrants ▪ Young people need a seat at the table ▪ New UN High Commissioner for Human Rights ▪ Resilient Cities Report 2018 ▪ UNOSSC and g7+ join forces for peace and development ▪ Guatemala will not renew CICIG mandate ▪ UN concern over abuse of indigenous people ▪ Grassroots leaders are the best hope for a troubled world ▪ UNDP’s frameworkfor leaving no-one behind ▪ The state of social safety nets 2018 ▪ Who are the extreme poor? ▪ The impact of Mexico’s criminal justice reforms ▪ Local governance for peacebuilding guidance ▪ Brookings’ From Summits to Solutions ▪ Finland’s 2030 Agenda commitments portal