2022 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) Event Recap

Civil Society leading the charge for SDG16+

On 11 July, 2022 the Voices of SDG16+ Campaign presented the "Civil Society leading the charge for SDG16+” event at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). This event was hosted by the Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding [CSPPS] / Cordaid, in collaboration with Namati, Peace Direct, Article 19, TAP Network and World Vision. During the event, attendees viewed the 2022 Video Finalists Showcase and a check-in video from one of the 2019 Finalists. Click here to watch the videos!

The 2022 finalists included:

  • Angela Zong, a Harvard Student, spoke about founding the first Youth Peace Conference in the South in partnership with Rotary International and NewGen Peacebuilders. The conference brought young people together to discuss around environmental degradation, human trafficking, and homelessness, and ensured equitable access for youth through scholarships.

  • Dragana Bulic shared how World Vision supported 16 groups of youth to advocate and organize events in their communities on mental health and for children living with disabilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The program aims to improve coordination between youth, government and civil society in order to enrich institutions, empower youth and improve data on youth participation while increasing youth decision-making and participation.

  • Seco Sori Camara from Voz di Paz in Guine-Bissau shared about the implementation of a participatory barometer, a survey process to identify problems impacting citizens, to understand why justice was not being administered effectively in the country. The program identified markers of justice and causes of conflict and interviewed 3427 community members, highlighting, among other issues, the need for mediation and women’s representation in local decision-making.

  • The LRC Kjham in Indonesia shared their work in eliminating violence against women by providing companions for survivors and fighting for women representation in decision-making processes. To address cases of violence during the pandemic, they worked to expand access to justice through online consultations, education, and increased public participation.

  • Mabel Bianco from the Foundation for Studies and Research on Women in Argentina shared about the Ni Una Menos movement in response to the 2015 Buenos Aires Feminist protests. The Foundation is committed to improving the lives of women and children and aiming to end gender violence. In order to attain these goals Mabel stressed the importance of a gender perspective in public policy, open government, and government accountability.

The event also featured a 2019 Finalist, Sikha Bhattarai from Nagarik Aawaz in Nepal. Sikha provided an update on their work with women who experienced sexual and gender-based violence through the armed conflict in Nepal. The program aims to reduce societal stigma by engaging community groups, building survivors’ leadership, and addressing financial inequities. Sikha reflected on the shrinking funds for peace-building as one of the largest challenges facing this work.

Check out artwork, created by Emily Koffsky, summarizing the event below:

2022 Rome Declaration HLPF Side-Event "SDG16+ in Peril."

On 14 July 2022, attendees received a recap of the 2022 Rome Declaration during the HLPF Side-Event “SDG16+ in Peril.” Read a summary of the event here (645.6 KB) . To kick-off the event, Director-General Fabio Cassese expressed the efforts to keep SDG 16 at the top of international agenda despite ongoing challenges such as the war in Ukraine and the pandemic increasing inequality and corruption. Cassese emphasized the role of SDG16 as an enabler of the other SDGs. Next, Maria Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs of UNDESA, shared that with the current uptick in violent conflicts, the role of institutions, especially the participation of women and youth, and access to information are essential. Jan Beagle, Director-General of IDLO, emphasized two things: the urgency of action and the importance of maintaining cautious optimism. She highlighted the crucial role of partnerships and youth leadership. Charlotte Kerting, Program Officer, Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS), reflected on the 2019 First Rome Declaration, updated in 2021 and 2022, and provided an overview of key recommendations including protecting civil space, strengthening data and monitoring, enhancing multi-stakeholder partnerships, and the need to take stock of how we are falling behind on implementation of SDG16 and the entire 2030 agenda.

The event featured a Mentimeter activity asking participants to submit three words that best outline the greatest challenges, or areas where action is needed most, to advance SDG16+ implementation.

Panelists provided reflections based on submissions. Director General Fabio Cassese highlighted 3 submissions from the activity; political will (needed for implementation), trust (needed between citizens and government), and women (full involvement of women is fundamental in changing approaches). Maria Francesca Spatolisano seconded the fundamental need for trust. Jan Beagle and Charlotte Kerting also emphasized the importance of political will and trust and the issue of resourcing is also important.

A panel of grassroots leaders also reflected on the challenges facing SDG16 implementation. Grizelda Mayo-Anda (@Gerthie), from ELAC in the Philippines, reflected on the need for innovative solutions and ensuring partners are able to participate. Grizelda also made a call for funding and highlighted the Legal Empowerment Fund. Natalia Echeboyemberry (@echegoyemberry2014), from ACIJ in Argentina, emphasized the importance of empowerment and active participation from civil service society in the wake of shrinking civic space and inequality surrounding access to information. Margaret Olabisi Mekwuye also raised concerns surrounding funding issues and how funds for development are diverted to purchase weapons amid insurgency. Both Margaret and Musa Ansumana Soko, from Sierra Leone, echoed challenges posed by shrinking funding and civic spaces. Musa called for building grassroots capacity and collaborative partnerships.

Watch a recording of “SDG16+ in Peril” here.

Key Themes this HLPF

1. Importance of Youth and Women in Policy and Decision-Making

The inclusion of youth and women’s participation in policy and decision-making spaces in order to ensure justice was a recurring theme across both events. During the "Civil Society leading the charge for SDG16+” event, Mabel Bianco stressed the importance of ensuring adolescents have a voice in decision-making and bringing attention to the challenges women face engaging in the justice system, for example, childcare access. During the HLPF Side-Event “SDG16+ in Peril”, Maria Francesca echoed these sentiments by calling for increased women’s leadership and creating space for youth leadership in decision-making. Similarly, Natalia Echeboyemberry, identified the crucial role of a gender perspective in improving justice.

2. Interlinkages between the SDGs

Panelists highlighted the role of SDG16 as the enabler for other SDGs and the entire 2030 Agenda. During the HLPF Side-Event “SDG16+ in Peril”, Natalia Echeboyemberry echoed this sentiment by highlighting the importance of collective resilience with a focus on vulnerable groups as compounding challenges arise across health, climate change and other SDGs.

3. Accountability and Partnerships

During the HLPF Side-Event “SDG16+ in Peril”, Natalia Echeboyemberry stressed the importance of multilateral partnerships and accountability of the state for environmental defense in Latin America – including through independent journalism. Grizelda Mayo-Anda and Musa Ansumana Soko raised questions concerning the need to build robust and collaborative grassroots partnerships that ensure community knowledge and skills are utilized in developing plans. Jan Beagle also highlighted the crucial role of partnerships.

1 Like