What Is the 16+ Forum?
A partnership between the Member States of Australia, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia, Guatemala, Peru, the Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone, Sweden, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, the g7+ and the World Federation of United Nations Association (WFUNA), the 16+ Forum provides a platform to learn from best practices, while applying SDG 16+ as a lynchpin from which to strengthen interlinkages across the 2030 Agenda, and to others, such as Sustaining Peace.
The 16+ Forum is committed to showcasing what it means to advance peaceful, just and inclusive societies in policy and practice at all levels and for a wide community of stakeholders – governments, civil society, the UN, regional and international organizations, academia, the private sector and media. The 16+ Forum does so by facilitating dialogue and the exchange of best practices and solutions through its various events and publications.
The 16+ Forum’s flagship event, the Annual Showcase, is a collective undertaking to demonstrate SDG 16+ in action - what implementation looks like, how to go about it, and best practices going forward. Announced in 2016, the inaugural Annual Showcase was held in the fall of 2017 in Tbilisi, Georgia, bringing together representatives of governments, civil society, the UN, academia and the private sector. WFUNA has organized three showcases thus far: Georgia (2017), Sierra Leone (2018) and Timor-Leste (2019), with the fourth scheduled to take place in Costa Rica.
Each Showcase focuses on a critical, recurring theme related to SDG 16.
- The 2017 Inaugural Showcase hosted by Georgia from 30 October – 1 November 2017 highlighted strategies, partnerships, policies and programming within various 16+ Forum Partner contexts, with an initial focus on the host country. With Promoting Good Governance, the Rule of Law and Anti-corruption as the flagship theme, the Showcase opened with an opportunity to take a closer look at the process and results behind Georgia’s anti-corruption and good governance initiatives, particularly through the framework of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), of which it was then a Chair, as well as its efforts to build “Peaceful Societies” through the country’s peace and confidence-building efforts. Field visits to related institutions and civil society initiatives were included as part of the event’s agenda. For additional information on the inaugural Showcase, please see the 2017 Outcome Document.
- In 2018, with Sierra Leone as host, the second Annual Showcase focused on the host country’s national experiences, including but not limited to all the factors that engendered the decade-long civil war, e.g. social exclusion, bribery and corruption, inequalities and injustice and even the 2018 Sierra Leone elections. As such, the conference’s flagship theme was Peace, Prevention and Addressing Root Causes. The second Annual Showcase also assisted in the forming of operational links between the 16+ Forum and the New Deal, of which Sierra Leone was Chair. For additional information on the Sierra Leone Showcase, please see the 2018 Outcome Document.
- The third Annual Showcase was held in Díli, Timor-Leste from 11 to 14 November 2019. The year 2019 marked an important milestone for both Timor-Leste, as it celebrated twenty years of independence, and SDG 16, which was reviewed for the first time during the High-level Political Forum (HLPF). The Showcase’s flagship theme was Reconciliation, Strong Institutions and Inclusion given Timor-Leste’s recent history. Within this context, reconciliation and inclusion were analyzed as drivers of peace and prosperity, at home and abroad. Participatory decision-making and multi-stakeholder partnerships provided the basis for consultations and processes around Timor-Leste’s VNR, as well as the country’s adoption of its Strategic Development Plan and its alignment with the SDGs. For additional information on the Timor-Leste Showcase, please see the 2019 Outcome Document.
Fourth Annual Showcase: Why Costa Rica?
Costa Rica is about to celebrate the bicentennial of its independence in 2021 and presented its second Voluntary National Review at HLPF in July 2020. This commemoration, as well as the global context of the Decade of Action for the Delivery of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, provides a very timely opportunity to be the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean to host the 16+ Forum Annual Showcase, as well as to help further the implementation of SDG 16+ across countries and contexts, and at all levels.
This edition of the Showcase will aim to open with a focus on Costa Rica and the flagship theme: Building Peace through the Rule of Law, Inclusion and Good Governance. SDG targets 16.3 (Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels), 16.6 (Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels), and 16.7 (Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels) will provide the technical background for discussions. In addition, three cross-cutting issues will be addressed throughout the showcase: Gender and Youth, Environment and Just Transitions, and Education and Innovation.
With 2020 marking the start of the Decade of Action, and given the fact that SDG 16 (among other SDGs) was reviewed for the first time at HLPF in 2019 under the theme of Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality, and will not be reviewed again until 2023, it is critical to maintain and build upon the momentum created by the SDG Summit last September.
Within this context, the 2020 Annual Showcase offers an opportunity to channel and direct attention generated at UNHQ to impact on the ground, particularly considering the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on SDG 16+ implementation at all levels.