I haven't heard too many people asking if GNOME 2.16 will make etch. Maybe everyone just assumes it will, because the latest transitions have been pretty good, or maybe everyone just assumes it won't because nobody would expect Debian to ship with a current GNOME release, right? Or maybe Debian is immerse in what looks like the beginnings of a civil war, and that is more interesting.
The Debian GNOME team has been preemtively working on GNOME 2.16, though, as the release clock is ticking. Loïc has spent a big amount of time revamping the packaging of GTK+ and Pango, finally resulting in sane source packages people can look at. Joss, Guilherme, Loïc and others have worked on the rest of the Developer Platform packages, which is now ready for testing in experimental. The evolution team has also been rocking and all the associated packages are ready to go in experimental as well.
The GNOME 2.16 status page still shows quite some red for Desktop packages, which are now being worked on, with GTK+ 2.10 in place.
But we still haven't decided if we can go ahead and attempt a 2.14 -> 2.16 transition in time for etch. Our biggest concern are the known problems of GTK 2.10's file chooser regarding cancelling of operations. Apparently, other distributions are getting bad bug reports due to these, so we need to be very careful about it. We know there are people working on an upstream fix as I write, but we don't know when there'll be a patch for GTK+ and libgnomeui available. If we learn it's due soon, we might start speaking to our release managers about the possibility of starting a transition. If we have no news, it'll probably be too late.