In Brief

About the Project

The key goal of the Pathfinders Grand Challenge is to strengthen the global consensus on the need to address both economic and group-based inequalities. To achieve this, the initiative aims to widen the group of countries, civil society actors and multilateral organizations involved in calling for action on inequality and exclusion and demonstrating leadership by enacting policies to deliver equality and inclusion. Furthermore, the Grand Challenge seeks to show change is possible through spotlighting policies that work, and detailing how they won political and public support, as well as how they were implemented. In addition, it pursues to provide practical tools and advice to countries and other policy influencers to support change on the ground.





Why are we running this project? 

Overall, there is a lack of understanding of how to tackle the political economy of addressing inequalities of all forms and the role that different actors can play in breaking the stranglehold on policy. The Grand Challenge offers unique insight on both these issues, collating case studies and insights from governments who have successfully addressed inequality while also having the voices of civil society and international financial institutions at the table.

How does the project work?

The Pathfinders Initiative has strong convening power across a wide set of countries and organizations. There are three key ways in which they currently organize and maintain these relationships – methods that have proved fruitful and on which we wish to build on.

  • Advisory Council meetings with all countries represented by Ministers and other non-government members, including the Directors of Oxfam and the Open Government Partnership, at least twice a year, in which new research and the direction of the initiative are discussed. This council is in the process to become an ‘Action Platform’ where the focus will be more on implementation and global action.
  • Roundtable events which focus on specific policy issues such as a solidarity taxes or social dialogue tools, which include academics as well as practitioners implementing ideas on the ground.
  • Country visits which consist of talks with different government departments and civil society groups to present Pathfinders’ work and to hear about innovative policies being applied or tested. Further efforts to change policy are made through working with local partners. Feedback from country and local level visits is included in relevant reports, events and the new Action Platform.

In addition to the convening power, the Pathfinders also have a strong emphasis on research, publishing papers and blogs on the solutions to inequality.

Contact Persons

Dr. Ellen Ehmke
Senior Expert
Phone+49 30 220025-361
e-mail to Dr. Ellen Ehmke
Faiza Shaheen
Program Lead, Inequality
Center on International Cooperation New York University
e-mail to Faiza Shaheen