Inequality and exclusion are not destiny. Change is possible.
The flagship report of the Pathfinders Grand Challenge on Inequality and Exclusion is about solutions, based on recent and longer-term experiences, and how they can be implemented.
It is the culmination of several years of research and mobilization undertaken by a unique partnership of Member States, the United Nations, the World Bank, the OECD, Oxfam, and CIVICUS, along with numerous other partners and international experts.
People around the globe demand new forms of social contracts to heal a divided world.
The report draws on the lived experiences and desires of people across countries around the world. To understand citizens' concerns about inequalities, their policy priorities, and their desire for change, we commissioned a public opinion survey in eight countries: Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Sierra Leone, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, and Uruguay. These opinion surveys show an immense preoccupation with societal divisions and a consensus that more needs to be done to address them.
Pessimistic outlook on inequality dynamics in the post-pandemic context
Source: NYU CIC and Kantar 2021; countries: Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone, Sweden, Tunisia, Uruguay.
Inequality and exclusion in their own words...
"The worker and the farmer who work hard every day for you so you can find food. Those who wake up early every day, take the bus, and go to work. The country is alive thanks to these people, it’s not alive because of those in higher positions riding Mercedes every day."
– Tunisia, female, 25-40
"I don’t think I really have a relationship with the government. I don’t expect much from them, I guess really."
– Canada, female, 50+
"I feel that the country is going to reach a point where people are going to start stealing instead of working, because there are people who do get upset, that is, they see they have no way out, do you understand?"
– Costa Rica, male, 18-24
"We could live a happy and a peaceful life only when we have enough money. Even inside our subconscious and psychology, when we’re at the end of the month and our salary almost runs out, we become more angry and nervous."
– Tunisia, male, 25-45
"Let's see ourselves as brothers and sisters, I believe if we all see ourselves that way, Sierra Leone will move forward."
– Sierra Leone, female, 24
"We should try to help each other, regardless of skin color, hair color, or anything else, no matter what religion, sex, or anything like that, we should all support each other just as we are."
– Costa Rica, male, middle-aged
What is working to make progress on equality and inclusion?
Countries and local communities that have made sustained progress towards more inclusive and equal societies have generally taken a three-pronged approach:
They have delivered visible results that make a material difference in people’s daily lives, in areas such as social protection, housing and wages;
they have built solidarity, through for example truth-telling exercises, police and justice reform and community empowerment;
and they have secured credibility and sought to avert reversals by fighting corruption, broadening political power, and increasing the public financing needed for policy development.
The "how to" of reducing inequality and exclusion: International policies are a critical complement to national action.
Policies to deliver equality and inclusion
The three urgent global priorities now are: vaccine equity, access to finance, and tax norms and agreements incentivizing those who have most profited from growth to contribute to COVID-19 recovery and averting the climate crisis.
This flagship report is the culmination of three years of research by and partnerships under the Grand Challenge on Inequality and Exclusion. It draws on the findings of numerous commissioned research reports and policy briefs by international experts.
[Cover collage graphic: Thiago Barba, images from Rawpixel and Depositphoto]