What we did: We worked with Pathfinders to identify practical and politically viable policy solutions to meet the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on equitable and inclusive societies.

What we achieved: We contributed to placing democracy on the public agenda by advancing the global debate on inclusion and the targets within and around SDG 16, which relates to peace, justice and strong institutions.

Who we did it with: Pathfinders 

Impact area: Electoral Processes

Project name: Money in Politics—Global and Study on Inclusion and Political Finance

Donors: International IDEA and New York University

Award period: 5 March 2021 to 30 April 2021

Boundary partners: Policy influencers


Throughout 2021, International IDEA collaborated with Pathfinders to identify practical and politically viable policy solutions to meet the targets on equitable and inclusive societies in United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16), which targets peace, justice and strong institutions.

We have worked with Pathfinders—an alliance of 39 UN member states, international organizations, global partnerships, civil society groups and the private sector—for several years, providing them with expert input for their agenda. 

In particular, Pathfinders launched their flagship report From Rhetoric to Action: Delivering Equality & Inclusion on the margins of the UN General Assembly on 23 September 2021. This report is the culmination of research and mobilization undertaken by a unique partnership of 10 countries, the UN, the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), International IDEA, Open Government Partnership, Oxfam and CIVICUS, along with numerous partners and international experts.

Findings from International IDEA’s background paper Reforming Political Finance for More Diversity in Political Office (published in May 2021) were featured throughout the report and informed some of its key recommendations. 

The report shines a spotlight on the damaging, widespread effects of inequality and exclusion and highlights the actions needed from governments, international institutions and civil society to tackle the problem. To promote equality and inclusion, the report serves as a practical handbook for policymakers and influencers, as a source of possibility for the public, and as a call to all political leaders to act. 

The report inspired various actors to advance global debate on inclusion and SDG 16. For example, the report was featured by several global news outlets, including The Guardian and AFP. It also prompted the Netherlands to issue a statement on behalf of Pathfinders at the UN Security Council’s Open Debate on Maintaining international peace and security: exclusion, inequality and conflict on 9 November 2021.


‘What this report shows above all is that practical policy-based solutions will be vital stepping stones for countries as they navigate a post pandemic world. From political instability to climate collapse, we don’t have to look very far to see that the risks of inaction are now far too great.’

Ian Goldin, professor of globalization and development at the University of Oxford (news article)