Combatting inequality key to combatting poverty, says UN Development Chief
London – Despite evidence that inequality prevents countries
from developing in a wide number of areas, little progress has been made
combatting it, said United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Administrator Helen Clark today at the London School of Economics where
she was giving a lecture at the International Growth Centre.
“Economic exclusion compounded by political exclusion can be a toxic
mix – as a number of uprisings in recent years suggest. Yet little
progress has been made in combatting inequality in its various forms,”
“Evidence suggests that income inequality impedes long-term growth;
is associated with poorer health outcomes; generates political
instability; contributes to higher rates of violence; erodes social
cohesion; and undermines the capacity for the collective decision-making
necessary for effective reform.”
Global income inequality remains high, with 8% of the world’s
population earning half the world’s income, leaving 92% earning the
According to a report
released yesterday by Oxfam International, the 85 richest people on
Earth now have the same amount of wealth as the bottom half of the
“Such a distribution is rightly viewed by global civil society
networks as unacceptably high, as it is both unjust and undermines
development progress,” she said.
Using the inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, which takes
into account not only the average achievements of a country on health,
education, and income, but also their distribution, the 2013 Human
Development Report concludes that the average loss to human development
worldwide due to inequality was 23%.
Clark concluded that inequality could not be addressed solely by
social policies, but also needed inclusive, job-rich growth and fairer
rules internationally in a range of areas from trade to finance to tackling climate change.
She suggested that the new post-2015 development goals being
developed by the international community and taking into account the voices of people around the world could be instrumental in tackling inequality and development at large.
“They will set the global sustainable development agenda for the next
fifteen years – years when we need decisive breakthroughs on poverty
eradication in all its dimensions, on achieving greater equality, and on
ensuring we live within nature’s boundaries while advancing human
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