The international community has made significant strides towards lifting people out of poverty. The most vulnerable nations – the least developed countries, the landlocked developing countries and the small island developing states – continue to make inroads into poverty reduction. However, inequality persists and large disparities remain regarding access to health and education services and other assets.

There is growing consensus that economic growth is not sufficient to reduce poverty if it is not inclusive and if it does not involve the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.

targetequality

Reduce inequality within
and among countries

To reduce inequality, policies should be universal in principle, paying attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized populations. There needs to be an increase in duty-free treatment and continuation of favoring exports from developing countries, in addition to increasing the share of developing countries’ vote within the IMF. Finally, innovations in technology can help reduce the cost of transferring money for migrant workers.

Inequalities based on income, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, class, ethnicity, religion and opportunity continue to persist across the world, within and among countries. Inequality threatens many aspects of sustainable development including poverty reduction, social and economic development, and equal access to opportunities.

  • More than 75% of the population in developing countries are living in societies where income is more unequally distributed than it was in the 1990s.
  • Children in the poorest 20% of the population in developing countries are still up to 3 times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than children in the richest countries.
  • Persons with disabilities are up to 5 times more likely than average to incur catastrophic health expenditures.
  • Women in rural areas are still up to 3 times more likely to die while giving birth than women in urban areas.
  • Those in the bottom 40% of the population of a country are particularly vulnerable to economic changes. Whether a country’s income and/or consumption grows or contracts, the bottom 40% grow faster or fare worse, respectively. This highlights the importance of sustained income growth overall.
  • According to World Bank Remittance Prices Worldwide, the benefits of remittances from international migrant workers are diminished by the generally high cost of transfer. Remittance services providers (post offices, money transfer operators, and commercial banks) charge significantly more than the 3% target. New technologies, such as prepaid cards and mobile operators, charge lower fees but are not yet widely available. These technologies would help reduce the cost of sending remittances to some of the poorest countries where costs tend to be highest, such as sub-Saharan Africa, where average costs absorb about 10% of the amount sent.

Global inequality affects us all, no matter who we are or where we are from. Challenges such as climate change, migration, economic crises, and poverty are never confined to just one country. The richest countries still have communities living in poverty. The oldest democracies still wrestle with racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and religious intolerance.

  • You can encourage government leaders to implement universal political, economic, and social policies that pay particular attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized communities.
  • Governments and other stakeholders should put greater efforts into eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and invest more in health, education, social protection, and decent jobs for vulnerable communities. They should also ensure developing countries are better represented in decision-making on global issues. They should also promote safe, regular, and responsible migration with planned and well-managed policies.
  1. By 2030, progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40 per cent of the population at a rate higher than the national average
  2. By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
  3. Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard
  4. Adopt policies, especially fiscal, wage and social protection policies, and progressively achieve greater equality
  5. Improve the regulation and monitoring of global financial markets and institutions and strengthen the implementation of such regulations
  6. Ensure enhanced representation and voice for developing countries in decision-making in global international economic and financial institutions in order to deliver more effective, credible, accountable and legitimate institutions
  7. Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies
  8. Implement the principle of special and differential treatment for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, in accordance with World Trade Organization agreements
  9. Encourage official development assistance and financial flows, including foreign direct investment, to States where the need is greatest, in particular least developed countries, African countries, small island developing States and landlocked developing countries, in accordance with their national plans and programmes
  10. By 2030, reduce to less than 3 per cent the transaction costs of migrant remittances and eliminate remittance corridors with costs higher than 5 per cent
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