Red de Desarrollo Social de América Latina y el Caribe
Plataforma virtual para la difusión de conocimiento sobre desarrollo social

Synthesis Report on the Global Thematic Consultation on Addressing Inequalities


Autor institucional : UNICEF - UNWOMEN
Autor/Autores: UNICEF - UNWOMEN
Fecha de publicación: Febrero de 2013
Alcance geográfico: Mundial
Publicado en: Estados Unidos
Descargar: Descargar PDF
Resumen: The main messages are the following: 1. Equality was identified as a fundamental value in the Millennium Declaration, adopted by the UN’s Member States at the turn of the century in 2000. 2. The obligation to address inequalities is born from the principles and standards of the international human rights treaties which have been widely adopted in the last several decades, as well as from shared human values. 3. Translating equality and the other fundamental values of the Millennium Declaration more systematically and effectively into practice will be crucial to sustaining progress and improving the wellbeing of both today’s and all future generations. 4. Inequalities are a global challenge. They persist both within all countries and between them. Similar kinds of inequalities are faced in common by people across the world. 5. Inequalities are not just problems for the people whose lives are most directly affected – those most disadvantaged and excluded. They have deep consequences for everyone in society. Inequalities harm us all. Among these consequences are: reductions in the pace and sustainability of economic growth; diminishment of the productive potential of all who are harmed and excluded, and the loss of this potential to society; the worsening of existing fragilities and vulnerabilities, including to conflict and disasters; and the weakening of social cohesion and of security for all. 6. Since the Millennium Declaration was adopted, many types of inequalities have worsened, in a period when the Millennium Development Goals did not focus systematically on trends “beneath the averages”. Even where human development progress has been rapid in aggregate terms, particular inequalities have often persisted or become more severe. 7. The challenges of unequal access to the natural resources which are essential for survival, wellbeing and economic activities, and of vulnerabilities to environmental degradation and climate change, have also become more severe. These have both exacerbated existing inequalities and have raised new and critical risks for often already-disadvantaged groups of people and countries. 8. Inequalities are often closely associated with and reinforced by specific forms of discrimination, including in the social, legal and cultural spheres. Examples include, and are not limited to: discrimination related to gender, age, caste, race, ethnic and indigenous identity, minority status, (dis)ability, HIV status, sexual orientation. 9. Inequalities are also deeply entrenched by structural drivers and barriers in the economic, social, political, cultural and environmental domains. These drivers intersect and reinforce each other. They can have cumulative, mutually-reinforcing effects that lead to the systematic disadvantage of some social groups and to the perpetuation of poverty and exclusion from generation to generation. 10. These intersections do not just add up to a simple sum of the various dimensions of inequality. Where different forms of inequality overlap, they reinforce each other and create unique forms of discrimination and exclusion. These cannot be addressed on a piecemeal basis. 11. Policies, programmes and interventions which are intended to improve the lives of disadvantaged people often directly address the symptoms of inequalities - such as chronic poverty - but not their causes. Their impact and effectiveness are likely to be undermined by the structural drivers that perpetuate inequalities. And as a result, patterns of disadvantage are often stubbornly persistent over time. 12. Inequalities are commonly “legitimised” by powerful groups using stereotypes and prejudice that justify discrimination and maintain exclusion. For example, poor people are still widely supposed to be lazy or responsible for their own poverty. Ethnic minorities and migrants are deemed to be intruders or “free riders” on the rest of society. The rights of persons with disabilities are dismissed as the expensive demands of unproductive people. Old people are seen as a burden on society and public funds; and children are still often treated as a “residual” group, provisions for whom are a matter of charity or discretion, rather than as the very foundation of future productivity and citizenship. 13. Gender-based discrimination, and the denial of the rights of women and girls, remains the single most widespread driver of inequalities in today’s world. Gender-based violence, taking many forms, is a major element of this massive and continuing failure of human rights. 14. A development framework will be needed that is based on the recognition that all people have rights, and that incorporates and reflects the human rights principles of universality and non-discrimination, participation and accountability, if the structural drivers of inequalities are to be fully addressed in future. 15. Efforts to reduce inequalities will require strong consensus at all levels, from the local to the national to the global, including for concerted action to address negative social attitudes and build a universal demand for equality, tolerance and social justice. These efforts will require appropriate policy and legal frameworks, actions to protect people from discrimination, and levelling-up measures to enable those whose capabilities have been harmed by inequalities to claim and realize their rights. 16. Transformative change towards a more equal and inclusive world, and the eradication of poverty in all its forms, will depend on coherent global and national policy action in and across the economic, social, environmental and political domains. 17. Some countries have made progress in addressing the structural drivers of inequalities and reducing their impact, through a range of equity-focused and rights-based policy, legal and programme initiatives which they have kept in place over time. These include: explicit measures to provide for equal access and opportunity for disadvantaged and excluded groups; appropriate redistributive measures, including social protection; provision for the specific needs of women and girls, children, persons with disabilities and minority groups; and measures to increase awareness, widen participation in decision-making and improve the availability and transparency of data and information on inequalities and development progress. 18. The post-2015 international development framework should be universal in nature, in order to tackle the global challenge of inequalities. As part of the new framework, goals that aspire to “getting to zero” - in terms of conditions such as poverty, violence, preventable deaths, malnutrition and denial of basic service access - will assist in moving towards the realization of human rights for all. 19. A self-standing global goal on inequalities should be included in the post-2015 development framework. This should not be limited to economic inequalities but should also address other key dimensions, including gender inequalities and discrimination. A self-standing goal on inequalities should be complemented, across all goal areas of the framework, by targets and indicators that focus on the situation of the most disadvantaged groups, and on the major drivers of inequalities in the economic, social, environmental, cultural and/or political domains. In these ways, success will be gauged by sustainability and by the progress made among all groups and individuals. 20. Addressing inequalities will also depend on measures to strengthen the capacity and coverage of national and sub-national monitoring and evaluation, data collection and analysis. These will need to track the impact of policies, legislation, budgets and programmes among those most disadvantaged and excluded; allow for truly participatory assessment of these measures; enable much more systematic disaggregation of information for equity-focused targets and indicators; and provide mechanisms for locally-led citizen monitoring and feedback on progress and performance. Such components of a new framework, together, will provide the basis for well-informed and transparent policy-making. 21. Last and not least: accountability among decision-makers and public institutions, supported by systems such as those above, will be an essential feature of just and equitable human progress and the realization of human rights. Accountability will be central both to the design and implementation of future policies and actions that address inequalities, and to ensuring a new Development Framework in which people of all social groups, ages and circumstances are truly partners and participants.



© ReDeSoc - Red de Desarrollo Social de América Latina y El Caribe.
CEPAL - Naciones Unidas
Dirección: Avda. Dag Hammarsjold 3477 Vitacura, Santiago, Chile