"Inequality, along with climate change is one of the biggest threats facing the world today. Growing levels of inequality challenge social cohesion, peace and security, and sustainable development both within and among countries," said Ulrika Modeer, Director of UNDP’s Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, in a high-level panel at the European Development Days (EDDs), Europe’s leading forum on development, which in 2019 focused on addressing inequalities as key to building a world which leaves no one behind.
Speaking at the tenth anniversary of the Kapuscinski Lectures at EDDs, Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister and founder of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, said the international community needs to place much more emphasis on supporting able leadership and government around the world.
“Poverty is a problem with a solution. Inequality can be eliminated and the way to do that is through good governance," he said, adding that “real change happens when nations are strong enough to stand on their feet and take destiny into their own hands.”
A joint initiative of the European Commission and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Kapuscinski lectures organized 100 lectures for 30,000 participants over the last ten years.
The lecture was followed by a discussion with Luis Felipe López-Calva, Regional Director of UNDP for Latin America and the Caribbean, Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, Santiago Levy, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute and Jos Verbeek, World Bank Manager and Special Representative to the UN and WTO.
“When measured in terms of income differences, inequalities have been decreasing slightly, even though the perception around the world is that they are in fact rising,” said Luis Felipe López-Calva.
“However, inequality has multiple dimensions beyond income and there is a genuine concern among the international development community that certain groups in many countries have more bargaining power, resulting in a “deterioration of democracy and fragmentation of the social contract”, he specified.
In an event at the UN Stand, Ulrika Modeer, Director of UNDP’s Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, announced Simone Betito as the winner of the 2019 Human Development Data Visualization Challenge, organized by UNDP’s Human Development Report Office who asked entrants to visualize inequality, the theme of the forthcoming Human Development Report. Simone’s visual story, through the lens of the SDG5, examines the significance of dependable energy in healthcare facilities and its role in maternal care in sub-Saharan Africa.
A panel on Spotlight Initiative, a major global initiative of the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG), spured a lively debate on how to address this challenge throughout the world. As many as 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives. As one the three core agencies involved in this Initiative together with UN Women and UN Population Fund, UNDP is currently working to tackle the issue of femicide in Latin America and sexual and gender-based violence in Africa.
UNDP has contributed to the debates around the Development Plan of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico and the Role of decentralized cooperation to address rising inequalities.
UNDP’s photo exhibition "Back from the brink: Rebuilding lives and communities affected by conflict" which showcases results of the EU-UNDP stabilization, resilience and recovery work in Iraq, Libya, Nigeria and Yemen was displayed at the EDDs.