The meeting aimed to review progress on SDG 10, share good practices and success stories, identify challenges and key areas of concern and suggest ways forward.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights proposed including a measure of inequalities like the Palma ratio or Gini coefficient when the SDG indicators are reviewed in 2020.
3 April 2019: Participants took stock of progress towards SDG 10 (reduced inequalities) at the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on SDG 10, and discussed key points for consideration during the upcoming in-depth review of SDG 10 at the 2019 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
The World Bank and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) organized the SDG 10 EGM, which convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2-3 April 2019. The meeting aimed to review progress on SDG 10, share good practices and success stories, identify challenges and key areas of concern and suggest ways forward. The EGM further aimed to help inform the 2019 HLPF, which is reviewing SDG 10, among other Goals, at its 2019 session. The EGM is also expected to inform the quadrennial review to be conducted in September 2019.
In a keynote address, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said “reducing inequalities is fundamental to human rights,” and upholding human rights will greatly reduce inequalities, in all forms. She observed that the absence of disaggregated data on who is being left behind means that policymakers “cannot assess the situation nor develop appropriate responses or policies.” Bachelet further expressed concern that progress on SDG 10 is lagging, with people being left behind and some people “being pushed backward.” She stressed that “there must be progress on SDG 10” for all other SDGs to succeed. Bachelet emphasized that inequalities “are not the inevitable” but stem from policy choices, and called for policymakers to “make different choices” to tackle inequalities. She shared her experiences addressing inequalities in Chile to stress that inequalities can be tackled, underscoring the importance of setting priorities, putting human rights at the center of economic policy and addressing root causes of inequalities.
There must be progress on SDG 10 for all other SDGs to succeed.
Bachelet suggested adding a clearer indicator of inequality to the SDG indicators to “fully measure our progress and prospects.” She proposed including a measure of inequalities like the Palma ratio or Gini coefficient when the SDG indicators are reviewed in 2020. To take action on the SDGs, Bachelet called for:
- strengthening the role and responsibilities of the state to secure freedom from want and fear, without discrimination;
- providing universal health coverage (UHC) and universal social protection;
- securing the right to education for all children;
- promoting labor rights;
- ending all forms of discrimination, exclusion and marginalization;
- enabling participation, representation and voices of all people and all countries in decisions that affect people’s lives; and
- ensuring a progressive and fair tax system that generates resources to deliver on the SDGs.
Speakers shared country experiences in addressing inequalities, including presentations on Indonesia and South Africa. South Africa’s Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, said progress on SDG 10 is “vital for humanity’s future,” and called for developing a global higher purpose that puts the well-being of humanity above all other considerations. He emphasized inequality in whatever form is “unacceptable in the 21st century,” observing that a better world is possible but will require a determined global effort.
Indonesia’s Deputy for Human Development and Equality, Bambang Widianto, described challenges Indonesia faces in overcoming inequality of opportunity in health, education, social assistance and economic activity. On health, he suggested focusing on eradicating chronic child malnutrition and stunting and improving the national healthcare programme, and shared lessons learned on preparing primary care infrastructure and designing good preventive strategies to support a national healthcare system. On education, Widianto recommended improving education assistance for the poor and improving education quality, such as by ensuring accountability and community participation to improve teacher performance through the development of a teacher monitoring tool and a community empowerment instrument that allows communities to score teachers’ performance.
Sessions focused on inequalities within and among countries, including trends and drivers of income and wealth inequality and key steps needed to achieve SDG 10. Participants reflected on how institutions can become more effective at reducing inequalities, and considered how non-government actors can also contribute to reducing inequalities.
The SDG 10 EGM was part of a series of preparatory meetings for the SDGs to be reviewed at the 2019 HLPF. In addition to SDG 10, the HLPF will review SDGs 8 (decent work and economic growth), 13 (climate action), 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and 17 (partnerships for the Goals). [EGM Website] [EGM 10 Concept Note] [UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Statement] [South Africa’s Minister of Public Enterprises Video Address] [Indonesia’s Deputy for Human Development and Equality Presentation]