This week, world leaders came together on the sidelines of the 2023 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Summit to urge for more global attention to addressing inequality. In a joint statement, they highlighted the urgency to save the inequality global goal (SDG10) and dramatically accelerate efforts to reduce inequality by adopting bolder targets and having more accurate tracking mechanisms. Inequality “undermines all our social and environmental goals,” and if we do not recommit to bridging the growing gap between the richest and the rest, “the goals of ending poverty and preventing climate breakdown will be in clear conflict.”
The event featured the participation of the President of Namibia, the Chief Minister of Sierra Leone, ministers and vice ministers from Mexico, South Africa, and Zambia.
The call to action on inequality is co-chaired by the governments of Namibia and Sierra Leone, co-sponsored by UNAIDS, Oxfam, Development Finance International, and the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies. Other countries that have expressed their support for the initiative include Colombia, the Maldives, Mexico, Spain, and Zambia.
“Inequality is out of control and widening within and between countries, yet it is not receiving the urgent attention and action required,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “For UNAIDS, SDG10 is a matter of life and death. Countries with higher income inequality have higher rates of AIDS deaths and higher rates of HIV infection. The success of most other SDGs depends on progress towards SDG10. It is time to act and re-double our efforts.”
The 2023 SDG Summit taking place around the High-Level Week of the United Nations General Assembly provides a critical moment to commit to bolder targets to reverse the explosion of inequality, so that societies can make rapid progress on health, education and social protection, and revive prospects of meeting the SDGs by 2030.
Amitabh Behar, Oxfam International interim Executive Director said: “We are witnessing worrying backsliding across all the Sustainable Development Goals, with Goal 10 one of the most off course. But, if we can successfully focus attention and resources on tackling inequality, as our partners in this fight have done today, we have a chance to get all of the Goals back on track. Seeing leaders come together to reaffirm their commitment gives me hope. Now we must keep that momentum going and chart a course towards a more equal future for all.”
“We are very proud to be part of this initiative to improve our measurement of inequality, because we know that what we measure is what we do. The better measurement in the end can lead to more action.” said Sarah Cliffe, Executive Director of the NYU Center on International Cooperation, “We commend President Geingob and President Bio’s leadership. In our event today, President Geingob and Chief Minister Sengeh made a compelling case of the need for measures to fight inequality and promote radical inclusion if we are to meet the major challenges of the world.”