Addressing Increasing Inequality

Dame Meg Taylor, PIFS Secretary General, presented the Keynote Address at the Pacific Preparatory Meeting for the 6th Asia Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development on 24 September 2018 at the Nadi Tanoa International Hotel. She listed seven challenges for the region, emanating from the First Quadrennial Pacific Sustainable Development Report (FQPSDR), including: “Economically, whilst we see trends of sustained growth, it is often inequitable.” The six other challenges deal with climate induced natural disasters, poverty, violence against women, disability, NCDs and childhood obesity.

Dame Meg then discussed what the FQPSDR prescribed as what we can do to address these challenges. She pointed “to a need to accelerate our efforts at national and regional levels in particular areas if we are to address inequality and inclusiveness.” She
added that three of these particular areas are: (i) strengthened efforts to plan for and build resilience to climatic events and ensure that development is risk-informed and protected against losses, (ii) effective utilisation of available financing, and strengthening
coordination, capacities and institutions. Increased adoption of multi-stakeholder engagements, greater use of peer learning modalities and the effective implementation and monitoring of genuine and durable partnerships, and (iii) enhance gender equality and opportunities for women, youth, the elderly and persons with disabilities by addressing intersecting patriarchal barriers, social and cultural norms.

This article proposes to focus primarily on the challenge of inequitable economic growth – inequality – and to discuss the economic and political forces that give rise to it. In doing so, the article will identify strategies and policy approaches that will, in addition to the above, address such inequality.

But first: an assumption. The article does not delve into any traditional and structural social order that might have caused inequality and has its roots in the past.

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