Ton Dietz's speech at the tenth anniversary of the Prince Claus Chair. The reduction of inequality and the pursuit of equity: past successes and challenges ahead

Prince Claus would have enjoyed today’s discussions. Twenty-four years after he formulated his famous statements he would have seen that these ideas are still very much alive, and probably even more necessary in the current political and scientific debate than in 1988.

Equity and equality are indeed hot topics. The United Nations Task Team on the post-2015 United Nations Development Agenda suggests in a recent report to the UN Secretary General, “Realizing the Future We Want for All” that ‘reducing inequalities’ should become one of thirteen new goals for a post-2015 development agenda. These goals are framed under four major headings: ‘inclusive social development’, ‘inclusive economic development’, ‘peace and security’, and ‘environmental sustainability’. As part of what the UN Task Team calls ‘inclusive economic development’ it is no longer enough to eradicate income poverty and hunger, but reducing inequalities and ensuring decent work and productive employment have now been formulated as combined challenges for the world community as well. What the Task Team writes in their document is so central to what we discussed today that I will read the start of the section on inclusive economic development:

“Sustainable development involves stable, equitable and inclusive economic growth, based on sustainable patterns of production and consumption. Inclusiveness is broader than just a pro-poor focus. It implies universality and focuses not only on those defined as poor, but also on vulnerable populations in precarious livelihoods.”

Read the rest of the speech here.

Date, time and location

25 January 2013