Secretary-General candidate responses to question 7

Leonardo Buzzi

Brazil – class project by teacher Cleiton Baldo: Colégio Dom Bosco, Rio do Sul, Santa Catarina

Considering the global inequalities, where people live in extreme poverty and 1% of the richest population owns 40% of Earth resources, what would you do to balance those inequalities, considering that 3 of the 5 permanent members of the Security Council are the biggest world economies?


Ms. Helen Clark’s answer

Growing inequality is a worldwide trend and one which deserves the attention of the United Nations.  Unfortunately the UN cannot solve all the world’s problems, or rebalance its inequalities.  What it can do is focus the debate, e.g. though the Economic and Social Council, on the negative impacts of inequality and the way these can contribute to the social ills of alienation and marginalization.


Mr. Miroslav Lajčák’s answer

Indeed, 85 richest people own as much as all 3,5 billion poorest in the world. In spite of earnest endeavors, the global inequalities are rising. However, the recently adopted Agenda 2030 should emerge as powerful tool in dealing with this phenomenon. Reducing inequalities is one of the global goals in the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. All countries must work for the timely and full implementation of the new sustainable development goals. UN should adapt itself to new development agenda to help countries make real changes in their peoples’ lives. The organization must focus on most vulnerable countries and groups of people. The Secretary-General can play an important role in increasing international awareness around the implementation of the SDGs and keep necessary political momentum to implementation efforts.


Dr. Igor Lukšić’s answer

Although significant achievements have been made in implementing MDGs, existing development inequalities within and among countries remained as an unfinished business of MDGs that must be addressed coherently. In order to reduce and balance inequalities between and within countries, we must reinvigorate our efforts in implementing milestone agreements defined in 2015, in particular the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs. Such a complex and vast Agenda 2030 accompanied by the Climate Agreement, Sendai Framework and Addis Ababa Action Agenda requires that future Secretariat and different agencies, programmes and funds should work as a close team although it may seem unviable. These endeavors should be supported by extended partnerships, in particular with private sector. UN system, in particular all AFPs and Regional Economic Commissions, must strengthen its collaboration with other multilateral partners, such as WB, IMF, OECD, WTO, as well as with regional arrangements for obtaining adequate expertise and support for specific goals and targets. Collective wisdom must be put in place for galvanizing necessary action and collecting all available resources for implementing demanding the 2030 Agenda. Countries should address the Agenda, as well as meet financial commitments contained in AAAA.

UN Development Group should be transformed into a UN Sustainable Development Group, co-chaired by the UNDP Chief Administrator and Human Rights High Commissioner, and with participation of AFPs, clustered and defined for each SDGs, along with other multilateral and regional partners as observers, should be put in place. UNSD Group should make sure that the new generation of UNDAFs fully reflects the overlapping and complementary Agendas related to development and human rights. However, one must understand it is all only to support states in pursuing policies that are sustainable development friendly as the responsibility lies with leaders of the individual countries.


Dr. Danilo Türk’s answer

As we have learned in the period of implementation of Millennium Development Goals (2000 – 2015), the global, UN led insistence on reduction of extreme poverty has made a difference. This is why the Agenda 2030 is inspired by the objective to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. UN leadership will continue to be essential. The request that nobody be left behind is the articulation of this leadership and all the UN mechanisms must be fully engaged in this. In addition, the UN will have to look into the questions of income inequality with a sharper focus. The UN has already started to discuss the questions of taxation and the detrimental practices of tax evasion, informally and in a consultative manner. These discussions must continue and be informed by the relevant findings of other international institutions such as the IMF and OECD so as to develop policies of tax fairness that can be recommended in the context of implementation of Sustainable Development  Goals.