Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

Reduce inequality within and among countries2020-05-29T12:45:52-04:00

Reducing inequalities and ensuring no one is left behind are integral to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Inequality within and among countries is a persistent cause for concern. Despite some positive signs toward reducing inequality in some dimensions, such as reducing relative income inequality in some countries and preferential trade status benefiting lower-income countries, inequality still persists.

COVID-19 has deepened existing inequalities, hitting the poorest and most vulnerable communities the hardest. It has put a spotlight on economic inequalities and fragile social safety nets that leave vulnerable communities to bear the brunt of the crisis.  At the same time, social, political and economic inequalities have amplified the impacts of the pandemic.

On the economic front, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased global unemployment and dramatically slashed workers’ incomes.

COVID-19 also puts at risk the limited progress that has been made on gender equality and women’s rights over the past decades. Across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection, the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women and girls simply by virtue of their sex.

Inequalities are also deepening for vulnerable populations in countries with weaker health systems and those facing existing humanitarian crises. Refugees and migrants, as well as indigenous peoples, older persons, people with disabilities and children are particularly at risk of being left behind. And hate speech targeting vulnerable groups is rising.

COVID-19 response

COVID-19 is not only challenging global health systems but testing our common humanity. The UN Secretary-General called for solidarity with the world’s poorest and most vulnerable who need urgent support in responding to the worst economic and social crisis in generations. “Now is the time to stand by our commitment to leave no one behind,” the Secretary-General said.

To ensure that people everywhere have access to essential services and social protection, the UN has called for an extraordinary scale-up of international support and political commitment, including funding through the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund which aims to support low- and middle-income countries and vulnerable groups who are disproportionately bearing the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic.  

This time of crisis must also be used as an opportunity to invest in policies and institutions that can turn the tide on inequality. Leveraging a moment when policies and social norms may be more malleable than during normal times, bold steps that address the inequalities that this crisis has laid bare can steer the world back on track towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information, see the SDG-10 Goal of the Month package: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/goal-of-the-month-may-2020

  • In 2016, over 64.4% of products exported by the least developed countries to world markets faced zero tariffs, an increase of 20% since 2010.
  • Evidence from developing countries shows that children in the poorest 20 per cent of the populations are still up to three times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than children in the richest quintiles.
  • Social protection has been significantly extended globally, yet persons with disabilities are up to five times more likely than average to incur catastrophic health expenditures.
  • Despite overall declines in maternal mortality in most developing countries, women in rural areas are still up to three times more likely to die while giving birth than women living in urban centers.
  • Up to 30 per cent of income inequality is due to inequality within households, including between women and men. Women are also more likely than men to live below 50 per cent of the median income

10.1 By 2030, progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40 per cent of the population at a rate higher than the national average

10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status

10.3 Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard

10.4 Adopt policies, especially fiscal, wage and social protection policies, and progressively achieve greater equality

10.5 Improve the regulation and monitoring of global financial markets and institutions and strengthen the implementation of such regulations

10.6 Ensure enhanced representation and voice for developing countries in decision-making in global international economic and financial institutions in order to deliver more effective, credible, accountable and legitimate institutions

10.7 Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies

10.A Implement the principle of special and differential treatment for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, in accordance with World Trade Organization agreements

10.B Encourage official development assistance and financial flows, including foreign direct investment, to States where the need is greatest, in particular least developed countries, African countries, small island developing States and landlocked developing countries, in accordance with their national plans and programmes

10.C By 2030, reduce to less than 3 per cent the transaction costs of migrant remittances and eliminate remittance corridors with costs higher than 5 per cent

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