The Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, Stefano Manservisi, joined Rémy Rioux, Director of the French development agency AFD, in opening AFD’s 13th International Conference on Development on Inequalities and Social Cohesion in Paris.
Mr Manservisi emphasised the EU’s strong commitment to tackling inequalities, which he said ‘was necessary to ensure an inclusive development agenda that truly leaves no one behind’.
While poverty rates have gone down, income inequality has gone up. Half of the world’s wealth is held by just one percent of the population. Many, especially women and young people lack decent job opportunities, and the informal economy comprises more than half of the global workforce. These disparities impede development and social cohesion.
The international community knows what needs to be done to address these injustices. That is why Sustainable Development Goal 10 commits us to reduce inequality within and among countries. The new European Consensus on Development also puts tackling inequalities at the heart of EU development cooperation.
Today’s conference is a welcome and timely reminder of the work ahead.
Fundamentally, growth needs to be more inclusive and focus on the key drivers that can reduce inequality in the long run, such as increased opportunities for decent work, access to quality social services and social protection, especially for the most excluded.
The high-level experts, policy makers and development practitioners meeting at the conference will seek to make headway on some key questions around how development cooperation can most effectively help reduce inequality and increase social cohesion.
The European Commission has been associated with the organisation of this year’s conference. This reflects the close cooperation that the Commission and the AFD have been building through the Research Facility on Inequalities, which works to deliver high-quality evidence on this complex topic.