Reducing inequalities – a sustainable development challenge

Reducing inequalities – a sustainable development challenge


A Research Facility to Better Understand InequalitiesAn initiative of the European Commission seeks to enhance knowledge and understanding of economic and social inequalities in order to better respond to this complex development challenge.

The Inequality Facility Support Programme is focusing on one of the most pressing development challenges of the world today, inequalities. In a world in which more people are being lifted out of poverty, extreme inequalities, both within and between countries, remain immense and urgent for many around the world.

There are still more than 800 million people living in extreme poverty, while 1 % of the world’s population controls more than 50 % of its wealth.

Over recent decades, income inequality has been on the rise and is currently at rates rarely seen before in history. In developing countries, inequality has increased by 11 % and is getting worse, with more than 75 % of people in developing countries living in countries where income is more unequally distributed than it was in the 1990s.

Enhancing knowledge for better policies

These widening disparities require the adoption of sound policies to empower the poorest and promote the economic inclusion of all. The Research facility to better understand inequalities will contribute to this, by enhancing knowledge around the drivers of economic and social inequalities and identify the most effective policies to address and reduce them.

Evidence shows that, beyond a certain threshold, inequality harms growth and poverty reduction, erodes trust in public institutions and decreases an individual’s sense of fulfilment and self-worth. However, extreme and ever-rising inequalities are not inevitable, as several countries have managed to contain or reduce income inequality, while achieving strong growth.

The Research Facility is being implemented by AFD, the French Development Agency, and will bring together EU Member States and other development partners working in the area, in order to strengthen the overall contribution of EU development cooperation to the fight against inequalities. The work will be carried out under the framework of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and in particular SDG 10 on reducing inequalities within and among countries.

For more information, visit the webpage of the research facility on AFD’s website here. A project brochure is also available here.


DG Manservisi opened AFD Conference on Inequalities and Social Cohesion

Stefano Manservisi, DG of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, opening Paris conferenceStefano 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.

The European Commission has been associated with the organisation of this year’s conference, reflecting the close cooperation the Commission and AFD have been building through the Research Facility on Inequalities, which works to deliver high-quality evidence on this complex topic.

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’. He went on to say, ‘we must work harder to confront inequalities throughout our actions’.

The high-level experts, policy makers and development practitioners met at the conference to make headway on some key questions around how development cooperation can most effectively help reduce inequality and increase social cohesion.

Generating evidence and knowledge

As a result of a call for proposals, the facility has recently selected a number of research projects that it will support:

20 Research Projects Financed