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Equality is a Necessary Condition for the Growth of Productivity, Investment and Environmental Sustainability: Alicia Bárcena

ECLAC’s Executive Secretary inaugurated a meeting today at which a joint document produced by the five United Nations regional commissions was presented.

27 June 2018|Press Release


Alicia Bárcena during the Inter-regional Expert Group Meeting "Placing equality at the centre of the 2030 Agenda".
Photo: ECLAC.

Promoting greater equality not only helps guarantee people’s social and cultural rights, it is also a necessary condition for accelerating the growth of productivity, internalizing and spreading the digital revolution, moving toward environmental sustainability and providing an institutional framework that allows for taking action in a world in which great imbalances with enormous possibilities coexist, Alicia Bárcena, the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), affirmed today.

The senior United Nations official inaugurated the Inter-regional Expert Group Meeting "Placing equality at the centre of the 2030 Agenda", which is being held through Thursday, June 28 at ECLAC’s headquarters in Santiago, Chile.

There, the joint document Promoting equality: An interregional perspective, produced by the five United Nations regional commissions, was presented before representatives of government, the private sector, the academic world and civil society linked to social development.

Alicia Bárcena presented the perspective of Latin America and the Caribbean regarding The Inefficiency of Inequality, an analysis that ECLAC laid out in a document of the same name released during its last session, held in May 2018 in Havana, Cuba.

During her speech, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations regional organization affirmed that inequality is not just a problem of one region, but rather of the entire world, and she stressed the need to place equality at the center of countries’ development agendas.

“Attention to inequality is important not only because it is unjust but also because it is inefficient and unsustainable. It is not only a profound ethical value that should be the ultimate goal of development, but it is also an economic problem that is unsustainable because it does not allow for promoting capacities for innovation and productivity,” she stated.

The senior United Nations official indicated that equality is efficient because it produces inclusive institutions and a culture that rewards innovation and effort, not social class, ethnicity, gender or political connections.

“Inversely, inequality creates a culture of privilege that closes opportunities, reduces capacities and fosters a rentier behavior among the privileged classes. The culture of privilege normalizes social hierarchies and asymmetrical access to the fruits of progress, political participation and production assets,” she sustained.

ECLAC’s highest authority stated that equality strengthens democracy and the role of the State in the provision of public goods.

In addition, she said, equal access to capacities and opportunities becomes especially important to face the technological revolution but also to drive productivity.

“Productivity and democracy are complementary strategic goods, not substitutes for one another, even more so in a world subject to sharp economic, political and environmental tensions,” she added.

The Inter-regional Expert Group Meeting marks the closing of the 9th Tranche United Nations Development Account project "Promoting Equality: Strengthening the Capacity of Select Developing Countries to Design and Implement Equality-oriented Public Policies and Programmes," which is aimed at improving the awareness of the different dimensions of inequality, strengthening countries’ capacities to analyze and measure inequality, as well as at promoting the conceptualization, design and implementation of multidisciplinary public policies oriented toward greater socio-economic equality.



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