Should inequality be reflected in the new international development goals?

Inclusive Economy,Poverty & Inequality29 Mar 2013Adam Wagstaff

The last few months have been a busy time for inequality. And over the last few days the poor thing got busier still. Inequality is now dancing on two stages. It must be really quite dizzy.

At some point, someone seems to have decided that reducing inequality needs to be an explicit commitment in the post-2105 goals. The UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda wrote a report on inequality and argued that “addressing inequalities is in everyone’s best interest.” Another report by Claire Melamed of Britain’s Overseas Development Institute argued that “equity, or inequality, needs to be somehow integrated into any new framework.” Last week a group of 90 academics wrote an open letter to the High Level Panel on the Post 2015 Development Agenda demanding that inequality be put at the heart of any new framework.

But not everyone concurs. Last December Stephan Klasen, Professor of Development Economics at the University of Göttingen, wrote a blog post on The Broker entitled “No, we don’t need an MDG for inequality.” And a couple of weeks ago Martin Ravallion, former World Bank Research Director and now Professor of Economics at Georgetown University, wrote a post on the same site entitled “Let’s avoid creating a dog’s breakfast of MDGs” in which he too argued that a goal for inequality isn’t needed.

Want to read the whole blog post and learn about Adam Wagstaff’s perspective on the debate? Visit the Let’s Talk Development blog, hosted by the World Bank, where this blog post was originally published.