Bali MDG talks must focus on inequality, says NGO

03 April, 2013 | Source: The Jakarta Post

Inequality must be placed at the center of all discussions at the UN High Level Panel for the post-2015 development agenda in Bali next week as unequal progress on human development remains, says a representative of a child rights NGO.

Save the Children Indonesia country director Ricardo Caivano said that despite vibrant economic growth in the region, all eight ASEAN member countries had Gini coefficients that were either close to or above 40, the internationally recognized warning level of extreme income inequality.

“Such income inequality will trickle down and affect all other parts of a child’s life,” he said in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

ASEAN has seen the number of people living on less than US$1.25 per day decline to below 20 percent from 45 percent of its total population in 1990. In 2010, one in 34 children in Southeast Asia died before their fifth birthday while in 1990, the number was one in 14 children.

Under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), 600 million people have been lifted out of poverty, 56 million more children can go to school, and 14,000 fewer children are dying from preventable illnesses every day since 1990.

The UN meeting, co-chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has placed the target of ending extreme poverty at the heart of its agenda.

However, Caivano said that goal would only be realized if the panel could ensure the world tackled growing inequality, because improvements had only been concentrated in the wealthiest segments of society, as highlighted in Save the Children′s "Born Equal" report in 2012.

In Indonesia, he said, almost all women in the wealthiest segments of communities were assisted by a skilled attendant during childbirth, but only 40 percent of women in the poorest segments had the same access. The nutritional status of Indonesian children in the poorest households had deteriorated between 2007 and 2010.

Caivano said the next round of global development goals must move away from aggregate targets and set ambitious objectives to reduce the gaps in progress between rich and poor, boys and girls, rural and urban dwellers, the young, elderly and disabled, and ethnic and religious groups in all societies.

“In Bali, the post-2015 High Level Panel has the opportunity to ensure that all children have the same access to quality education, healthcare, social protection, nutritious food and a voice in front of lawmakers,” he said.


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