Reducing inequality and achieving inclusive growth are inseparable. When we narrow inequality, we reinforce the capacity of sectors and individuals to overcome structural factors that limit their mobility in society.
When we promote growth that is beneficial to all classes and encourage people’s productive participation in the economy, we not only neutralize equality barriers. We also make people capable of being upwardly mobile.
In the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequality gaps around the globe. In 2020, the UN World Social Report examined four megatrends on inequality — technological innovation, climate change, urbanization, and international migration — and the challenge to “encourage a more equitable and sustainable world.”
For 2021, the UN report focused on rural development, which involves nearly half of the global population, and raised the goal of not leaving the sector behind amid growing efforts toward economic recovery, reducing inequalities, and tackling the climate crisis.
In the Philippine context, grappling with inequality woes is exemplified by the efforts and initiatives of a wide range of social actors. These activities were discussed during the virtual town hall discussion “Bridging the Gap: Reducing Inequality in the Philippines for Inclusive Growth,” hosted by the Stratbase ADR Institute.
During this pandemic, our society experienced record highs in unemployment, hunger, poverty, business closures, and inflation rates. Much of these could be attributed to the administration’s less-than-desirable management of the pandemic.
But as inequality persists in the Philippines, we have to respond to it through a multi-stakeholder strategy. We need public-private partnerships, investments by the private sector, and a better environment for investment by the incoming administration, with the hope that it can provide jobs, livelihood, and income, and a comfortable life for many Filipinos in the long run.
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