Charles Gore on Inequality Reduction as a Global Goal: The Nature and Logic of SDG 10

WIDER Seminar Series

Charles Gore on Inequality Reduction as a Global Goal: The Nature and Logic of SDG 10

Charles Gore presented at the WIDER Seminar Series on 19 June 2019. 

Abstract – Inequality Reduction as a Global Goal: The Nature and Logic of SDG 10
Presentation slides

An important feature of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the inclusion of a separate, stand-alone goal for inequality reduction. The objective of SDG10, which is further specified with 10 targets and 11 indicators, is to “Reduce Inequality Within and Among Countries”. Existing assessments of SDG 10, notably Anderson (2016) and Fukuda Parr (2019), are highly critical of how the goal has been formulated and specified. This presentation seeks to understand the nature and logic of SDG 10 and offers a more positive view.

The presentation does this in three steps. Firstly, it sets out what a global goal is. Secondly, focusing specifically on global income inequality, it asks which elements of inequality reduction would be expected to enter SDG 10, given that it is a Global Sustainable Development Goal and given the nature of global goals in general. Thirdly, it compares the formulation and specification of SDG 10 with these expectations.

The analysis suggests that one important effect of the adoption of global goals is – as the MDGs illustrate – to stimulate further practical reasoning and deliberation on how to “fill them in” in terms of what they mean and how they can be achieved. The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, which will be held in July 2019, includes such discussion of SDG 10. Deeper understanding of the nature and logic of the goal can contribute to a sound basis for this and other deliberations.

About the speaker

Charles Gore is Honorary Professor in Economics at the University of Glasgow and Research Associate in Global Studies at the University of Sussex. Between 1999 and 2008, he was team leader and principal author of UNCTAD's Least Developed Countries Report, and from 2008 until 2012 he was Special Coordinator for Cross-Sectoral Issues, directing research on Africa and on least developed countries in UNCTAD.

His academic publications examine the nature of the explanations, normative judgements and discursive narratives which underpin international development practice. He is currently working on a history of how the idea of poverty went global in the 1970s, which is part of a broader examination of the concept of global goals.

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases recent and ongoing work on key topics in development economics. The weekly sessions held in Helsinki are open to local and visiting researchers, policy makers, and others interested in development topics. Click here to learn more.

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