Inclusion & Growth – European Development Days 2012

European Development Days

One of the main topics at the upcoming European Development Days (Brussels, October 16 &17) is Inclusive Growth. Meeting at a critical time, participants will experience a unique opportunity to meet a wide range of stakeholders from around the world and debate, take stock, and make recommendations. Six panels will tackle the issue of how to empower the populous for inclusive growth:

  • Building a Social Contract for Health
  • The Perspective of the Working Poor in the Informal Economy
  • Placing Social Protection at the Heart of the Development Agenda
  • Confronting Inequality
  • Responding to Youth Unemployment
  • Making Finance Work for Inclusive Development

By examining countries that are faring well after many years of crisis, we can look to find a path towards social inclusion. The Shared Societies Project believes that leaders will make greater efforts to achieve a shared society once they and their communities understand and communicate the economic benefits of building a shared society. We have therefore been keen to explore how to make this case and how to ensure that the economic argument for building a shared society is internalized and acted upon by leaders.

The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Financial Corporation (IFI) all agree that rapid growth is key to reducing poverty, but for the growth to be sustainable, it should beincreasingly broad-based across sectors, and inclusive of the majority of a country’s labor force. However, inequalities that disempower and exclude the poor persist across developing and developed countries. Youth unemployment is skyrocketing worldwide, which undercuts economic and social development andcreates disillusionment, disenfranchisement, and social and political unrest. Moreover, inequality fuelled the Arab Spring, which indicates that economicgrowth without jobs and social cohesion can be politically explosive.

For the aforementioned reasons, the upcoming meeting organized by the European Commission is especially relevant. In a crucial year in which many EU countries are working to improve their economies, designing and implementing new policies—we cannot forget social inclusion. EU development policy should promote a ‘green economy’ that generates growth, creates jobs and helps reduce poverty by investing in natural capital through supporting market opportunities for cleaner technologies, energy and resource efficiency, as well as low-carbon development. At the same time, this could spur innovation, the use of ICT and a reduction in the unsustainable use of natural resources. Development policy should also contribute to improving the resilience of developing countries and to combating climate change.

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  1. Charlotte says:

    I agree we live a crucial moment in which EU countries while working to improve their economies etc, cannot forget social inclusion and social cohesion. Many vulnerable/minority groups such as migrants are used as scapegoats and are excluded from society as second class citizens. In the end this measures jeopardise the entire society and undermines wellbeing and resilience.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think that having a conference like this is a really important step to take at a crucial time for the EU and the world. I wish my country (the US) would also take some time to address the issues of social cohesion and inclusion domestically in light of our economic recovery since 2009. While the US is, luckily, faring somewhat better than many EU countries in terms of the pure numbers that mark economic growth – the economy is on track to expand this year – that growth is almost entirely limited to certain sectors and classes and exclusive of disadvantaged and minority groups. The banking and financial services sectors are booming, making room for jobs for the most highly educated and well-off citizens, while growth in manufacturing and administrative positions has remained stagnant, meaning that ethnic and racial minorities and other consistently disadvantaged groups have yet to feel the benefits of the country’s increase in GDP. I think that this type of situation is unnatural and could be largely corrected by effective government policy, but unfortunately the USA’s current political climate makes it so that this issue doesn’t get much attention outside of smaller fora. It’s hard to imagine the US government organizing a similar kind of conference at this point.

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