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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