High Level Officials Address Press on Special ECOSOC Meeting on Inequality

Preview Language:   English
30-Mar-2016 00:47:18
Oh Joon, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the UN and President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); and Jeffrey Sachs, Secretary-General's Special Adviser on the Sustainable Development Goals, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and Director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, speak to press on the ECOSOC special meeting on inequalities.

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ECOSOC President Oh Joon said that the UN needs to discuss inequality now because the numbers clearly show that gaps in income and wealth have been consistently widening around the world.

Today, seven out of 10 people in the world live in countries where income inequality has risen, in many cases, to the highest level in 30 years, he said, adding that it has become a cliché to say that the richest one per cent has come to possess more than half the total wealth of the world.

“The fact that the gaps between the rich and poor are widening, despite improvements for the poorest, indicate that there are structural elements which cannot be properly dealt with by poverty reduction efforts alone,” he said.

Whether those elements might be called 'the rules of the game' or 'a level-playing field', they need be discussed at the UN, a shared forum in pursuit of global public goods.

Today's meeting is timely as it comes at the very first phase of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, he said. In a press conference today, Mr. Oh and Jeffrey Sachs, the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on the Sustainable Development Goals, discussed some ways of reducing inequalities, including through cutting down on illicit financial frauds and curbing corruption.

"At the international level, we need additional instruments, one way is to cut down on tax cheats," said Mr. Sachs, noting that without the revenues, governments are unable to provide critical social services, such as health and education.

He noted also the importance of fighting corruption: "When things are transparent, the rich and the powerful are often not able to get away with the games that they play. and therefore good governance, transparency, use of information technology, global cooperation on taxes, closing down abuse on tax secrecy and tax havens are important pieces of the puzzle on creating a fair global society."
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