REDUCING INEQUALITY IN THE DECADE OF ACTION TO ACHIEVE THE SDGS AND ACCELERATE POSTPANDEMIC RECOVERY
Reducing inequalities and ensuring no one is left behind are integral to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Though progress has been achieved, much effort is still needed to reduce inequality in the region. This is particularly critical as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exacerbate the incidence of inequality. The impact of the pandemic has reversed the progress made towards gender equality. Areas where progress is currently noticeable might experience a regression soon if no concerted action is taken. Sustained and targeted interventions are needed to address the needs of those who are hit hardest by the pandemic – particularly low-income households, workers in the informal sector, ethnic minorities, migrant workers, and women in all settings.
This policy brief was developed to assist policymakers in unpacking and understanding inequality in relation to achieving the SDGs in the ASEAN region. It provides analysis and offers recommendations especially to ensure equity through more decent jobs; bridge the inequality in the quality of work through improved social protection; reduce inequality in education and health; address poverty, the rural–urban divide and food security; and improve data to monitor the progress.
The policy brief intends to inform the initiatives of ASEAN sectoral bodies to build back better from the pandemic, acknowledge the gendered impacts and narrow the existing gaps in society. The policy brief likewise contributes to the implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF), which sets out strategies and provides concrete measures to respond to the pandemic and protect vulnerable groups. Lastly, it provides useful information to navigate and steer regional cooperation to foster achievement of the SDG targets in the coming years.
The development of the policy brief benefited from the discussion during the 6th ASEAN– China–UNDP Symposium: Reducing Inequality in the Decade of Action to Achieve the SDGs and Recovery from COVID-19 Pandemic, which was held on 7 December 2021 under the leadership of the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication (SOMRDPE). The research team led by Dr. Santosh K. Mehrotra drafted the policy brief, with support from the ASEAN Secretariat, SOMRDPE Philippines, UNDP and the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to ASEAN.
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