In all societies, inequalities persist, gaps are opening. The 2019 Human Development Report that will be released in the last quarter of the year will look to provide the broadest analysis of inequality in human development to date and will guide us on how to tackle 21st century inequalities in a more effective way.

Today’s world remains deeply unfair. The life and prospects faced by a newborn in a poor country or in a poor household are radically different from those of wealthier children. In all societies, long-standing forms of inequality persist while gaps are opening in new aspects of life. The 2019 Human Development Report will focus on understanding the dimensions of inequality most important to people’s well-being, and what is behind them.

“While many believe inequality is critically important, there is much less agreement on why it matters and what to do about it. We need to sharpen measurement to better describe what inequality looks like and to have a deeper understanding of how inequality will change given the economic, social and environmental transformations that are unfolding worldwide. Only then can we design the policy options that could effectively tackle it.”– said Pedro Conceição, Director of the Human Development Report Office at UNDP.

The report will go beyond the dominant discourse focused on income disparities to also consider inequalities in other dimensions such as health, education, access to technologies, and exposure to economic and climate-related shocks. It will use new data and methods that will highlight, in a way that measures based on averages cannot, how inequality affects people’s lives; and it will take a long-term view towards 2030 and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and beyond.

“We are witnessing both convergence and divergence in human development. For instance, in many countries today, gaps have closed when we talk about access to primary education. But differences between children in poor and wealthy households are widening in both early childhood and quality of education. These inequalities will have lifetime consequences, particularly given the rapid technological changes, which are likely to impact labour markets. This is just one example of why our analysis of inequality must go beyond income, beyond averages and beyond today.”, explained Mr. Conceição.


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