Rising Inequality and the Threat of Climate Change

images-3“Overcoming inequality and slowing global warming are imperative for achieving a world free from poverty and suffering”, said Mr. Offenheiser at his opening speech this morning. The 85 richest people own the same amount of wealth as half of the world’s poorest population. Furthermore, climate change could increase the number of people who are at risk of hunger by up to twenty percent by 2050. Therefore, economic inequality and climate change are clearly addressed in the proposed goals for the post-2015 development agenda to develop a new global framework, which aims at ending poverty and protecting the planet.

Professor Sachs highlighted the urgency of tackling both the climate change and inequality problems, as they are both vital to the survival and health of our society. “If climate change is not in the headline, this is worthless. It is the toughest and most important environmental issue that requires two generations to get this problem controlled”, he said firmly. Ambassador Patriota gave a comprehensive statement about inequality across the whole agenda by emphasizing how “universality” is needed to ensure no one is left behind. He also talked about inequality in the environmental, and economic and social aspects in terms of legal empowerment.

Ms. Mohammad agreed with Ambassador Patriota on the broader context of inequality and universality. It is critical to the poverty agenda, which is the overarching ambition in eradicating poverty. Both climate change and poverty go together Ms. Mohammad said. She emphasized the urgency to address these twin challenges in an integrated approach. All panellists agreed that addressing inequality is very important to the health of our society and needs to be understood in a multi-dimensional way. On climate change, there is no overriding consensus as it is a substantial issue threatening both people and the environment.


Meeting Title: Panel discussion on “Post-2015: How can the new framework best address rising inequality and the threat of climate change?”
Speakers: Mr.Paul Ladd, Head of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, UNDP; Mr. Ray Offenheiser, President and CEO, Oxfam America; Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network; H.E. Ambassador Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN; H.E. Ambassador Guilherme de Aguiar Patriota, Deputy Permanent Representative of Brazil to the UN; Mr. François Gave, Counsellor for Development and Sustainable Development, Permanent Mission of France to the UN; Ms. Amina Mohammed, Special Adviser of the Secretary General on Post-2015 Development Planning
Location: United Nations HQ, Conference Room 7
Date: 17 June 2014
Written By WIT representative: Samantha Kong
Edited by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan

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