UNDP WARNS ON CLIMATE AND TECHNOLOGY AGGRAVATING GLOBAL INEQUALITY
By Princess Ekwi Ajide
The present global climatic change and technology could worsen the inequality between the rich and the poor of the world, a United Nations (UN) report has alerted. The warning was given by Achim Steiner, head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in the foreword he wrote in the 2019 Human Development Report of the organization; stressing that education and technology could aggravate global inequalities. According to him, they represent seismic shifts that, unchecked, could trigger a “new great divergence” in society of the kind not seen since the industrial revolution.
The report pointed out that Climate change and disasters “run along, exploit and deepen existing social and economic fault lines,” Steiner noted: “Just as the gap in basic living standards is narrowing … the abilities people will need to compete in the future have evolved.”
The report revealed that in countries with very high human development, subscriptions to fixed broadband are growing 15 times faster than in countries with low human development while the proportion of adults with tertiary education is growing more than six times faster. It added: “What used to be ‘nice-to-haves,’ like going to university or accesses to broadband are increasingly important for success.
In his own remarks, the report lead author Pedro Conceicao remarked: “But left only with the basics, people find the rungs knocked out of their ladder to the future.”
The report, which was launched in Bogota recently argues that inequality is behind the protests sweeping across the world, from Hong Kong to Chile and Iraq. The UNDP however noted that “inequality is not beyond solutions:’ adding that the body has set out policy options to tackle drivers of inequality in the report.