Spotlight Series: SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities


“Reduce inequality within and among countries

Did you know the richest 10 percent earn up to 40 percent of the total global income? And the poorest 10 percent earn only around 2-7 percent of the total income? Did you also know most households in developing countries experience unequal income distributions that are even more unequal than in 1990?

This is called income inequality, which is just one factor of the tenth SDG. The goal was recognized more in the SDG than in the millennium goals because it was made clear that the goals needed to address a large range of socioeconomic differences around the fundamental part of the cause of the inequality.

People would think that inequalities, especially income inequalities, would see a much more progressive future, but income inequality is higher than ever for most members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) since the end of the second war.

But income inequality is not the only target the tenth SDG embodies. Here are some of the other aims that the goal wants to achieve within the next couple of decades:

  • “By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or another status”

In retrospective when talking about economic growth, the basis of this means that economic growth does not reduce inequalities, but the empowerment of inclusion leads to a sustainable development.

  • “Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies, and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies, and action in this regard”
  • “Adopt policies, especially fiscal, wage and social protection policies, and progressively achieve greater equality”
  • “Improve the regulation and monitoring of global financial markets and institutions and strengthen the implementation of such regulations”

Income inequality and other economic, discriminatory actions can lead to an inability to afford to save food, leading to poverty, and therefore cannot contribute to the economic growth. By improving regulations and monitoring the global financial market with the addition to the aims about adopting policies (the ones above), it can ensure national and global security for affordable, economic access and fewer inequalities.

  • “Ensure enhanced representation and voice for developing countries in decision-making in global international economic and financial institutions to deliver more effective, credible, accountable, and legitimate institutions”

The problem with the millennium goals which were set to be finished in 2015 was the lack of developing countries in the discussion of these upcoming SDG. By excluding developing countries about important decision-makings, they create inequalities. By including all nations in the discussion of the SDG, they become more credible, but, since all nations would agree on them, also more effective.

  • “Facilitate orderly, safe, regular, and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies “
  • “Implement the principle of special and differential treatment for developing countries, least developed countries, in accordance with World Trade Organization agreements”

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is a trade agreement created to reduce government regulation on the international market. However, the principle itself leads to a disadvantage for less developed countries since more developed countries would have more access to efficient technology and therefore can sell their products at cheaper prices. By giving developing countries special treatment, you ensure equity between the different countries and a more sustainable growth to all nations worldwide.

  • “Encourage official development assistance and financial flows, including foreign direct investment, to States where the need is greatest, in the least developed countries, African countries, small island developing States and landlocked developing countries, in accordance with their national plans and programs. “
  • “By 2030, reduce to less than 3 per cent the transaction costs of migrant remittances and eliminate remittance corridors with costs higher than 5 per cent”


Tackling these inequalities will be difficult and will require different actions from different nations.  And as the UN puts it: “finally, an integrated policy framework that reflects all development models and ensures policy coherence across goals will be needed to assure that social, economic and environmental goals are mutually supportive.”


This is part 11/18 of a series on the Sustainable Development Goals.








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