Resource inequality: Moving inequalities from the periphery to the centre of the post-2015 agenda - Perch, Watson, Barry
*Accepted under the "Addressing Inequalities" Global Thematic Consultation - Call for Proposals for Background Papers, Oct 2012*
by Leisa Perch, Clare Watson and Bridget Barry
Abstract: There is an unintended and false separation between in the social, economic and environmental drivers of under-development in the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) framework. In practice, however, the root causes of these drivers are often interconnected. Real-word examples highlight the existing scale and scope of what we define as ‘resource inequality’—the unequal access of socially and economically marginalized groups to natural resources and basic services, which are fundamental to human development. A significant proportion of the world’s population experience some form of resource inequality: more than one third of the global population lack basic access to energy; the urban poor suffer disproportionately from the health and productivity impacts of poor sanitation; millions in Asia and Africa lack access to safe drinking water and reliable access to electricity; and rural women generally lack basic economic rights to the lands they cultivate. The time required to collect water and fuel limit productivity, especially for women, and the lack of electricity access limits political and social participation—essentials for inclusive and sustainable development. While acknowledged in various policy statements and commitments, the intersections between practical and strategic development needs receive ad hoc attention in global development discussions. The visible political divide over the link between women’s reproductive rights and sustainable development at the Rio+20 Conference underscores the underlying ambiguity that persists surrounding the nexus between the social and environmental dimensions of inequality. Tackling ‘resource equality’ can bridge this gap. In the lead up to and during the implementation of the post-2015 Agenda, a ‘resource inequality’ lens can inform a more comprehensive and coherent approach to development and help the advance beyond crisis-related and economically-driven approaches to natural resource management.