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Report on the World Social Situation 2005

The Inequality Predicament

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The 2005 Report on the World Social Situation focuses on the international aspects of inequality. As emphasized by the ten-year review of the implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action, there has been uneven progress in many areas of social development, with important regression in others. The main assumption of this report is that issues of equity and inequality have acquired such importance nowadays that it renders a difficult task to strengthen the development agenda without first addressing the segmentation of society that, among other reasons, rising levels of inequality have produced.

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Introduction

History is teeming with cautionary tales of the unintended consequences of narrow economic interests overriding the needs of the people and the issues that matter most. It is also full of seminal moments when a visionary course was charted and society moved forward. One such moment occurred 60 years ago with the founding of the United Nations. Not long after its establishment, its Member States charted a visionary course of action by recognizing that freedom, justice and peace in the world is based on recognition of the inherent dignity, equality and inalienable rights of all.

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