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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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Executive summary

The global commitment to overcoming inequality, or redressing the imbalance between the wealthy and the poor, as clearly outlined at the 1995 World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen and endorsed in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, is fading. Eighty per cent of the world’s gross domestic product belongs to the 1 billion people living in the developed world; the remaining 20 per cent is shared by the 5 billion people living in developing countries. Failure to address this inequality predicament will ensure that social justice and better living conditions for all people remain elusive, and that communities, countries and regions remain vulnerable to social, political and economic upheaval.

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