World leaders must take decisive steps to address inequalities in all their manifestations, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has advised.
He said: “Unequal access to resources, opportunities and social provision is damaging to societies, incites hostilities and violence, and threatens peace and security.”
Inequalities had implications far beyond economic development as they undermined social cohesion and also bred resentment, he stated in an address, at the 2023 Paris Peace Forum, in France.
President Nana Akufo-Addo bemoaned the unequal access to opportunities and technology.
It was holding hundreds of millions of people from achieving their potential and realising their aspirations, he noted, underlying the need to foster economic equity to promote inclusive economic growth.
The President said it was imperative to invest in education, healthcare, and social safety nets to ensure that everyone, everywhere, had an equal opportunity to prosper.
Additionally, the President advocated a reform of the global financial architecture “because the current system is not fit-for-purpose when it comes to addressing inequalities”.
The United Nations (UN), in its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Report 2023, says one in six people worldwide has experienced discrimination in some form, with women and people with disabilities disproportionately affected.
Inequality threatens long-term social and economic development, harms poverty reduction and destroys people’s sense of fulfillment and self-worth.
The UN Report estimates that year 2022 witnessed the highest number of refugees (34.6 million people) ever documented, with the COVID-19 pandemic also causing the largest rise in between-country inequality in three decades.
President Nana Akufo-Addo stated that conflicts perpetuated inequalities, and their prevention should be a global priority.
“Simultaneously, we must take meaningful steps to combat climate change and support climate adaptation, while transitioning to sustainable green economies.”
He reiterated the importance of reforming the institutions of global governance, particularly the UN Security Council, and correcting the longstanding injustice that the current structure and composition of the Council represented, especially for the nations of Africa.
“We cannot continue to preach democracy and fairness around the world, we cannot insist on peace and justice around the world when our global security organisation is not seen by the majority of its members as having a structure that is effective, fair and just.”
The 2023 Paris Peace Forum was held to find common ground on the governance of global commons and global public goods in domains like climate change, outer space and critical minerals.
It was intended to facilitate dialogue, creating action-oriented coalitions and defining norms or pre-norms as a way to deliver efficient responses to the urgent challenges of the time.
The critical priorities related to protecting the planet and the people, ensuring trust and safety in the digital world, addressing inequalities and accelerating SDGs, crafting peace and building a safer world.
The Forum was held on the theme: “Seeking Common Ground in a World of Rivalry”.