Reducing inequality in the decade of action to achieve the SDGs and accelerate post-pandemic recovery

Reducing inequality is at the heart of leaving no one behind and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet inequality remains the greatest challenge to achieving sustainable development. This policy brief has been prepared based on discussions at the 6th ASEAN–China–UNDP Symposium on the SDGs, guided by the theme ‘Reducing Inequality in the Decade of Action to Achieve the SDGs and Recovery from COVID-19 Pandemic’, jointly organized by the ASEAN Secretariat, the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to ASEAN, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Philippines as the Chair of the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication (SOMRDPE). It outlines and elaborates on approaches to reducing inequality in the ASEAN region to achieve the SDGs. Moreover, this paper discusses specific dimensions of the differential impacts on the population which cover five key issues: jobs, social protection, education, health and food security. It concludes by discussing an exit strategy and suggests a series of exit indicators that ASEAN countries may consider monitoring.