Poverty September 1, 2016 | 9:55 am

Tackle inequality to end poverty, say NGOs

Santo Domingo.- Non-governmentalorganization Oxfam and academic body Flacso highlighted on Wednesday that in view of the needto analyze the high rates of inequality in the region, they decided to dedicatethe Seventh Forum on Inequality and Power to the presentation of the UnitedNations Development Program (UNDP) regional report on human development inLatin America and the Caribbean “Multidimensional Progress: Wellbeing beyond Income”.

“We believe that it is important todebate and reflect on the findings of the UNDP regional report, whichhighlights important elements to be taken into account in our analysis andproposals, so for this reason we have opened this space which will give us anacademic and social perspective for a set of problems that affect the regionand that are multidimensional,” stated Iván Ogando, Dominican Republic program directorfor the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (Flacso).

Oxfam director in the DominicanRepublic, Raúl del Río, stated that "Oxfam is convinced that poverty andinjustice can only be tackled if inequality is reduced, so we have joined thisinitiative and have launched a campaign against inequality: IGUALES [in English: Even ItUp]."

He added, “we believe that inequality isnot inevitable and that political will is all that is needed in order to bringabout the changes that lead to a significant reduction in inequality”.

The report was presented by UNDP’sassistant resident representative Luciana Mermet, with commentary by economistand human development expert Pavel Isa Contreras.

According to the report, “MultidimensionalProgress: Wellbeing beyond Income in the Latin American region” between 2003 and2013, 72 million people came out of poverty and 94 million joined the middleclasses.

The report explains, however, thatdespite this progress millions of people still live in vulnerable conditionsand in a state of exclusion. In fact, it points out that between 25 and 30million people are at risk of falling back into poverty. For this reason itstresses the importance of protecting the achievements as the greatestchallenge ahead.

The report highlights that in order totackle structural vulnerabilities in the Caribbean region, changes have to bemade in public policies, focusing on the factors that promote resilience andprevent people from falling back into poverty: quality of the labor market,expanded social protection systems, access to physical assets (financialinclusion) and wide ranging care systems.

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