Inequality is rampant across the global economy, and the agro-food sector is no exception. At the top, big supermarkets and other corporate food giants dominate global food markets, allowing them to squeeze value from vast supply chains that span the globe, while at the bottom the bargaining power of small-scale farmers and workers has been steadily eroded in many of the countries from which they source.
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Last year saw the biggest increase in billionaires in history, one more every two days. This huge increase could have ended global extreme poverty seven times over. 82% of all wealth created in the last year went to the top 1%, and nothing went to the bottom 50%.
Dangerous, poorly paid work for the many is supporting extreme wealth for the few. Women are in the worst work, and almost all the super-rich are men. Governments must create a more equal society by prioritizing ordinary workers and small-scale food producers instead of the rich and powerful.
Climate change is already forcing people from their land and homes, and putting many more at risk of displacement in the future. Supercharged storms, more intense droughts, rising seas and other impacts of climate change all magnify existing vulnerabilities and the likelihood of displacement, disproportionately affecting low-income countries, women, children and indigenous peoples.
In 2015, the leaders of 193 governments promised to reduce inequality as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Without reducing inequality, meeting the SDG to eliminate poverty will be impossible. Now Development Finance International and Oxfam have produced the first index to measure the commitment of governments to reducing the gap between the rich and the poor.
Big business is able to take advantage of loopholes in global tax laws and avoid tax on a massive scale. This deprives governments around the world of the money they need to tackle poverty and inequality. It means there is less for them to invest in healthcare, education and jobs.
Women’s economic empowerment could reduce poverty for everyone. In order to achieve it, we need to first fix the current broken economic model which is undermining gender equality and causing extreme economic inequality.
The neoliberal model has made it harder for women to have better quality and better paid jobs, address inequality in unpaid care work, and women’s influence and decision making power is constrained.
To achieve women’s economic empowerment, we need a human economy that works for women and men alike, and for everyone, not just the richest 1%.
The gap between the richest and the rest in Indonesia has grown faster in the past two decades than in any other country in South-East Asia. The four richest men in Indonesia now have more wealth than the poorest 100 million people. Inequality is slowing down poverty reduction, dampening economic growth and threatening social cohesion.
President Jokowi has made fighting inequality his administration’s top priority for 2017. This report shows how he could achieve this by enforcing a living wage for all workers, increasing spending on public services, and making big corporations and rich individuals pay their fair share of tax.
New estimates show that just eight men own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world. As growth benefits the richest, the rest of society – especially the poorest – suffers. The very design of our economies and the principles of our economics have taken us to this extreme, unsustainable and unjust point.
Pacific island countries are working hard to address the escalating realities of climate change, including the impact on land, livelihoods, and on the food and water security of their most vulnerable communities. The need for accessible, predictable, adequate and appropriate financial support to meet the climate crisis is urgent and growing.
The Paris Agreement marked a major breakthrough in support for climate action from many parts of the business community, including from key actors in the food and beverage sector. But despite significant progress, much work remains both to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to support the millions of people already hit by climate change.