There is a growing concern about current levels of overall inequality and their negative impact on economic performance. Equally Shared Societies are not only inherent desirable but they too offer an economic dividend. The costs of social divisions, and of missing out on the Shared Society dividend may be significant and the ultimate consequences for the sustainability of human economic and social life, devastating. The Global Shared societies Agenda is intended to guide on what policy options provide the best opportunities to encourage greater equality, inclusion and sharing and thereby facilitate the creation of a more effective, efficient and sustainable economic system.
The following proposals address the question of what policy options provide the best opportunities to encourage greater equality, inclusion and sharing and thereby facilitate the creation of a more effective, efficient and sustainable economic system. They were developed during a seminar in Washington on 22 April 2012 in the context of the Spring meetings of the IMF/World Bank in which representatives of the following organizations took part: Asian Development Bank, G20 Mexican Presidency, International Labour Organization, International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Trade Union Confederation, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, UN Children’s Fund, UN-Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UN Development Programme, UN Regional Commissions (ECLAC and ESCWA), UN Women and World Bank.
Objective of a Global Shared Societies Agenda:
- To create agreement that the social dimension should become an integral part of macroeconomic and financial policy-making through the application of robust economic and social policies that are complementary and mutually reinforcing and promote sustainable and inclusive societies.
- To create consensus that policies should be audited by those issuing and implementing them in respect to their contribution to a Global Shared Societies Agenda.
- To enable phased implementation of the Global Shared Societies Agenda on national, regional and global levels, thus contributing to the reduction of excessive inequality and the promotion of social cohesion in the interest of shared global stability and prosperity.
- There should not be a boundary between economic and social policy.
- A Global Shared Societies Agenda is focused on promoting a long-term sustainable and inclusive growth process and as such contributes to overall national wellbeing and economic progress.
- Long-term sustainable and inclusive growth takes place in an era of greater volatility in the global economic system than previously, so planning for systemic shocks must be a part of the overall outlook. A Global Shared Societies agenda should act as an automatic stabilizer in response to crises and protects people.
- Shared Societies reduce the threats to political systems arising from inequality and exclusion from participation in society.
- Forging a shared society is the responsibility of every government, together with local authorities, civil society organizations/non-governmental organizations (CSOs/NGOs), and relevant social partners, and every Intergovernmental institution has a responsibility to encourage and support national efforts.
- Shared Societies require transparent governance and better coordination and coherence between national, regional and global institutions, including financial institutions.
- They also require an agreed vision of the goal of a Shared Society and specific criteria by which progress towards that vision can be assessed