Archive for the ‘Economic Justice’ Category

Engaging in the 2030 Agenda through the lens of Laudato Si’

December 11, 2017

This blog was originally published by Together 2030 as part of their 2-year anniversary series

In September 2015, Pope Francis addressed the UN General Assembly in New York. He explained that the dramatic reality of increasing exclusion, inequality and the ecological crisis had led him to take stock of his responsibility and speak out in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Moments after that, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Earlier that year, Pope Francis had published his latest encyclical “Laudato Si’ – On care for our common home”. Encyclicals are letters written by the Head of the Catholic Church addressed to the Catholic community. They deal with issues that are relevant to the moment and seek to give moral direction. In contrast, Laudato Si’ was addressed to all people, Catholics and non-Catholics. Its publication months earlier was no mere coincidence but the Pope’s attempt to throw his support to the process that led to the 2030 Agenda.

Encyclicals build on the body of Catholic Social Teaching – the doctrine developed by the Catholic Church on matters of social justice. However, Laudato Si’ gives a much fuller treatment of environmental issues, just as the 2030 Agenda does. It questions the current model of development, and invites everybody to engage in a dialogue to re-define progress and to promote development that can benefit all – particularly the poorest and most vulnerable people – while respecting the natural environment. It is a clear call to self-reflection for every person living on this planet.

There are many ways in which the 2030 Agenda and Laudato Si’ complement each other: both tell us to focus on the poorest, most hard-to-reach groups; both address the inequality of wealth and power; both call for an integrated approach to tackling environmental degradation, poverty and inequality, and; both call for deeper participation, dialogue and stronger governance.

But analysing the 2030 Agenda from a Laudato Si’ lens can help us go further and pose questions about assumptions of continued economic growth, technological advances, and lifestyles based on increasing consumption. More importantly, it provides the moral ground to go beyond a “feeding-the-hungry” approach but instead to dig deeper at the structural reasons that allow inequality, discrimination and injustice to continue.

As governments develop SDG implementation plans, we believe that Laudato Si’ strengthens the moral case for transformative policies. Catholic agencies have already been inspired to engage in implementation processes in many countries.  CAFOD will soon be publishing a paper that looks at the intersections between Laudato Si’ and the 2030 Agenda more in detail. We hope that it will be also useful outside of the Catholic Family.

If you’re interested in this publication, please contact Diego Martinez-Schütt at dmartinez@cafod.org.uk

Further resources:

 

New work: Agricultural Transformation

November 23, 2017

Poverty reduction remains a major challenge. The story being told by many governments and donors is that the solution to this challenge is economic growth, fuelled by economic transformation (the movement of labour and capital away from less productive agricultural activities to the more productive manufacturing and services sectors of the economy). Economic history in some way endorses this view: structural change in the economy is the only known permeant route out of poverty.

But the picture isn’t always so rosy. (more…)

Measuring what matters

November 11, 2015

In Laudato Si’ – the Pope calls us to think about what we mean by progress.

Put simply, it is a matter of redefining our notion of progress. A technological and economic development which does not leave in its wake a better world and an integrally higher quality of life cannot be considered progress.” (194)

It has been understood for years that we cannot and should not try to reduce progress or development to economic development. Similarly, it is widely accepted that success cannot just be based on economic indicators, in particular the narrow focus of GDP growth.

The reason in many ways is simple. (more…)

Jobs and Livelihoods: What should we be focussing on?

April 9, 2015

Towards the end of March, the International Development Committee [1] report on ‘Jobs and Livelihoods’ was released. This inquiry looked at DFID‘s economic development strategic framework (EDSF) to determine what impacts it could make on increasing jobs.

The report noted the importance of ‘improving livelihoods’ rather than just focussing on formal sector jobs which, (even where there is success in creating these) may not be accessible to many women and men living in poverty. Most encouragingly, the IDC also focussed on the informal economy (more…)

Inequality matters. The post-2015 agenda must matter too.

November 25, 2014

Next year, governments will come to the end of a long process to agree a new development agenda to replace the MDGs. A key demand from civil society from the earliest days of this process is that the growing problem of global inequalities should be centre stage of this new vision; many governments have joined this call. The MDGs concentrated on averages, so it was easy to hide large and growing gaps. The post-2015 agenda has the opportunity to set that right.

Growing inequalities are a problem because they undermine the very fabric of society. As Pope Francis tweeted, “inequality is the root of social evil.” Inequalities make it more difficult to break the cycles of poverty and exclusion, and move us away from a world of dignity and inclusion. Inequality is not sustainable; exclusion leads to conflict.

The richest 85 people now have the same amount of wealth as half the world's population

The richest 85 people now have the same amount of wealth as half the world’s population

(more…)

Comment on the DCED Proposal of a Business Environment Indicator for the Post-2015 Framework

November 7, 2014

business environment indicator for the post-2015 framework

Should an indicator that measures improvements in national business environments be included in the post-2015 framework? This is a question that the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED) has recently posed. They have proposed 4 options for such an indicator.

The world is currently waiting to see whether the Open Working Group (OWG) proposed set of global goals and targets will be reopened for negotiation. The indicators, on the other hand, should not be agreed through a process of intergovernmental negotiation. Indicators need specific technical expertise and are too complex to become political footballs. The UN Statistical Commission have indicated through their briefing note that they will have a role to play in convening this process, and will include relevant input from member states and other stakeholders.

In this blog I specifically comment on the DCED proposal drawing on CAFOD’s experience and research on what a pro-poor business environment looks like. (more…)

Thinking small about inclusive growth  

September 8, 2014

TS & IGToday I’m posting my fourth and final blog in this inclusive growth mini-series (you can click here for the first, second and third blogs).

Working on economic justice issues here at CAFOD one of my main areas of work is on small businesses: the role that these play in economies and to the lives of the poorest women and men and the support that they need (you can see some of our other small business blogs here). So what’s the connection…? Do small businesses have a role to play in inclusive growth? (more…)

Inclusive Growth – some steps in the right direction

September 1, 2014

Last weeIG steps in the right directionk I emphasised the need for strong definitions when using ‘inclusive growth’ in strategies and work plans. I also highlighted some possible ingredients that should be considered for this.

But once we are clear what it is, what are the steps that we should be taking towards achieving inclusive growth?

Given the diffuse and varied definitions of inclusive growth, it is surprising that there is considerable consensus in the literature on how to achieve or operationalise it. As our working definition highlighted, growth will not automatically be inclusive. Proactive intervention and strategies are needed to ensure wider development outcomes. Briefly, these include 7 aspects: (more…)

Definitions matter

August 26, 2014

Attempting to pin down the (seemingly) secret ingredients of ‘inclusive growth’

IG recipe for success

When it comes to policies and strategies, definitions matter. They provide the boundary lines for what will be tackled. They set the objectives that will determine spending choices. Importantly, they are a vital step towards greater transparency and accountability.

Inclusive Growth is a widely used term. In 2014 the IMF, European Commission and DFID have all used this term in their work plans or strategies and the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals has included it as a part of the post-2015 development agenda.

For such a ubiquitous term, the meaning of inclusive growth is incredibly hard to pinpoint. There are also surprising differences in approach amongst organisations and institutions. At times, the word ‘inclusive’ is inserted before ‘growth’ but the approach looks unexpectedly similar to a standard economic growth package.

(more…)

What’s so inclusive about growth?

August 18, 2014

Inclusive growth

Franklin Roosevelt once said “We are trying to construct a more inclusive society…. We are going to make a country in which no one is left out”.

Fast-forward to 2014 and it would seem that an ‘inclusive society’ is harder to achieve than hoped with US inequality levels soaring.

So back to the question – What’s so inclusive about growth?

Historically? Well as the case of the US shows(along with many other experiences from around the world) nothing really. As the OECD highlights, there are three problems that even the record levels of growth of the 1990s and decade of 2000s failed to tackle: poverty, unemployment and inequality. (more…)