Human rights obligations and inequalities between countries

The issue of inequalities between countries is often conceptualized and measured in terms of GDP. Moreover, the way to reduce these is often implicitly assumed to be convergence upwards through rapid growth. However, although economic growth may be important for many countries (especially LDCs), global convergence with the GDP of the richest countries would be environmentally catastrophic without "decoupling" growth from nature destruction.

In the context of SDG 10, there is an urgent need to look more holistically at power imbalances and inequalities between countries. Even economic power is far broader than just GDP. Trade balance sheets, size of sovereign wealth funds, access to natural resources, sway over trade negotiations and global tax regimes, currency strength, size of national debt; all of these contribute hugely to inequalities between countries. Decision-making in global economic governance is also crucial of course, as represented in SDG target 10.6. But imbalance of decision-making power (and power more generally) goes much further than just voting rights in international institutions. First, there are many regional or exclusive international institutions, such as the OECD or the G20, which have a great deal of power over the global economic environment (more so than some ‘global’ institutions), and where developing countries are de facto not invited to the decision-making table.

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Source: Spotlight Report 2018.