Left Behind by the G20? How inequality and environmental degradation threaten to exclude poor people from the benefits of economic growth

Publication date

19 Jan 2012

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The G20 is committed to supporting equitable and sustainable growth. But new data shows that a lot needs to change if they are to live up to this pledge. The stakes are high: analysis in this paper suggests that without attention to growing inequality, strong growth is unlikely to be enough to prevent poverty increasing in some G20 countries over the next decade. Income inequality is growing in almost all G20 members, while it is falling in many low- and lower middle-income countries. Meanwhile, environmentally unsustainable economic expansion is driving dangerous climate change, and depleting the natural resources upon which poor people depend most for their livelihoods. Without action, inequality will render the benefits of growth inaccessible to the poor, even as they bear the costs of this expansion through the impacts of a changing climate and environmental degradation. It's time for the G20 to practice what it preaches.