2022 RAUN Theme
A common approach to leaving no one behind: how to reduce inequalities through innovation
In 2015, 62 of the world's wealthiest people possessed as much as the poorest half of the world's population (UNGC 2022). On a global scale, this inequality has been increasing, and substantial gaps in access to basic services including education, healthcare, and sanitation persist. Vulnerable groups, such as migrants, women, children, individuals with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, and indigenous peoples are all disproportionately affected by such discrepancies.
Sustainable Development Goal 10 aims to reduce different types of inequalities, income and wealth disparities, as well as those based on sex, age, disability, colour, class, ethnicity, religion, and opportunity within and between countries. Tackling these persisting inequalities is not only essential to foster economic and social development, to reduce poverty and to decrease crime, but it also strengthens people’s feeling of self-worth, decreases sickness and reduces environmental deterioration. Gender, the place of residence, socioeconomic status, ethnicity and race increasingly shape the opportunities and chances people experience in their life. The current pandemic continues to have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable groups, while these experience higher levels of discrimination already, reinforcing existing disparities and polarisation within societies.
Innovation, as an engine of economic development, provides new possibilities in education, health care, communication and productivity. With increasing access for many, innovation has the potential to reduce these deep-rooted inequalities and offer better lives for vulnerable groups. These include the provision of high quality education, innovation in health or better jobs. Through technological progress the possibility of participation and inclusion of marginalized groups can be strengthened. Increased access can foster international cooperation through better communication, improve access to science and technology, resulting in increased knowledge sharing necessary to flatten existing inequalities.
In 2022, in the third year of a global pandemic, the world is facing pertinent challenges threatening the sustainability of previous achievements and peace. Addressing these deeply persisting inequalities will require innovation across actors, regions and sectors. The 2022 Regional Academy on the United Nations (RAUN 2022) will contribute to this timely conversation by engaging young academics in researching the role of innovation in reducing inequalities for creating a sustainable and peaceful future for all. A focus will be placed on different aspects of inequalities and innovation, including challenges that can hinder the access to innovation and on different types of inequalities including social, economic and environmental aspects. RAUN 2022 will seek to answer the following questions:
- What are the areas where innovation can help to reduce existing inequalities?
- Which types of inequalities can be reduced through innovation?
- How can health, social, environmental and economic inequalities be addressed?
- How can inclusiveness and participation be ensured through innovation?
- How can barriers to innovation be overcome and inequalities reduced?
Taking a holistic perspective, RAUN 2022 will consider the potential of innovation to reduce inequalities from multiple perspectives in different domains and among various actors. These also include questions related to the comprehensive inclusion of vulnerable groups, dialogue facilitation, and the role of broader access to innovation. The RAUN 2022 researchers will contribute to the global discussions on how to enhance innovation to reduce inequalities and provide evidence and best practice cases that can inform policy and help address some of the key challenges faced today.
References and further reading
United Nations Global Compact: Inequality.
United Nations Statistics Division (2016): Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries.
United Nations (2018) : Reduced Inequalities: Why it matters?
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2020) World Social Report 2020.