Gates Foundation Report Highlights New Data on Global Inequality

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation yesterday launched its third annual Goalkeepers Data Report, which featured new data showing that while progress on health and development has continued unabated, global inequality remains a major barrier to achieving the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

The report pointed out that even in the worst-off parts of low- and low-middle-income countries, more than 99 percent of communities have seen an improvement in child mortality and schooling.

Yet it noted that despite the progress, persistent gaps in opportunity meant that nearly half a billion people—about one in 15—still do not have access to basic health and education.

According to the report, gaps between countries, districts, and boys and girls proved that the world’s investments in development weren’t reaching everyone.

Using new sub-national data, the report uncovered the vast inequalities within countries that were masked by averages.

“As we write, billions of people are projected to miss the targets that we all agreed represent a decent life,” Bill and Melinda Gates wrote in the report, “Examining Inequality 2019,” which they co-authored.

They added: “We believe that seeing where the world is succeeding will inspire leaders to do more, and seeing where the world is falling short will focus their attention.”

To address persistent inequality, Bill and Melinda Gates called for a new approach to development, targeting the poorest people in the countries and districts that need to make up the most ground. Governments should prioritize primary health care to deliver a health system that works for the poorest, digital governance to ensure that governments are responsive to their least-empowered citizens, and more support for farmers to help them adapt to climate change’s worst effects.

“Bill and Melinda Gates will produce a Goalkeepers Data Report every year through 2030, timing it to the annual gathering of world leaders in New York City for the U.N. General Assembly,” it added.

The report was designed to track progress in achieving the Global Goals, highlighting examples of success, and inspire leaders around the world to accelerate their efforts.