Reasons for a panel on poverty and inequality

By Isabel Araqui Martínez (CCOO), Santiago González Vallejo (USO) and Antonio López Alonso (UGT)

The Spanish Alliance against Poverty (Alianza Española contra la Pobreza), a platform of civil society organisations bringing together over a thousand development cooperation, social, religious and trade union organisations, including the CCOO, UGT and USO, has launched a proposal addressed to all international actors with a view to establishing a Panel with a dual purpose: to examine the causes of poverty and inequality, and to draw up policy proposals to promote effective measures to combat these scourges.

Whilst we recognise that the setting of the Millennium Development Goals and a date for reaching them contributed to the implementation of strategies to improve assistance and its coordination, etc., the limitations in quantitative terms, the disperse nature of the policies and their separation from general policies, beyond development cooperation, and the lack of integration with financial, fiscal, trade and social protection floor policies, have led to a limited outcome. To avoid a repeat of the same scenario and the same shortfalls with the Post-2015 goals, we consider that a panel, with the abovementioned characteristics, needs to be set up within the framework of the United Nations, perhaps ECOSOC ECOSOC The United Nations Economic and Social Council coordinates the economic and social work of 14 UN specialised agencies. It serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to member states and the United Nations system. .

There is a precedent: the Panel on Climate Change. This panel was born out of the need to bring together the ’academe’, which legitimises the scientific options, and the political leaders that have or should have democratic legitimacy. Civil society representation, with its contributions, is also included in our proposal. The resulting complexity and interests would not, of course, be inconsequential. But it would imply an essential quality: that there would be practical, operational outcomes to the debate and monitoring of the results. Indicators would be established alongside the Post-2015 targets or goals and there would be politically-approved operational policies, with public monitoring of their implementation.

There are already reports from the United Nations itself calling for the need to assess and monitor policies. This would be the mission of the Panel that is being proposed by the Spanish Alliance against Poverty to all the organisations and actors concerned, including the international trade union movement. We are calling for support for this proposal and its promotion, to convince as many governments as possible to genuinely commit to fighting poverty and reducing inequality, in the knowledge that the results will be monitored.

We, the Spanish trade unions within this Alliance, consider that this Panel, with the profile and mission outlined, would advance one of the international trade union movement’s ongoing demands: the fulfilment and assessment of the policies aimed at implementing, among others, decent work and social protection floors as parameters in the fight against poverty and inequality reduction.