Societies under Pressure: Human Rights and Inclusive Participation

Sub-Plenary Session 2
October 7, 09:45 – 11:15, Venue: Neue Mälzerei/Plenarsaal

Key speakers

Mohamed Ashmawey, Chief Executive Officer, Islamic Relief Worldwide

Marion Lieser, Head of Oxfam Germany

Claudia Mahler, German Institute for Human Rights

Elke Siehl, Director of Corporate Development Unit, GIZ


Jörn Grävingholt, German Development Institute (DIE)

While inequality between states is decreasing, more and more societies face growing inequalities within the countries they are living in. According to latest figures , the richest 1% of the global population owns 48% of the global wealth while 52% is owned by 99%. Inequality is not only represented by income or GDP, it is closely connected to limited opportunities for certain people. Horizontal inequality which describes inequality between groups because of their gender, race, ethnicity, disability or religious orientation, is getting more and more attention as it fuels instability and conflict.
Societies face pressing international challenges such as globalization, economic crises and religious conflicts. In this context civil society organizations often realize that the space available for participation, social engagement and open dialogue is shrinking and political, socio-economic and cultural human rights around the world are being violated.
Democracy is on the wane in many countries throughout the world, leading to increased discrimination against disadvantaged population groups and giving rise to more conflicts. The tide of protest against growing social inequality has surged globally and continues unabated, accompanied by demands for more participation and better living conditions. Participation and inclusiveness should be at the center of supporting cohesive societies, in particular the support of democratic processes, decision making and distribution of power.

Guiding questions for the panel discussion

Political level

On a political level, what is needed to reduce the income gap between rich and poor in developing countries as well as emerging economies? How can issues of inequality be tackled in a more comprehensive and cross-sectoral way?

How can inclusive participation be guaranteed in a world that is getting more complex and is increasingly faced with international challenges?

Does it need a fresh impetus to effectively integrate local, national, regional and global initiatives to better protect human rights and foster inclusion?

New Partnerships

What new forms of participation and dialogue between state and society can be identified? Which actors must be involved and how? What alliances do we need to reduce risks and drive sustainable development (especially under the consideration of emerging economies)?

How do we build inclusive and legitimate political institutions at local, national and international level that are able to engage in dialogue with citizens? What role can civil society play?

International/Development Cooperation

How can international Cooperation support the inclusiveness of policy?

What new tasks are on the horizon for cooperation? How can GIZ support partnership-based actions between industrialized nations, emerging economies and developing countries?

How can international cooperation help eliminate legal and/or socio-economic discrimination against certain population groups? How can we secure equal rights of participation, particularly for women and other vulnerable groups?

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