Special event: The Threat of Growing Inequalities

Roundtable discussion with the theme of ending inequality

On the occasion of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Joseph Stiglitz delivered a provocative  keynote address on “The Threat of Growing Inequalities” to a capacity audience in the ECOSOC Chamber at United Nations Headquarters.

Joining Nobel Laureate, Joseph Stiglitz for the discussion was an all star line up of intellectuals and world leaders including Professor Riccardo Viale, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute; Michael Doyle, Professor of US, Foreign and Security Policy Columbia University; Fabrizio Barca, the Director General of the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance; Jose Antonio Ocampo, Chair of the UN Committee on Development Policy; Irene Kahn, Director General of International Development Law Organization; and Eliot Harris, Director of the United Nations Environment Programme.

The panelists were able to map out some of the most pernicious reasons for the massive gulf between the rich and the poor. Professor Stiglitz noted that the growing inequality gap is not simply a result of economic forces and pointed to political and policy based causes and solutions. He called for the addition of another goal in the post 2015 agenda that will tackle inequality.

Co-chairs of the open working group on the sustainable development goals, Ambassador Macharia Kamau of Kenya and Ambassador Ksaba Korosi of Hungary participated in the rich discussion.

Martin Sajdic, Ambassador of Austria and President of ECOSOC were also in attendance to support and engage in the discussion.

Amina Mohammed, the Secretary General’s Special Advisor on the Post-2015 development agenda participated and noted that political will is crucial to getting the SDGs off the ground.

The discussion was organized by the Mission of Italy in cooperation with the Italian Institute of Culture and the International Development Law Organization and the UN Department of Public Information.

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Roundtable discussion with the theme of ending inequality Roundtable discussion with the theme of ending inequality

Stark reality of maternal mortality shown on NBC’s Revolution

A surgical team performs a c-section during a power cut in Abobo Sud Hospital in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, April 18, 2011. A week after the end of the military standoff in Abidjan, very few hospitals are open. During the height of fighting, people were stuck in their homes for up to a month without access to health care.

The post-apocalyptic hit NBC series Revolution takes place 15 years after the lights have gone out around the world. The global blackout has plunged the US into warring factions and a primitive existence.

This guest post written by Whitney Showler, who heads Music for Relief, the non-profit established by Sustainable Energy for All supporter Linkin Park, touches on some of the issues covered in this week’s episode.

Although we may consider childbirth routine, without electricity it can be very dangerous. Women give birth at night in near darkness, cesarean sections are cancelled or conducted by flashlight, and critically ill mothers or babies wait hours or days for life-saving procedures.  The outcomes can be tragic.

In Africa, pregnancy and childbirth complications result in hundreds of maternal deaths every day, including within the country of Uganda.  Ugandan clinics often don’t have reliable electricity for lighting and medical equipment.  Power the World, a philanthropic initiative of rock band Linkin Park and Music for Relief, is funding WE CARE Solar Suitcases for Ugandan clinics.  The Solar Suitcase is a portable solar energy system that improves maternal and child health outcomes by providing reliable light and power.


The Power the World Solar Suitcase initiative is helping thousands of women around the world who face the same dangers as the woman in Munroe’s flashback on the Revolution episode “Dead Man Walking” who went through labor in a tent with none of the modern amenities afforded by electricity.

With the Solar Suitcase, health providers can see at night for routine deliveries and surgical procedures, and can promptly diagnose and treat birth complications.  If you would like to help send a WE CARE Solar Suitcase to light up childbirth in Africa, click here to support Power the World.