Closing the Inequality Gap: NIDOS Annual Conference & AGM
On 9th November 2015, the Network of International Development Organisations in Scotland (NIDOS), together with its event partners, the University of the West of Scotland, Oxfam Scotland, IDEAS, SCIAF, the Scotland Malawi Partnership and the Poverty Alliance, hosted its Annual Conference, Closing the Inequality Gap: in Scotland and around the globe – a conference examining the impact of inequality in Scotland and around the world.
Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, spoke at the event, which brought together international development and domestic poverty organisations in Glasgow, to discuss the impacts of inequality and how to reduce it.
Annie Lewis, chair of NIDOS said: “To overcome poverty and create a just society for everyone, we need to challenge the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few. Globally, the combined wealth of the richest 1% of people in the world is greater than the remaining 99%. The conference offered us the space to examine the impact of inequality at home and abroad, how communities are addressing their own challenges and to discuss how Scotland can do more, while also protecting the environment.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Tackling poverty and inequality in Scotland is one of this Government’s central aims for one simple reason: our success as a nation depends upon our working together to deliver a strong economy whilst supporting a fairer society. We are committed to removing the barriers that stand in the way of individuals realising their full potential.
“As much as we strive to create a fairer Scotland, we must realise that inequality and poverty is not restricted to our borders – it is a global issue that needs a global response. I’ve previously announced that Scotland will become one of the first countries in the world to sign up to the new Sustainable Development Goals, to tackle poverty and inequality and promote sustainable development across the globe.
“The new goals apply to rich and poor countries alike. That is why the NIDOS conference will bring together people from all over the world working to join together to discuss how to tackle the global problem of inequality and poverty, and allow us to learn from each other and share best practice.”
Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland said: “Oxfam won’t live with poverty in Scotland, but we cannot end it here at the expense of people overseas or at the cost of harming our planet. That’s why it was so vital for this conference, and ongoing policy conversations, to recognise the deep interplay between poverty and inequality, both in Scotland and around the world.”
Professor Chik Collins, Professor of Applied Social Science at University of the West of Scotland, who also helps co-ordinate the UWS-Oxfam Partnership said: “The inequality gap in Scotland has been widening, as evidenced by the proliferation of food banks and the consternation about changes to tax credits. We have tried, and failed, to address the gap in Scotland previously, and we were able to use the conference as an opportunity to think about how we learn from that experience.”
Peter Kelly, director of The Poverty Alliance said: “The significant gap between rich and poor is one of the key social and economic problems we face in Scotland. Not only is it bad for people living on low incomes, but it is bad for our society as a whole. It means wasted opportunities and resources and ensures Scotland as a whole does not reach its potential. Of course, many of the things that drive inequality here are the same throughout the world.”