Aidex Voices

This year’s AidEx conference taking place at Brussels Expo across 13 and 14 November 2019 will analyse the importance of inclusiveness to global progress and investigate whether the international aid sector is doing enough on the issue.

There is no questioning the significant progress that has been made in many regions around the world, notably in East and Southeast Asia. Remarkably, global poverty rates have been cut by over half since the millennium.

And yet significant disparities remain. One in ten people in low and middle-income regions still live below the poverty line, 42% of whom reside in Sub-Saharan Africa with those most susceptible found in conflict-affected countries.    

Positively, there is a growing recognition that exclusion drives poverty, and acceptance that we can only achieve the Sustainable Development Goals or eradicate global poverty and hunger with an all-inclusive approach to every aspect of our work.

In order to meet the ambitious agenda of the SDGs, we need visionary policies for inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth. Strategies to push forward total inclusion must be powered with an honest drive and fundamental understanding that only when all of us can participate and engage equally in society can true progress be made.

This is why inclusion is just as much a matter of empowerment. Change requires leadership and collective effort at every level, crucially from those who such change will directly impact. Which is why we must value all stakeholders and their contributions addressing development issues, by ensuring marginalised communities have every opportunity to be actively involved in the planning, execution and monitoring of development programmes.

At our satellite event in Kenya, AidEx Nairobi 2019, the willingness from various actors from across the field to become meaningfully inclusive and shift away from tokenism was unequivocal.

We reiterate the phrase leave no one behind so often, but how can we move beyond rhetoric to sustained action to ensure no one really is neglected?

Embracing our shared responsibility to deliver on promises, setting minimum standards with zero tolerance policies and harnessing new partnerships and coalitions across diverse multilateral and bilateral donors will enable the institutional shifts we need in order to achieve systematic inclusion.

With 80% of people with disabilities living in developing countries, stigma, discrimination and abuse inhibits their integration, despite many often being fully capable of working and positively contributing to society.

Inclusive education is the key to empowering civil participation, employment and community life for people with disabilities. Respect and understanding grows when students of diverse abilities and backgrounds play, socialise and learn together.

The key to ensuring healthcare can be delivered to some of the hardest to reach relies on accurate data mapping and innovative minds collaborating to find solutions in complicated contexts. Guaranteeing digital technology can be available, affordable and accessible for all to enhance connectivity and learning possibilities for the most disconnected, requires user-centred designs.

The evidence is growing stronger that improving everyone in society’s skills, health, resilience and knowledge improves productivity and innovation. Which is why cohesive models between civil society, governments and private sector actors aspiring to invest in people today is how we work towards a sustainable future.

Register to attend AidEx for free here >>