Social inclusion has catapulted to become one of the most challenging and urgent agendas for both OECD and non-OECD countries. It is intrinsic to the “Leave No One Behind” philosophy that underpins the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Japan has made huge strides in advancing social inclusion. From an impressive reduction of poverty to provision of basic services for all, to care and attention for the needs of the elderly and persons with disabilities and ensuring that post-disaster programs benefit all, Japan can show many other countries, a way forward. City governments have been at the forefront of actions towards social inclusion, and policy and program innovations at the city and prefecture level abound in Japan and show the remarkable diversity of the country. These innovations have tread a fine balance between state-of-the-art responses and being in tune with the culture and values of the country and context. Yet, Japan is committed to doing more in this area, including by providing support to other countries. At the city level, similarly, mayors are committed to identifying local and regional social issues and to addressing them through mix of local, national and international expertise.
Like Japan, the World Bank’s Platform on Social Inclusion, is also committed to enhancing social inclusion for all its client countries. Rooted in the twin goals of the World Bank Group (WBG) – that of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity –the Platform includes a mix of activities that range from research, to technical assistance and financing projects. It also has a strong network of practitioners affiliated to it, both internally, within the WBG, as well as externally. Its objectives resonate with the philosophy of the SDGs and with specific goals and targets therein.
The World Bank Group defines social inclusion as:
- The process of improving the terms for individuals and groups to take part in society, and more specifically as,
- The process of improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of those disadvantaged on the basis of their identity to take part in society.
The WBG flagship report Inclusion Matters: The Foundation for Shared Prosperity argues that social inclusion can be planned and achieved. The WBG moreover acknowledges that while social inclusion is a moral imperative, there can be serious costs to not addressing it front and center.
About Urban 20 (U20):
Urban 20 (U20) is a city diplomacy initiative launched on December 12, 2017. It seeks to highlight the expertise of cities in addressing a range of global development challenges and to develop a joint position and collective messages to inform and enrich the discussions of national leaders at the G20 Summit through unique urban perspectives.