This event has now concluded.
By enabling all persons to realize their full potential, racial equity enhances benefits for society as a whole and aids in the attainment of the World Bank’s development objectives.
In this closing keynote session, high-level panelists covered specific lessons-learnt from Costa Rica, Singapore, Mexico, and the United States, and examined how laws, policies, and targeted programs can best address issues of racial inequity, poverty eradication, and intersectionality in key areas such as health, economic empowerment, and education. The First Vice-President of Costa Rica opened by stressing that strong democracies in Latin America and beyond cannot be achieved without racial justice and the interlinkages between race and poverty are absolutely conspicuous. She further underscored the importance of ethnic and racial statistics, differentiation in policies, and quotas in labor markets and education to foster racial equity. The Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law of Singapore shared the country’s continuous approach towards ensuring racial harmony and fostering social inclusion through legislation, policies and ground actions, including the taking of further steps to strengthen racial harmony and address feelings of racial inequality. This included a forthcoming Maintenance of Racial Harmony Act.
President of the First Chamber of the Mexican National Supreme Court of Justice stressed that the voices of indigenous people cannot be omitted from the conversation. Accordingly, it is pivotal to consider indigenous people’s voices in national laws and policies, particularly in those that are more likely to affect indigenous people. Prof. Randall Kennedy added that when everyone is given an opportunity, we all do better. Whilst if certain groups are denied opportunities because of their racial background, a disadvantage is created for society as a whole. It is essential to capture and cultivate all human talent and one of the ways to do so is to create laws and habits that undergird racial justice.
This session also addressed the World Bank Group’s commitment to advancing racial equity globally and examined what racial equity efforts could mean for World Bank Group projects and operations. In closing, Senior Vice President and World Bank Group General Counsel Sandie Okoro announced the public launch of the World Bank’s Anti-Racist Charter, published in eight different languages. The Charter sets out the World Bank’s zero-tolerance towards racism and its overall stance on how to tackle this insidious and pervasive phenomenon.
- The fight against racism is not a sprint but a marathon. Meaningful change cannot be made overnight.
- Laws and policies alone will not lead to racial harmony and social cohesion. People need to genuinely believe in, and accept, multi-racialism and multiculturalism.
- Advancement of racial equity requires not only the implementation of guardrails restricting discriminatory actions but also the implementation of proactive policies to build social consensus.
- Advancement of racial equity plays a fundamental role in achieving the World Bank’s objectives of combatting extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity.
- It is not enough for the World Bank to be a non-racist organization, it must be an anti-racist organization not only within its institutional affairs but also within its operations, so as to be mindful that its projects do not invertedly create any form of racial inequity.