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Gates Foundation Report Spotlights New Data on Global Inequality, Calls to Prioritize Those Being Left Behind

New Sub-national Data Shows Surprising and Significant Progress, but Huge Gaps Remain, Driven by Gender and Geography

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
206-709-3400

SEATTLE, September 17, 2019 – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today launched its third annual Goalkeepers Data Report, which features new data showing that while progress on health and development continues unabated, global inequality remains a major barrier to achieving the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals).

Even in the worst-off parts of low- and low-middle-income countries, more than 99 percent of communities have seen an improvement in child mortality and schooling. Yet despite this progress, persistent gaps in opportunity mean that nearly half a billion people—about one in 15—still do not have access to basic health and education.

Gaps between countries, districts, and boys and girls prove that the world’s investments in development aren’t reaching everyone. Using new sub-national data, the report uncovers the vast inequalities within countries that are masked by averages.

Where you’re born is still the biggest predictor of your future, and no matter where you’re born, life is harder if you’re a girl. Despite gains in female educational attainment, opportunities for girls are limited by social norms, discriminatory laws and policies, and gender-based violence.

“As we write, billions of people are projected to miss the targets that we all agreed represent a decent life,” Bill and Melinda Gates write in the Goalkeepers Data Report, “Examining Inequality 2019,” which they co-authored. “We believe that seeing where the world is succeeding will inspire leaders to do more, and seeing where the world is falling short will focus their attention.”

To address persistent inequality, Bill and Melinda Gates are calling for a new approach to development, targeting the poorest people in the countries and districts that need to make up the most ground. Governments should prioritize primary health care to deliver a health system that works for the poorest, digital governance to ensure that governments are responsive to their least-empowered citizens, and more support for farmers to help them adapt to climate change’s worst effects.

Bill and Melinda Gates will produce a Goalkeepers Data Report every year through 2030, timing it to the annual gathering of world leaders in New York City for the U.N. General Assembly. The report is designed to track progress in achieving the Global Goals, highlight examples of success, and inspire leaders around the world to accelerate their efforts. The goal is to identify both what’s working and where we’re falling short.

As in past years, in conjunction with the report, Bill and Melinda Gates will co-host the third annual Goalkeepers Event in New York City during the U.N. General Assembly, convening global leaders to celebrate progress in global health and development and highlight the critical importance of closing the global inequality gap to achieve the Global Goals.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

About Goalkeepers

Goalkeepers is the foundation's campaign to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals). By sharing stories and data behind the Global Goals through events and an annual report, we hope to inspire a new generation of leaders—Goalkeepers who raise awareness of progress, hold their leaders accountable, and drive action to achieve the Global Goals.

About the Global Goals

On September 25, 2015, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, 193 world leaders committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals). These are a series of ambitious objectives and targets to achieve three extraordinary things by 2030: end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change.

Media Contact: media@gatesfoundation.org
Report Link: https://www.gatesfoundation.org/goalkeepers/report/2019-report/

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