United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday stressed the need for policies that promote inclusive development, adding that only by addressing inequality can countries achieve social justice.
"Growing inequality undermines the international community´s progress in lifting millions out of poverty and building a more just world," Ban said in his message marking the World Day of Social Justice, observed annually on 20 February.
"We must strengthen and build institutions and develop policies that promote inclusive development.
Proclaimed by the General Assembly in 2007, the Day encourages Member States to promote national activities that support efforts to eradicate poverty, promote full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all.
"As we mark World Day of Social Justice, we see far too many places where there are increasing opportunities for a few and only rising inequality for the many," Ban said. "The fault lines are visible in falling wages for women and young people and limited access to education, health services and decent jobs."
Ban called on countries to accelerate their efforts to meet the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which expire in 2015. The eight MDGs set specific targets on poverty alleviation, education, gender equality, child and maternal health, environmental stability, HIV/AIDS reduction, and a ´Global Partnership for Development.´
The Secretary-General also encouraged countries to look beyong the 2015 deadline to define new goals to achieve sustainable development.
"As we seek to build the world we want, let us intensify our efforts to achieve a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable development path built on dialogue, transparency and social justice," he said.