The IMEDD reports on the SDSN U.S.A’s panel on how to reduce inequalities using the Sustainable Development Goals


On May 5th, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network U.S.A held a panel to mark the launch of “In the Red: the US Failure to Deliver on a Promise of Racial Equality”.
As an international research institute specialized in sustainable development and the UNSDG’s implementation, the IMEDD participated in this event to assess the American situation and inform the United Nations, the U.S Governement and its allies (Monaco, France, Italy and the European Commission) on how the U.S addresses this issue of inequality in the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The SDSN USA is a network of universities and research institutions across the United States committed to Sustainable Development.
The network endeavors to build pathways to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement in the United States by mobilizing research, outreach, and collective action.

Carolina Fox of the SDSN USA introduced the panel and presented the programme.

Jeffrey Sachs, special consultant to the U.N Secretariat, presented the commitments of the UNSDG as a new form to support and reinforce the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
One of the 17th goals of the UNSDG is the 10th target: reduce inequalities.
The point 10.2 mentions that by “2030, the countries need to empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status”.
It is therefore important to assess the advancements of the U.S and each state in the same framework.

Alainna Lynch, Senior Research Manager at the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) presented the results of the research the US Failure to Deliver on a Promise of Racial Equality. The report shows that there are huge differences in terms of development depending on ethnical groups among the states.

The graph below shows the achievements of each state regarding each SDG.
Globally, the U.S needs to be much more efficient to address the UNSDG and especially the Point 10 – reduce inequalities.
The global goal is to see this SDG dashboard of the U.S become all green in the upcoming years.

The map below show the repartition of implementation of measures across the United States depending on race, which underlines huge differences and a need to reinforce equality for the well-being of the entire nation.

Finally, the maps below show the inequalities when measured depending on ethnical groups and there is a a big disparity among the states.

The whole report presented by Alainna Lynch is available here:

Website: In the Red: the US Failure to Deliver on a Promise of Racial Equality (

Wayne Frederick, President at Howard University, recalls the importance of building an equal society considering all ethnical groups.

Helen Bond, Associate Professor at Howard University, presented the panelists:

  • Judith Aidoo-Saltus, CEO of Caswell Capital Partners, LLC
  • Michael McAfee, President and CEO of PolicyLink
  • Gerald Torres, Professor of Environmental Justice and Professor of Law at Yale.

Judith Aidoo-Saltus, CEO of Caswell Capital Partners, LLC underlines that it is especially important to study the role of the UNSDG in the U.S.A.
A dollar can be invested anywhere but it has to be done with wisdom. The method used by Judith is to maximize the use of a dollar and know what works. As a social investor, the interest needs to be focused on how we maximize the impact of a dollar (example in schools) and ensure the success of the people’s future, so they create value and wealth. Judith explains that it is also important to focus on the issue of ethnical groups because it is shown that some people do not have access to a good education, her goal being to address her actions in the poorest and more excluded parts of the U.S and Africa.
How to address a dollar to a good project? Judith thinks that we need a big discipline (finding trends) to help people and focus on sustainable projects that will bring a high value in terms of number of people. We don’t give a dollar; we invest it on the right people for a good outcome.
Focusing on children and the youth projects is maybe one of the most important issues to reduce child’s poverty.

Dr. Michael McAfee, President and CEO of PolicyLink specifies that public money needs to be reallocated and he underlines the importance of getting a real outcome with the projects. The guideline would be to address the human values. It is the right choice to make for the future of America. One in three people in the U.S are economically insecure. We need to re-imagine the system (laws, customs, institutions) and it needs to be taken as an invitation by all Americans. The method is to act global thinking that improving the environmental issues (water, energy, transport…) will help solve the social issues. Michael explains that charity organizations have their limits and that they will not reach the goals, even though they help. So, investing on human value must be implemented everywhere in the laws, customs, institutions.

Gerald Torres, Professor of Environmental Justice and Professor of Law at Yale, explains that racial issues must be more considered in the political decisions. The SDG push in the direction of analyzing the metrics. The U.S is a multi-cultural nation, and the challenge is to reform the institutions, so they directly respond to the needs of all ethnical groups. Unfortunately, some situations have negative impacts on certain communities. As an example, the transportation issue is a problem for certain kinds of people because there is a lack of public transport and the people do not have access to an individual car, which can cause problems to get health care services. Another example is to secure the transportation for children. The UNSDG help see the issues at global, understanding that some environmental issues cause social issues. To meet the challenges, they need to be clearly identified, as shown in the report presented by the SDSN concerning the difficulties of the different ethnical groups. The U.S is confronted to a new reality and it must respond to the needs of all Americans.

Question for the panelists: What policies could serve to reduce inequalities in the U.S?

  • Reinforce the SDG global governmental approach on environmental justice.
  • Assessing with measurable facts how the poorest people are helped and how the policies are delivered by the government.
  • Using the SDG to transform the government and the way policies are addressed.
  • Using race and ethnical groups data as an assessment of the public policies.
  • Adopting the SDG as a development guideline for the policies of the U.S.
  • Address the programme for social justice and equity.

For comments, suggestions, or questions about the Diversity, Equity, and Justice for Sustainability Working Group or SDSN USA’s other priorities:

In conclusion of this panel, the IMEDD underlines the following facts about the U.S initiative to reduce inequalities…

  • the report presented by the SDSN U.S.A presents a very good method of assessment of the SDG and underlines the priorities to reduce inequalities in each state and at global in the U.S.
  • the panelists are American Leading voices for equality and also for the entire world. They showed a great commitment and enthusiasm to share their experiences and underlined how the SDG provide a good institutional framework to drive change in terms of policies for a better future and a better integration of ethnical groups accross the nation.
  • this approach to reduce inequalities is a tool that brings together the three pillars of sustainable development showing that the environmental issues can have an impact on people’s lives. Good and useful public and private investments can help tackle inequalities.
  • Reducing inequalities must be considered regarding two factors: gender and ethnical groups, ensuring the integration of all in the Society, maybe even by supporting in priority the women of ethnical groups.
  • the U.S method to assess the SDG by ethnical groups is very interesting and should be duplicated in other countries with multicultural populations, so they could better adapt their responses in terms of SDG to reduce inequalities.

For any other questions, you may contact the IMEDD at