Former World Trade Organisation (WTO) director general Pascal Lamy has said the issue of inequality is more domestic rather than an international one.
“The issue of inequality that leads to social tensions in many countries has been mostly domestic in my view. And addressing inequalities needs to take place where community solidarity is felt and this is normally at national level,” he remarked.
He was delivering a public lecture on ‘Knowledge to Share, Planet to Care’ at a restaurant in the capital on Saturday, organised by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).
With the assertion, he, however, said he did not mean that the international community has nothing to do with the issue. “This is a local issue. So, it needs a local solution.”
The way to address them is policy and policy instrument i.e. putting in place policies regarding education, health, housing, distribution and taxation in a way so that inqualities from the society are removed.
According to him, inequalities and environmental degradation are the main problems the world is now facing.
Unlike the issue of inequality, environmental degradation issue should be addressed globally as working alone on it won’t pay off, he said.
Issues linked to oceans, climate change and migration should draw global attention and the world should find a collective solution to them, according to Lamy.
He observed that in present world economics is doing better than politics - a paradox where welfare economic development lowered political tensions.
The most important issue to be addressed collectively is sharing knowledge, which according to him, will lead the world to further development in the coming days.
Replying to a question on whether an influential country’s withdrawal from commitments of climate change, he said he was “worried but not that much worried” about the issue as there are diverse actors behind climate change issues.
He further said climate change issue is a collective issue where the governments have little to do.
About a $5 Bangladeshi garment selling at $25 in retail shops in the western world, Lamy said there should not be any regulation from the WTO and the market should play its role in this case.
If found any market manipulation signs, a regulatory framework may be put in place to resolve the price problem, he said, adding that Bangladesh should enhance its competitiveness to find a solution to the problem.
Lamy is now a special envoy of the French governemnt after serving WTO as its director general for two times since September 2005 to September 2013.
He was in Dhaka on a two-day visit to gain support of Bangladesh government for France as a contender of ‘World Expo 2025’ host. Other contending countries are Russia, Japan and Azerbaijan.
CPD’s trustee board chairman Prof Rehman Sobhan, distinguished fellow Prof Mustafizur Rahman and executive director Dr Fahmida Khatun were also present at the event.