Indeed, inequality is pressing all of us through its various manifestations and sustainable development will never be realized if the widening inequality cannot be resolved. Social equity, as one of the focuses of the post-2015 development agenda besides economic growth and environment sustainability, is highly instrumental in tackling the increasing problem of inequality.
The manifestation of inequality is often measured through a selected number of social and economic indicators that show the glaring gap between different groups within society. The crude measurements, however, still use income per capita between different economic classes within a country or the average income per capita between countries.
Inequality is apparently increasing between economic classes as well as between regions in Indonesia, in which Java has consistently shown higher social and economic conditions compared to the rest of the country, especially with the eastern parts. At the global level, as The Economist (2012) based on various sources, has also indicated the alarming growing inequality internationally.
The issue of social equity is therefore critical for the overall goals of the post-2015 development agenda as increasing inequality no doubt threatens economic growth as well as environmental sustainability, both in Indonesia and in the world. Population dynamics concerning migration or human movement is perhaps the most crucial component that is strongly interconnected with the spatial dimension of social equity.
As the case of Indonesia has shown, the relocation of people to urban areas in Java and to other economic hubs on other islands reflects the uneven development between regions as well as inequality between migrants and local populations.
Rapid urbanization has resulted in the increasing concentration of people in the areas around Jakarta, Semarang, Bandung and Surabaya, all of which are located in Java. The glaring disparity between the haves and the haves not in the cities is also an alarming sign as social tensions and conflict can easily break out at some point.
The large proportion of young people not adequately accommodated in the labor markets is also another issue on how population age structure is closely related with social, economic and political developments.
The recently published 2012 Failed States Index illustrates that incompetence in managing a growing population significantly contributes to the condition of a failed state.
At the global level, the situation concerning population dynamics and social equity is unfortunately far from promising. International migration could be seen as one of the aspects making the inequality gap between rich industrialized countries and poor developing countries lean toward more protectionism on the part of rich countries when it comes to immigration. In the last 10 years or so, international migration has been perceived not only as an issue of economic development but also of becoming more political and securitized.
Unless a progressive effort to reduce the barriers to human mobility between countries is removed, which is unlikely, the social equity issue as aspired to in the post-2015 development agenda currently under discussion in Bali will most likely be the main stumbling block to making the world more equally prosperous and peaceful.