UNDP Human Development Report: Money isn’t everything

UNDP Human Development Report pushes the frontiers of development thinking


Economic growth is important, but not as important as giving people a chance at a longer, healthier and more productive life. This is one of the significant statements from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the 2010 Human Development Report recently released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The 2010 UNDP Report, which is titled “The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development”, confirms that purely economic measures of national achievement are insufficient in tracking progress in health, education and overall living standards. The Report shows that there is no consistent correlation between national economic performance and achievement in non-income HDI areas, such as health and education.

“The Human Development Reports have changed the way we see the world,” Ban Ki-moon said, summing up the significant extent to which the 2010 Report has pushed the frontiers of development thinking. The Human Development Reports are commissioned annually by the UNDP, since 1990.

To highlight the findings of the UNDP 2010 Human Development Report and review landmark findings, trends and progress for the past twenty years, The University of the West Indies (UWI) Institute of International Relations (IIR) will host a launch of the 2010 Human Development Report from 10 a.m. to 12 noon on November 22nd in IIR Board Room, UWI St Augustine Campus. The launch is free of charge and open to the general public.

Expected to deliver presentations at the launch are Mary King, Minister of Planning, Economic and Social Restructuring and Gender Affairs; Dr. Marcia De Castro, UN System Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative; and Mr. Edo Stork, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP.

One highlight of the launch will be the presentations by Dr. Anthony Harriot, Lead Author, Caribbean Human Development Report and Dr. Randy Seepersad, National Author (Trinidad and Tobago) for the Caribbean Human Development Report 2010. Entitled “Achieving Human Development by Enhancing Citizen Security in the Caribbean”, the Caribbean Human Development Report will also be launched at the event on Monday.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, life expectancy climbed from 60 to 74 years since 1970, and school enrolment rose from 52 per cent 40 years ago to 83 per cent today—with several countries now approaching nearly full enrolment. At the same time, nine of the fifteen countries with the largest Human Development Index (HDI) losses in the world from income inequality are in this region.

Most developing countries made dramatic yet often underestimated progress in health, education and basic living standards in recent decades, with many of the poorest countries posting the greatest gains, reveals a detailed new analysis of long-term Human Development Index (HDI) trends in the 2010 Human Development Report, released here today.

Overall, the Report indicates that global life expectancy climbed from 59 years in 1970 to 70 in 2010, school enrolment rose from just 55 percent of all primary and secondary school-age children to 70 percent, and per capita GDP doubled to more than US$10,000. People in all regions shared in this progress, though to varying degrees.

The Report shows that people today are healthier, wealthier and better educated than before. While not all trends are positive, there is much that countries can do to improve people’s lives, even in adverse conditions. This requires courageous local leadership as well as the continuing commitment of the international community” said Helen Clark, the UNDP Administrator. Clark, alongside Nobel Prize–winning economist Amartya Sen, helped devise the HDI for the first Human Development Report in 1990 with the late economist Mahbub ul Haq, the series founder.

For more information, please visit the UWI website at http://www.sta.uwi.edu/iir or the UNDP website at http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2010/.


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