The title of the UNDP’s latest Human Development Report (HDR), published just a couple of months ago, proclaimed ‘The Rise of the South’. The wording was designed, no doubt, to catch the headlines, and it did so very successfully.
It also has to be said that the report told a good and very important story. It argued that ‘the rise of the South is unprecedented in its speed and its scale’. It was ‘the story of a dramatic expansion of individual capabilities and sustained human development progress in the countries that are home to the vast majority of the world’s people’.
“People are the real wealth of a nation.” That sentence opened UNDP’s first Human Development Report (HDR) in 1990, as the Cold War was ending and mobile technology belonged largely in the realm of science fiction. But while the world has changed tremendously over the last 22 years, that statement holds true. It informs and anchors all of UNDP’s work around the world every day. Human development—aimed broadly at expanding freedoms and elevating well-being—has acquired a widespread following since the first Report was launched.
People everywhere face various kinds of inequalities. We live in a very unequal world, in which the top 20 percent of the population enjoys more than 70 percent of global income, while the bottom quintile shares a meagre 2 percent.
As we approach the 2015 conclusion of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) global action plan, work is beginning on the next global development framework, which will set priorities for the years and decades to come. The United Nations is coordinating a series of global consultations this year; leading up to what the President of the UN General Assembly is calling a “landmark” conference on the post-2015 agenda at the opening of the General Assembly in New York on September 25th.
‘Equity, Inequality and Human Development in a post-2015 Framework’, a contribution to this continuing global dialogue published today by UNDP’s Human Development Report Office, considers ways the post-2015 agenda might tackle inequality in all its forms.
On February 7th 2013, HDRO reignited the HDRO Seminar Series with a stimulating event entitled The Rise of the Global Middle Class: the implications for Human Development. The HDR 2013 The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World examines the profound shift in global dynamics being driven by the fast-rising powers of the developing world and the implications of this phenomenon for human development. Among the key features of this shift is the global emergence of a middle class, a larger share of which is residing in the South. Khalid Malik, Director, HDRO was recently quoted in Thomas Friedman’s column on the virtual middle class in India. The seminar provided an avenue to discuss the emergence and features of the increasingly important global middle class.
The 2013 Human Development Report is now available for free downloading in a record 16 languages, with more translations coming on line here soon.
The complete Report can be found here in all six official UN languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish – as well as Portuguese, German and Hindi. A complete Japanese edition of the Report will soon be posted as well.
Summaries of the 2013 Report are also now available on our website in Bengali, Danish, Italian, Japanese, Khmer, Norwegian and Swedish. Report summaries in Basque, Farsi, Korean and Swahili will also be published here shortly. Click here to view and download the 2013 Report in any of these available languages – and please take the time explore our human development data tools and the many other resources and materials on this website. As always, we welcome your comments!
Issues for a Global Human Development Agenda is a new paper from the Human Development Report Office at UNDP. Building on a wealth of Post-2015 reflections and analysis, the paper discusses some of the key issues that need to be tackled in making the development agenda Human Development-focused. We argue that looking at progress through a human development lens could contribute to a coherent framework that many hope will underpin the next set of development goals.
The world of 2013 is different from that of 2000 and the next set of development goals needs to reflect this. Our planet is more global - more interconnected - than ever before. What happens in one country affects others. Major crises – food, financial and climate – blight the lives of billions. Issues that were a concern in 2000 have risen in urgency. And the development landscape has changed too: nations that are home to almost three-quarters of the world’s poor are now classified as middle income countries. Just some of the changes we need to keep in mind when we consider the next global development agenda.
Additional updated indices in 2013 Human Development Report measure gender equity, extreme poverty, and HDI inequalities
Mexico City, 14 March 2013—Norway, Australia and the United States lead the rankings of 187 countries and territories in the latest Human Development Index (HDI), while conflict-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo and drought-stricken Niger have the lowest scores in the HDI’s measurement of national achievement in health, education and income, published today in the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) 2013 Human Development Report.
Yet Niger and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, despite their continuing development challenges, are among the countries that made the greatest strides in HDI improvement since 2000, the Report shows. The new HDI figures show consistent human development improvement in most countries.
The Second Conference on Measuring Human Progress, organized by the Human Development Report Office, will take place on 4–5 March as a part of an on-going initiative to strengthen the nexus between the human development concept, its measurement, and its policy impact.
The conference coincides with the fifth anniversary of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, established on the initiative of President Sarkozy of France in April 2008 to examine the relevance of GDP as measure of economic, environmental and social sustainability and societal well-being in general. Bringing together renowned experts from several countries, the Commission was overseen by professors Joseph E. Stiglitz of Columbia University, Amartya Sen of Harvard University, and Jean-Paul Fitoussi of the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris.
On March 14, in Mexico City, President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and UNDP Administrator Helen Clark will launch the 2013 Human Development Report: “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World.”
During the lead-up to the global launch of the 2013 Report and beyond, we will be using this space to discuss some of the key issues that are addressed by the forthcoming 2013 Report, as well as other human development concerns, initiatives, debates and research contributions.
Some of these blog postings will be based on research papers commissioned for the 2013 Report. Others will be prompted by current events, news items and cutting-edge research and policy initiatives relevant to human development. All are intended to provoke further discussion and dialogue. Your comments are very much welcome – we look forward to hearing from you here.