2010 Human Development Report: The Real Wealth of Nations [VIDEO]

On November 4th, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) released the 2010 Human Development Report which looks back at 40 years of human progress in 135 countries (or 92% of the global population).  According to this new report tremendous ground has been made on aggregate during the past four decades with regard to issues of education (primary school enrollment grew from 55 to 70 percent), health (average life expectancy rose from 59 to 70 years), and income (per capita income doubled to more than US$10,000).  Among the “top movers” are Ethiopia (#11), Cambodia (#15) and Benin (#18), all of which made big gains in education and public health.

Despite these promising new figures patterns of growth and achievement vary greatly between and within nations. Further, three nations (Congo, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) have in fact lost ground since 1970 due to the complex issues of conflict, extreme multidimensional poverty, deep disparities between men and women, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.  To better measure and understand these issues, UNDP has released three new indices in this report that look at inequality, gender, and poverty:

The Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI)
For the first time, this year’s Report examines HDI data through the lens of inequality, adjusting HDI achievements to reflect disparities in income, health and education. “The HDI alone, as a composite of national averages, hides disparities within countries, so these adjustments for inequality provide a fuller picture of people’s well-being,” said Jeni Klugman.

The Gender Inequality Index (GII)
The 2010 Report introduces a new measure of gender inequities, including maternal mortality rates and women’s representation in parliaments. “The Gender Inequality Index is designed to measure the negative human development impact of deep social and economic disparities between men and women,” said Klugman. The GII calculates national HDI losses from gender inequities, from the Netherlands (the most equal in GII terms) to Yemen (the least).

The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)
The Report features a new multidimensional poverty measure that complements income-based poverty assessments by looking at multiple factors at the household level, from basic living standards to access to schooling, clean water and health care. About 1.7 billion people—fully a third of the population in the 104 countries included in the MPI—are estimated to live in multidimensional poverty, more than the estimated 1.3 billion who live on $1.25 a day or less.

The 2010 Human Development Report, a 20th Anniversary edition entitled The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development, was released by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, who helped devise the HDI for the first Human Development Report in 1990. “The Human Development Reports have changed the way we see the world,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, “We have learned that while economic growth is very important, what ultimately matters is using national income to give all people a chance at a longer, healthier and more productive life.”

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark stated that “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.”

For more information, please visit the Human Development Report website: http://hdr.undp.org/en/

Download: SummaryComplete reportNew HDI

Data and quotes from this article were originally published online at by the UNDP: 2010 Human Development Report analyses long-term development trends: November 4, 2010.

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Categories: Arts and Culture, Editorials and Reports

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