UNDP Launches the Human Development Report 2014

Jul 24, 2014

United Nations Development Programme encourages the Afghan Government and development partners to enhance resilience in the country’s vulnerable populations, such as women and the youth.

Kabul: The Global Human Development Report, UNDP’s flagship publication, was launched on the theme of “Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience” in Tokyo earlier today in presence of UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, the Report’s Lead Author Khalid Malik and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Human Development focuses on people’s role in bringing desired changes in their lives and unlike Gross Domestic Product, it looks at people’s welfare rather than their wealth. Human Development Index, created by the Indian Nobel Laureate Amartya Kumar Sen and former Pakistani Finance Minister Mahbub-ul Haq in 1990, has been since used to measure a nation’s overall development with particular concentration on health, education and income.

The Human Development Report 2014 finds that despite recent progress in poverty reduction, globally, there are still almost 2.2 billion people deprived of access to health services, education and decent living standards, which means more than 15 percent of the world’s population remain vulnerable to multidimensional poverty.

Afghanistan remains an obvious example of a vulnerable nation. By all measures done externally by different organizations, the country has been in the low end of the types of available metrics. Afghanistan has been ranked among the low human development category with HDI value of 0.374, which position the country at 169 out of 187 countries and territories, a GDP of $18b or a GDP per capita of $ 635 equivalent to about $1.74 per person per day just above the poverty line of $ 1.25, a Doing Business World Bank ranking of 81, and a life expectancy of only 58.4. Even with these rather low metric, the country is assessed as having its strength to include its youthful demographics, a young and dynamic labor workforce and a macro economic framework that is in place.

“Looking at vulnerable populations in Afghanistan, especially young people and women, we at UNDP encourage the Afghan Government and other development partners to effectively address the issue,” said Yuxue Xue, Senior UNDP Deputy Country Director. “Enhancing resilience is at the core of our mission in Afghanistan, which is making us hopeful that our concerted efforts in the country will pay off and transform Afghanistan into an inclusive society.”

The Human Development concept has opened up a new chapter for policymakers to understand development in the context of human welfare as opposed to mere income. According to Mr. Sen, one of the founders of Human Development Index, citizens' quality of life and their general wellbeing should be considered as a measure when looking at overall economic success, particularly since developed countries face social issues such as unemployment despite economic growth. His colleague, Mr. Haq, believed that GDP growth alone couldn’t help reduce poverty. “Three necessary attributes must exist if extreme poverty is to end: an individual must be empowered to make choices, they must be equipped to make choices, and they must live in an enabling environment where they can act on those choices,” recommended Mr. Haq.

This concept existed in human intuitions for generations, but did not take a concrete shape until early 1990s. “Wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful for the sake of something else,” puts Aristotle a couple hundred years before Christ. “That [something else] is the opportunity of people to realize their potential as human beings.”

Contact information

Jalaluddin Kasaat, UNDP Afghanistan, Cell: +93799450630, Email: jalaluddin.kasaat@undp.og

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