Thursday, November 3, 2011

Human Development Report 2011

Nepal has improved itself in 21st annual Human Development Index (HDI), according to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Its HDI stands at 0.458, which gives the country a rank of 157 out of 187 countries with comparable data, said the report published first week of November 2011 globally.
The index forms part of the UN Development Report, and this year it is focused on environment, sustainability and inequality.
However, Nepal still ranks in the Low Human Development group among the four — Very High Human Development, High Human Development, Medium Human Development and Low Human Development — groups.
 “The HDI of South Asia as a region increased from 0.356 in 1980 to 0.548 at present, placing Nepal below the regional average, the annual flagship publication of the UNDP said, adding that the HDI trends tell an important story both at the national and regional level and highlight the very large gaps in well-being and life chances that continue to divide the interconnected world.
The HDI measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions of human development — a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.
Data availability determines HDI country coverage. To enable cross-country comparisons, the HDI is, to the extent possible, calculated based on data from leading international data agencies and other credible data sources available at the time of writing.
Each year since 1990, the UNDP has been publishing the Human Development Index (HDI), which was introduced as an alternative to conventional measures of national development like level of income and the rate of economic growth.
The index represents a push for a broader definition of well-being and provides a composite measure of three basic dimensions of human development including health, education and income.
The report said income distribution has worsened in most of the world - with Latin America the worst region.
By 2050, in an ‘environmental challenge’ scenario factoring in the effects of global warming on food production and pollution, the average HDI would be 12 per cent lower in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa than would otherwise be the case, the report estimated, adding that bold global action is urgently required for sustainable development, but local initiatives to support poor communities can be both highly cost-effective and environmentally beneficial.
Adverse environmental factors are expected to drive up world food prices by up to 30-50 per cent in the coming decades, the report has warned.
Food production must rise to meet the demands of growing populations, but the combined environmental effects of land degradation, water scarcity and climate change will restrict supply, the report says adding that income poverty and malnutrition could worsen if the prices of key staples rise.
It has also called for a currency transaction tax to help the world’s poorest countries deal with the effects of climate change. “In updated analysis prepared for this report, the North-South Institute estimates that a tax of 0.005 per cent would yield around $40 billion a year,” the annual Report, said, adding that the revenue potential is thus huge.
Half of the malnutrition cases in the world arise from environmental factors, according to the UNDP.
High living standards need not be carbon-fuelled and follow the examples of the richest countries, says the Report, presenting evidence that while Carbon dioxide emissions have been closely linked with national income growth in recent decades, fossil-fuel consumption does not correspond with other key measures of human development. “Growth driven by fossil fuel consumption is not a prerequisite for a better life in broader human development terms,” it said, adding that investments that improve equity—in access, for example, to renewable energy, water and sanitation, and reproductive healthcare — could advance both sustainability and human development.
The Report has also called for electricity service to be provided to the 1.5 billion people who are now off the power grid. It can be done both affordably and sustainably, without a significant rise in carbon emissions.
Overall, this year’s annual human development ranking showed progress made in the quality of life. However, when adjusted against inequalities among the population, there was an overall drop of 23 per cent in the quality of living this year.
In the South Asian region, Bangladesh ranked 146, India 134, Sri Lanka 97, the Maldives 109 and Bhutan 141.
Norway, Australia, the Netherlands, the United States and New Zealand were the top five respectively, while Burundi, Niger and the Democratic Republic of the Congo came last. This year, that spot is taken again by the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the life expectancy is less than 50 years and the gross national income is $280 a person, or about 75 cents a day.
However, when adjusted for inequalities, some countries fell off their top rankings.