Development progress in the world's poorest countries could be halted or even reversed by mid-century unless bold steps are taken to slow climate change, prevent further environmental damage, and reduce deep inequalities within and among nations,
according to projections in the 2011 Human Development Report: Sustainability and Equity. A Better Future for All, launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) here today.
Present at the launch were, Mr. Nadeem ul Haq, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Mr. Timo Pakkala, UN Resident Coordinator, while Mr. Toshihiro Tanaka, Country Director UNDP presented the findings of the Report. Panelists included Mr. Adil Najam, Vice Chancellor, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Ms. Bushra Gohar, Member National Assembly and Mr. Amin Aslam, Former Minister of State/Senior Climate Advisor UNDP.
The 2011 Report argues that environmental sustainability can be most fairly and effectively achieved by addressing health, education, income, and gender disparities together with global action on energy production and ecosystem protection. It further warns that South Asia must overcome acute poverty and internal inequalities to maintain current rates of progress.
According to the Report, South Asia has among the world’s highest levels of urban air pollution, with cities in Bangladesh and Pakistan suffering from especially acute air contamination.
The Report also warns that deteriorating environmental conditions and increasingly extreme weather conditions —such as the severe floods that have hit Pakistan for two years in a row—could undermine economic progress in many countries in the region.
In addition to providing deeper understanding of how environmental sustainability is inextricably linked to inequality, the annual Report also provides the Human Development Index (HDI) which measures national achievement in health, education and income. It was Pakistan’s late economist Mahbub ul Haq, who devised the HDI in the first Human Development Report in 1990 together with the Nobel laureate, Amartya Sen.
This year, Pakistan ranks 145 out of 187 countries and territories. In comparison, India is at 134 and Bangladesh at 146 in the HDI. Norway, Australia and the Netherlands rank the highest, while the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger and Burundi are at the bottom.
Additionally, the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) (introduced last year) identifies multiple deprivations in the same households in education, health and standard of living. In Pakistan 49.4% of the population suffer multiple deprivations while an additional 11.0% are vulnerable to multiple deprivations, states the Report.
In the Gender Inequality Index (GII), South Asian women are shown to lag significantly behind men in education and labour force participation. In Pakistan women’s parliamentarian representation has improved with 21% of parliamentary seats are held by women. The GII reflects gender-based inequalities in three dimensions – reproductive health, empowerment, and economic activity. Pakistan has a GII value of 0.573, ranking it 115 out of 146 countries in the 2011 index.
ABOUT THIS REPORT: The annual Human Development Report is an editorially independent publication of the United Nations Development Programme. For free downloads of the 2011 Human Development Report in ten languages, plus additional reference materials on its indices and specific regional implications, please visit: http://hdr.undp.org.
ABOUT UNDP: UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. Please visit: http://www.undp.org.pk
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Mehreen Saeed, Communication Analyst, UNDP Pakistan
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