Human Development Report

2412-3129 (online)
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Human Development Reports (HDRs) have been released most years since 1990 and have explored different themes through the human development approach. They have had an extensive influence on development debate worldwide. The reports, produced by the Human Development Report Office for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), are ensured of editorial independence by the United Nation’s General Assembly
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Human Development Report 1993

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31 Dec 1993
9789210576543 (PDF)

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The challenge for development is to identify the best route to unleash people’s entrepreneurial spirit – to take risks, to compete, to innovate, to determine the direction and pace of development. Every institution – and every policy action – should be judged by one critical test: how does it meet the genuine aspirations of the people? This is the vision national and global decision-makers must consider if the 1990s are to emerge as a new watershed in peaceful development – and if the 21st century is to see the full flowering of human potential all over the world. It is fitting, therefore that this year’s Human Development Report has people’s participation as its special focus.
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  • Foreword
    The past decade has been a decade of the people. The forces of democracy are spreading across many lands. New markets are springing up in former command economies, unleashing the creativity and productivity of their people. With free enterprise winning out over central planning, and the courageous voices of democracy quieting the terrors of authoritarianism, people everywhere are asserting their right to determine their own destiny.
  • Acknowledgements
    The authors of the Report are deeply indebted to numerous organizations and individuals for their valuable contributions in the preparation of this Report.
  • Overview
    People's participation is becoming the central issue of our time. The democratic transition in many developing countries, the collapse of many socialist regimes, and the worldwide emergence of people's organizations—these are all part of a historic change, not just isolated events.
  • Trends in human development
    The 1980s were, in many ways, a decade of the people. All over the world, people had an impatient urge to guide their political, economic and social destinies. The democratic transition in developing countries, the collapse of socialist regimes and the worldwide emergence of people's organizations—all were part of a restless wave of human aspirations. Frustrated at times, in many places still in chains, the human spirit soared in the past decade.
  • People's participation
    Participation means that people are closely involved in the economic, social, cultural and political processes that affect their lives (box 2.1). People may, in some cases, have complete and direct control over these processes-in other cases, the control may be partial or indirect. The important thing is that people have constant access to decision-making and power. Participation in this sense is an essential element of human development.
  • People and markets
    Free markets provide the most efficient mechanism yet devised for the exchange of goods and services-impersonally matching supply and demand, bringing together buyers and sellers, employers and workers, and constantly setting and resetting prices so that the economy works at peak efficiency. Free enterprise provides a mechanism for unleashing human creativity and entrepreneurial ability.
  • People and governance
    The 1980s saw a move away from authoritarian rule towards greater political freedom and democracy. A positive trend, but there is still some way to go before people in developing countries are truly in command of their Lives. Even where citizens can elect their leaders in regular, free and fair elections, they seldom have achieved full political participation. If people in developing countries are to influence development, the trend towards democracy will have to widen and deepen.
  • People in community organizations
    People's understanding of the world is formed and nurtured in face-to-face interactions in small social groups-first in the family, then the street, perhaps, or the neighbourhood or village. Such groups also serve a political purpose, for people generally gain greater benefits in groups than as individuals.
  • Technical notes
    The HDI includes three key components-longevity, knowledge and income, which are combined to arrive at an average deprivation index (for a full technical description, see Human Development Report 1991, technical note 1, pp. 88–89). Longevity is measured by life expectancy at birth as the sole unadjusted indicator. Knowledge is measured by two educational stock variables: adult literacy and mean years of schooling. The measure of educational achievement is adjusted by assigning a weight of two-thirds to literacy and one-third to mean years of schooling
  • Bibliographic note
  • References
  • Selected definitions
  • Classification of countries
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