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 2009

Human Development Report 2009

Overcoming Barriers – Human Mobility and Development You do not have access to this content

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15 Nov 2009
9789210576970 (PDF)

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For many people around the world moving away from their home town or village can be the best – sometimes the only – option open to improve their life chances. The report explores how better policies towards mobility can enhance human development. It traces the contours of human movement – who moves where, when and why, and argues for practical measures that can improve prospects on arrival, which in turn will have large benefits both for destination communities and for places of origin. The report fixes human development firmly on the agenda of policy makers who seek the best outcomes from increasingly complex patterns of human movement worldwide.
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  • Foreword
    Migration not infrequently gets a bad press. Negative stereotypes portraying migrants as ‘stealing our jobs’ or ‘scrounging off the taxpayer’ abound in sections of the media and public opinion, especially in times of recession. For others, the word ‘migrant’ may evoke images of people at their most vulnerable. This year’s Human Development Report, Overcoming Barriers: Human Mobility and Development, challenges such stereotypes. It seeks to broaden and rebalance perceptions of migration to reflect a more complex and highly variable reality.
  • Acknowledgements
    This report is the fruit of the efforts, contributions and support of many people and organizations. I would like to thank Kemal Derviş for the opportunity to take on the daunting task of Director of the Human Development Report, and the new UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark, for advice and support. Coming back to the office after its 20 years of growth and success has been a tremendously rewarding experience, and I would like to especially thank my family, Ema, Josh and Billy, for their patience and support throughout. The dedication and hard work of the whole HDR team, listed earlier, was critical. Among those who provided important strategic advice and suggestions, which were especially critical in pulling the report together, were Oliver Bakewell, Martin Bell, Stephen Castles, Joseph Chamie, Samuel Choritz, Michael Clemens, Simon Commander, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Hein de Haas, Frank Laczko, Loren Landau, Manjula Luthria, Gregory Maniatis, Philip Martin, Douglas Massey, Saraswathi Menon, Frances Stewart, Michael Walton and Kevin Watkins.
  • Acronyms
  • Overview
    Consider Juan. Born into a poor family in rural Mexico, his family struggled to pay for his health care and education. At the age of 12, he dropped out of school to help support his family. Six years later, Juan followed his uncle to Canada in pursuit of higher wages and better opportunities.
  • Freedom and movement: How mobility can foster human development
    Every year, more than 5 million people cross international borders to go and live in a developed country. The number of people who move to a developing nation or within their country is much greater, although precise estimates are hard to come by. Even larger numbers of people in both destination and source places are affected by the movement of others through flows of money, knowledge and ideas.
  • People in motion: Who moves where, when and why
    The aim of this chapter is to characterize human movement generally—to give an overview of who moves, how, why, where and when. The picture is complex and our broad brushstrokes will inevitably fail to capture specifics. Nevertheless, the similarities and commonalities that emerge are striking, and help us understand the forces that shape and constrain migration.
  • How movers fare
    People are motivated to move by the prospects of improved access to work, education, civil and political rights, security and health care. The majority of movers end up better off—sometimes much better off—than before they moved. The gains are potentially highest for people who move from poor to the wealthiest countries, but this type of movement is only a small share of total flows. Available evidence suggests that people who move to emerging and developing countries, as well as within countries, also tend to gain.
  • Impacts at origin and destination
    Among people who do not move but can be affected by movement are the families of movers and communities at places of origin and destination. The multiple impacts of movement in these different places are critical in shaping the overall human development effects of movement; this chapter addresses each in turn.
  • Policies to enhance human development outcomes
    The foregoing analysis has shown that large gains to human development would flow from improved policies towards movers. These would benefit all groups affected by migration. A bold vision is needed to realize these gains—a vision that embraces reform because of its potential pay-offs, while recognizing the underlying challenges and constraints.
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
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