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 2016

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Human Development Report 2016

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21 Mar 2017
9789210600361 (PDF)

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The 2016 Human Development Report focuses on how human development can be ensured for every one, now and in future. It starts with an account of the hopes and challenges of today’s world, envisioning where humanity wants to go. Our vision draws from and builds on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that the 193 member states of the United Nations endorsed last year, and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the world has committed to achieve. The Report explores who has been left behind in human development progress and why. It argues that to ensure that human development reaches everyone, a mere mapping of the nature and location of deprivations is not enough. Some aspects of the human development framework and assessment perspectives have to be brought to the fore. The Report also identifies the national policies and key strategies to ensure that will enable every human being achieve at least basic human development and to sustain and protect the gains. And it addresses the structural challenges of global institutions and presents options for reform.

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  • Foreword

    Human development is all about human freedoms: freedom to realize the full potential of every human life, not just of a few, nor of most, but of all lives in every corner of the world—now and in the future. Such universalism gives the human development approach its uniqueness.

  • Acknowledgements

    The 2016 Human Development Report is the product of the Human Development Report Office (HDRO) at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

  • Overview

    Over the past quarter-century the world has changed—and with it the development landscape. New countries have emerged, and our planet is now home to more than 7 billion people, one in four of them young. The geopolitical scenario has also changed, with developing countries emerging as a major economic force and political power. Globalization has integrated people, markets and work, and the digital revolution has changed human lives.

  • Human development: achievements, challenges and hopes
  • Universalism: from principles to practice

    The progress in human development over the past 25 years has been impressive on many fronts. More children are going to school, people are living longer, incomes are higher and people have greater potential to shape their societies and their future under democratic forms of government. But the gains have not been universal, and not all lives have been lifted. This reality was the impetus for the intergovernmental agreement on the 2030 Agenda, which aims to leave no one behind. Millions of people are indeed unable to reach their full potential in life because they suffer deprivations in multiple dimensions of human development—lacking income and secure livelihoods, experiencing hunger and malnutrition, having no or limited access to social services, fearing violence and discrimination and being marginalized from the political processes that shape their lives. There are imbalances across countries; socioeconomic, ethnic and racial groups; urban and rural areas; and women and men. Some groups are more deprived than others, and the most deprived individuals belong to multiple disadvantaged groups—an older, ethnic minority woman in a least developed country, for example.

  • Reaching everyone: analytical and assessment issues

    The human development approach is anchored in the idea of universalism, whereby all people—present and future—can realize their full potential. Two issues stand out. First, practical universalism shows that progress in human development is unbalanced across and within countries, socioeconomic groups, ethnic and racial groups, women and men, and generations and have not always reached the most deprived. Second, the world of today differs from the world of 25 years ago and presents new opportunities and challenges. It is thus necessary to map out those who have been left out of the progress in human development and to understand why. It is equally important—as this chapter outlines—to address analytical and assessment issues that, once resolved, may help the barriers to universal human development be overcome.

  • Caring for those left out: national policy options

    Basic human development has progressed well on average in all regions of the world. But not everyone has benefited from this progress—at least not equitably. Some have been left out, and some have been left behind. Given the challenges of today’s world, this chapter identifies the key national policies and strategies that need to be pursued to achieve basic human development for everyone and to protect the gains that have been made.

  • Transforming global institutions

    The current global landscape is very different from what the world faced in 1990. New global challenges threaten the 2030 Agenda for “leaving no one behind.” Inequality and exclusion, violence and extremism, refugees and migration, pollution and environmental degradation—all are caused by humans and their interactions, particularly across borders. That is why their solution depends not only on the actions of individual countries, but also on the construction of global collective capabilities to achieve results that no country can on its own.

  • Human development for everyone: looking forward

    We want a world where human development reaches everyone and no one is left behind—now or in the future. In that broader perspective the preceding chapters have articulated the message that since universalism is key to human development, it is both an ethical imperative and a practical requirement. The human development journey will not be universal if we leave anyone behind, and we cannot build a peaceful and prosperous world by excluding people on the path.

  • Notes
  • References
  • Statistical annex
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