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The latest flagship UN report on human development, released on Thursday, warns that multiple crises are halting progress on human development, which is going backwards in the overwhelming majority of countries. Here are five things to look out for in the report.
The 2021/22 Human Development Report (HDR) – which is entitled “Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a Transforming World” – paints a picture of a global society lurching from crisis to crisis, and which risks heading towards increasing deprivation and injustice.
Heading the list of events causing major global disruption are the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which have come on top of sweeping social and economic shifts, dangerous planetary changes, and massive increases in polarization.
First back-to-back decline in three decades
For the first time in the 32 years that the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has been calculating it, the Human Development Index, which measures a nation’s health, education, and standard of living, has declined globally for two years in a row.
This signals a deepening crisis for many regions, and Latin America, the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia have been hit particularly hard.
Human development has fallen back to its 2016 levels, reversing much of the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals which make up the 2030 Agenda, the UN’s blueprint for a fairer future for people and the planet.
COVID-19 is ‘a window into a new reality’
Now into its third year, the pandemic is described in the report as “a window into a new reality”, rather than a detour from business as usual.
The development of effective vaccines is hailed as a monumental achievement, credited with saving around 20 million lives, and a demonstration of the huge power of innovation married to political will.
At the same time, the rollout of the vaccines laid bare the huge inequities of the global economy. Access has been paltry in many low-income countries, and women and girls have suffered the most, shouldering more household and caregiving responsibilities, and facing increased violence.
SOURCE: UN News/ SLT. Headline photo (Stock image).