A famous Pakistani-born economist, Mahbub ul Haq, once said that people are the wealth of a nation. The phrase emerged to be one of the most exciting contexts to be prevalent in the realms of the twenty-first century. Originating then, Mahbub ul Haq, along with the Indian Economist Amartya Sen, drafted the first Human Development Report in the year 1990.
The primary goal of the draft was to investigate ways on how humans may evolve together with the science, economy, policy, and sustainability to ensure a perfect coexistence. Their first report, which was published in the same year, cited, “The basic objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives. This may appear to be a simple truth. But it is often forgotten in the immediate concern with the accumulation of commodities and financial wealth.”
Today, the Human Development Report is independent documentation prepared by
amalgamation with the ideas of scholars, industrialists, and people in business, headed by the United Nations Development Program aiming to revolve economy, policy, and advocacy around the people. The origination recognizes the program as “an independent intellectual exercise” and “an important tool for raising awareness about human development around the world.”
With the participation of more than 140 counties, in due course of time has led to the evolution of the program significantly. The emergence of several issues and the challenges to solve them has prompted the Human Development Report to introduce several novel indices such as the Human Development Index, the Gender-related Development Index, the Gender Empowerment Measure, the Human Poverty Index, the Gender Inequality Index, and the Multidimensional Poverty Index.
Every year, the reports have a new agenda to address, which unfolds and modifies every year. The lists of global announcements have been provided below since its inception from the year 1990.
A human development report further widens the scope to study on the equalities. The report seeks to find an answer on what is causing the inequalities, why it is being generated, and how to prevent the same from further epidemics. For instance, if we assume that the examination system in our country is not correctly oriented, the human development report shall fabricate the reasons on why this is being caused (maybe because of the structure of the course and curriculum), how it is created (perhaps due to the lack of efforts from the administration) and how it can be alleviated (possibly by engaging the teachers and administration in emphasizing more on a research-based open-end study than keeping the loop bounded by examination).
However, the opportunities to explore these problems create various augmented problems which may induce a downfall in the economic stability, finally leading to some form of political dominance. The generation of a political dominance along with an accelerated deprivation in the equilibrium state may influence detrimental results to the entire human civilization, even if curative measures are taken into consideration.
Of course, to prevent the problems transiting into political empowerment, various countries with the help from the human development program adopt different policies on how to curb the preliminary issues. As each country functions differently, there is no standard policy that can fit into the entire problem simultaneously. The human development group also provides the necessary framework which links a country’s functioning to the strategies they may adopt.
Amidst all, most of the countries confront two fundamental inequalities that shape human
development: climate change and the rapid progress in the field of science/technology. From a
perspective of emissions to the consequences on the polices and ways to prevent them, climate change, human development inequality, and climate crisis are linked with each other. The higher
ecological footprints can be attributed to the countries with a higher number of social development factors since they catalyze the release of carbon per person heavily.
A human development factor more substantial than 0.8 may be tagged to a very high developing country, for instance, India. And this is evident from the correlation since we, as the citizens of this
country, know the amount of carbon liberated in India per person. Apart from the current crisis registered due to climate change, including crop failures and natural disasters, climate drift influences human development in various other active and passive ways.
The published report (2019) claims that between 2030 and 2050, climate change may cause an additional 250,000 deaths a year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress. Malaria is a typical mosquito supplemented disease which crucially depends on the climate. A mosquito-favorable atmosphere shall induce the escalation of malaria. Reports say that climate change occurs much faster than mutations in our body, thus leaving no opportunity for our cells to become inherently resistant towards malaria.
Many of the developing countries are based on tropical regions, and assertions hold that the exposure and the vulnerability to fatal vector-borne diseases are likely to prompt anomalies quickly as compared to the others. These counties, owing to their investments in the development, have much less capacity to adapt to these crises, which may further ruin the existing social and economic pathways. The high-income inequality within the countries possessing a higher development index can limit the penetration of novel environmentally friendly technology.
With this context, there are various factors in which analysis of the inequalities in human development is linked to the climate crisis. They act similar to a resistive force on effective action because higher imbalances progressively evolve to make collective action, the key to curbing climate change both within and across countries, more arduous. Yet, there are ways to address both the problems of climate change and economic transitions together, which can efficiently drive a country towards sustainability, keeping its ongoing development in motion.
For instance, optimizing the carbon pricing is one of the strategies which may be employed. The
biased distribution of the carbon pricing (in a specific condition) may be alleviated by providing financial support to poor people who are affected by higher energy bills. However, strategies like
the above one have faced severe drawbacks in the past since the money turns out to be one of the
acting variables in the entire scenario.
The organizations have to adopt policies that can be applied in the broader perspective of human
rights. The social policy sets must be amended regularly to evolve simultaneously with the demands and rising challenges.
As L.C. Megginson rightly said, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive,
but those who can best manage change,” the Human Development Report aims to work on the
same improvising their agendas every year.
Editor’s note: Do you want to know where India stands in the Human Development Index (2019)? You can access the report, released on December 9 (2019), here.