On September 8th, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released it’s flagship report on human development, which warned of the impact of numerous crises on progress.
The impact of such events is so immense that the UN agency has reported that for the first time in the last three decades, the Human Development Index (HDI) has declined globally for two consecutive years. According to the UN agency, human development has fallen tremendously — back to 2016 levels.
As narrated by the Human Development Report for 2021–22, titled “Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a Transforming World”, societies at large are lurching from multiple crises and are affecting people’s lives in unprecedented ways.
According to the report, more than 90% of countries across the globe saw a decrease in their HDI score in either 2020 or 2021.
In both years, over 40 percent of the countries declined, which indicates that the crisis disproportionately affected Latin America, the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia.
Achim Steiner, the UNDP Administrator, said: “The world is scrambling to respond to back-to-back crises. We have seen with the cost of living and energy crises that, while it is tempting to focus on quick fixes like subsidizing fossil fuels, immediate relief tactics are delaying the long-term systematic changes we must make.”
“We are collectively paralyzed in making these changes. In a world defined by uncertainty, we need a renewed sense of global solidarity to tackle our interconnected, common challenges,” he added.
The key reasons behind the fall
In addition, the document identifies the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Ukraine War as the key reasons for the downfall, while other listed reasons include socio-economic shifts, rapid climate change, and massive polarization.
The report points to insecurity and polarization of views hampering the flow of collaborative efforts, much needed to tackle global challenges in present times.
“Even before COVID-19 hit, we were seeing the twin paradoxes of progress with insecurity and polarization. Today, with one-third of people worldwide feeling stressed and fewer than a third of people worldwide trusting others, we face major roadblocks to adopting policies that work for people and the planet,” said the UNDP Administrator.
As per the recommendations, implementing policies that focus on investment, from renewable energy to pandemic preparedness. And insurance, which includes social protection, to prepare societies for all the thick and thin of a world full of “uncertainty”.
“To navigate uncertainty, we need to double down on human development and look beyond improving people’s wealth or health,” said Pedro Conceição, the lead author of the report, UNDP.
“These remain important. But we also need to protect the planet and provide people with the tools they need to feel more secure, regain a sense of control over their lives and have hope for the future,” he added.