20th Anniversary Human Development Report to be Launched 4 November at UN

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New edition of annual Human Development Report will evaluate decades of development data, introduce new approaches to measuring inequality, gender bias and poverty

New edition of annual Human Development Report will evaluate decades of development data, introduce new approaches to measuring inequality, gender bias and poverty

The 20th anniversary of UNDP’s flagship Human Development Report (http://hdr.undp.org) will be launched at the UN on Nov. 4th by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, and featuring Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, who played a key role in conceiving the Reports’ celebrated Human Development Index (HDI) (http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/), which challenged macroeconomic measurements of national progress.

The first Human Development Report (http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr1990/), commissioned by UNDP and written by a team of experts led by the late Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq, argued that health and education should be given as much weight as income in measuring a country’s development, and that the ultimate goal of development is the expansion of people’s choices and freedoms.

“People are the real wealth of a nation,” Haq (http://hdr.undp.org/en/humandev/) wrote in the opening lines of the first report in 1990. “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.”

“So far only one measure has succeeded in challenging the hegemony of growth-centric thinking. This is known as the Human Development Index, which turns 20 this year,” The New York Times wrote earlier this year.

The 20th anniversary edition of the Human Development Report continues that tradition of methodological innovation and an analytical approach to that puts people at the centre of development. The 2010 Report will feature a detailed review of four decades of HDI data and introduce new indices charting the impact of inequality, gender disparities and extreme poverty.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary and encourage wider public use of human development data, UNDP’s Human Development Report Office will re-launch its multilingual website (http://hdr.undp.org) on Nov. 4th with extensive, interactive new data resources (http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/) covering most of the world’s nations. Visitors will be able to create their own development indices using new tools and the latest statistics. The full series (http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/) of Human Development Reports since 1990 will be available on the website in the latest PDF formats, for review and free downloading, as will all the indices and other statistical tables produced for the 2010 Report. The site will also include new country profiles (http://hdr.undp.org/en/countries/) with the latest national human development information and statistics about each nation.

Important new features of the website include an interactive HDI trends visualization tool for all countries included in the index, a custom development index creator that features the essential dimensions of human development, an interactive map that features international statistical data, and an updated database query tool that includes time series data. With these new online tools and an expanded database of international data, visitors can explore statistics, generate graphs and images, extract tables of data and retrieve country profiles for all UN member-states.

Six videos (http://hdr.undp.org/en/mediacentre/videos/) will accompany the report. Five of these capture multi-generational families from Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Kenya and Morocco illustrating how lives have changed over 40 years in the developing world. The sixth video features an interview with Nobel laureate Amartya Sen discussing the HDR’s origins.

The 2010 Report will be available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Summaries of the Report will be available in additional languages, including Italian and Swedish. A full press kit will be available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.

The Human Development Report is published by UNDP but does not represent official UN policy. The Report’s purpose is to stimulate critical thinking about development issues, based on factual analysis of the best available data on the UN’s 192 member-states. It is widely credited with shifting international development analysis and aid strategies away from a once nearly universal focus on economic growth, and catalyzing a wide array of further efforts to reassess national and global development—from France’s Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress to the recently created U.S. National Indicators Commission and Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index.

Since 1990, more than 140 countries have adopted the Human Development Report framework for their own policy formulation and analytical purposes. Some 600 national Human Development Reports (http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/nhdr/) been published with UNDP support; each was a wholly national enterprise, however, with government sponsorship and input from local scholars, civil society leaders, and other national experts and policy-makers, and aimed at a national audience.

UNDP has also sponsored scores of independently drafted regional reports, such as the ten-volume Arab Human Development Report series, which have made internationally recognized contributions to the global dialogue on democracy, women’s rights, inequality, poverty eradication and other critical issues.

For further information about the Report, the website and 4 November launch event, please contact: wynne(dot)boelt(at)undp(dot)org.


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