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Launch of UNDP’s 2010 Human Development Report

UNDP’s 2010 Human Development Report – “The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development” was launched on 4 November, in New York by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.

The 20th anniversary edition of the HDR reveals a detailed new analysis of long term development trends, re-examines the concept of human development and introduces three new indices to complement the Report’s traditional Human Development Index (HDI).

The HDR finds that most developing countries have made dramatic progress in health, education and basic living standards in recent decades. Many of the poorest countries have made the greatest gains, with long-term progress in health, education not determined by income. However, patterns of achievement vary greatly, with some countries losing ground since 1970.

Among the three new measures featured in the report, is the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), created by OPHI with UNDP support, which complements income poverty measures. The MPI identifies deprivations across the same dimensions as the HDI— health, education and living standards—and shows the number of people who are multidimensionally poor and the deprivations that they face on the household level.

In addition, the HDR introduces the Inequality-adjusted HDI, a measure of human development that accounts for inequality, and the Gender Inequality Index, which illuminate differences in the distribution of achievements between women and men.

“These new measures are major methodological advances that can pinpoint problems and successes in a country, and help to develop ideas and policies that can improve people’s lives,” said Jeni Klugman, the Report’s lead author.

The new indices build on recent advances in theory and data, but data on some important aspects of human-wellbeing are still missing. Speaking at the HDR launch in New York, Klugman highlighted the “need to try to understand some of these missing dimensions – looking at the broader dimensions of wellbeing – empowerment, etc”.

Klugman said that “further work needs to take more seriously the economics of human development”, an idea echoed by Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, in her concluding remarks. Both agreed that policy design needs to go beyond intellectual work and needs be grounded in economic, cultural and community realities.

As part of a close collaboration with the UNDP HDR this year, OPHI has provided inputs to conceptual and measurement agendas behind the 2010 Report, including to the methodology for the Inequality-adjusted HDI and conceptual framework for human development.

For more information on the 20th anniversary Human Development Report and the complete press kit please visit: http://hdr.undp.org