Is money more important than people?

UNDP launches Caribbean Human Development Report

A new report from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) shows that a strong economy, while important, is no guarantee of health or happiness.

The 2010 UNDP Report, which is titled “The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development”, confirms that purely economic measures of national achievement are insufficient in tracking progress in health, education and overall living standards. The Report shows that there is no consistent correlation between national economic performance and achievement in non-income HDI areas, such as health and education.

“The real wealth of a nation is its people,” said Jose Pineda, Policy Specialist, Human Development Report Office, speaking at the launch of the UNDP 2010 Human Development Report at The University of the West Indies (UWI) Institute of International Relations (IIR) Board Room yesterday.

In 1990, the first Human Development Report introduced its pioneering Human Development Index (HDI) and analyzed previous decades of development indicators, concluding that “there is no automatic link between economic growth and human progress.” The 2010 Human Development Report continues the HDI tradition of measurement innovation by introducing new indices that address crucial development factors not directly reflected in the HDI, namely the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI), the Gender Inequality Index (GII) and the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI).

2010 marks the 20th anniversary of the global Human Development Reports, which have been commissioned annually by the UNDP since 1990. It also marks the year of the first ever Human Development Report for Latin America and the Caribbean.

According to the Human Development Report for Latin America and the Caribbean, ten of the 15 countries with the highest levels of inequality are in that region. This inequality is persistent, self-perpetuating, and it poses an obstacle to progress in human development. The UNDP regional report, titled “Acting On The Future: Breaking The Intergenerational Cycle Of Inequality”, describes Latin America and the Caribbean as the most unequal region in the world and calls for specific, comprehensive and effective public policies to reduce inequality.

Addressing the audience at the launch, two authors of the Caribbean Human Development Report focused on citizen security, another significant non-economic indicator impacting on the quality of life in the region. Dr. Anthony Harriot (lead author) and Dr. Randy Seepersad, (national author, Trinidad and Tobago), delivered a presentation on the need to approach human development through enhancing citizen security in the Caribbean.

The launch was moderated by Mr. Edo Stork, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP, and included remarks by Professor Timothy Shaw, Director of the UWI Institute of International Relations and Dr Marcia De Castro, UN System Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative. The feature address was presented by Senator the Honourable Ms. Mary King, Minister of Planning, Economic and Social Restructuring and Gender Affairs.