Global human development on course to decline this year: UNDP


, May 20

— which can be measured as a combination of the world’s education, health and living standards — could decline this year for the first since the concept was introduced in 1990, the () warned today.

“The world has seen many crises over the past 30 years, including the global financial crisis of 2007-09. Each has hit human development hard but, overall, development gains accrued globally year-on-year,” UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner has been quoted as saying in a media release. “COVID-19 — with its triple hit to health, education, and income — may change this trend.”

Declines in fundamental areas of human development are being felt across most countries — rich and poor — in every region. COVID-19’s global death toll has exceeded 300,000 people, while the global per capita income this year is expected to fall by four per cent.

With school closures, UNDP estimates of the ‘effective out-of-school rate’ — the percentage of primary school-age children, adjusted to reflect those without internet access — indicate that 60 per cent of children are not getting an education, leading to global levels not seen since the 1980s.

The combined impact of these shocks could signify the largest reversal in human development on record. This is not counting other significant effects, for instance, in the progress towards gender equality. The negative impacts on women and girls span economic — earning and saving less and greater job insecurity , reproductive health, unpaid care work and gender-based violence.

The drop in human development is expected to be much higher in developing countries that are less able to cope with the pandemic’s social and economic fallout than richer nations, the report says.

Determined, equity-focused interventions can help economies and societies rally, mitigating the far-reaching impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This cr

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