Vientiane, Lao PDR, December 10, 2019 — The 2019 edition of UNDP’s Human Development Report – ‘Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: inequalities in human development in the 21st Century’ – was launched yesterday in Vientiane, Lao PDR by UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Ricarda Rieger, on the same day as it was launched globally in Bogotá, Colombia.
The report analyses inequalities in three steps: beyond income, beyond averages, and beyond today, proposing a battery of policy options to tackle it.
Speaking at the launch event, Ms. Rieger stated that “this 26th HDR captures the considerable progress that is being made, but also uncovers – often using innovative metrics – some of what is truly happening in our societies, including here in Lao PDR. Many inequalities can start before birth and gaps may compound over a person’s life”.
For the Asia-Pacific, progress has been dramatic, with the region experiencing the steepest rise globally in human development. It leads the world in access to broadband internet and is gaining on more developed regions in life expectancy, education, and access to health care. Yet it continues to grapple with widespread multidimensional poverty and may be vulnerable to a new set of inequalities emerging around higher education and climate resilience.
According to the report’s Human Development Index (HDI), no other region has experienced such rapid human development progress. South Asia was the fastest growing region (46 percent growth over the period 1990-2018), followed by East Asia and the Pacific at 43 percent.
The region is also in the vanguard of technological transformation. From 1987 to 2007 little changed in the global ranking of installed bandwidth potential, but at the turn of the millennium things started to change, with the expansion of bandwidth in East and North Asia. The picture is similar when considering mobile phone use.
However, the HDR warns that the poorest communities remain vulnerable to climate change. Poor people are expected to be more exposed to droughts for warming scenarios above the 1.5°C rise in temperature in several countries in Asia. The rural poor in poor countries are at risk of a double shock: a negative impact on livelihoods and spikes in food prices resulting from drops in global yields.
Ms. Rieger concluded that “tackling inequalities is possible, if we go beyond business as usual and place people at the heart of decision making. This report contributes to that decision-making process and arrives at a poignant moment in the country’s planning for its 9th National Social Economic Development Plan”.
The full HDR 2019 report can now be downloaded from http://hdr.undp.org/en/2019-report
Ms. Aksonethip Somvorachit
Public Information Unit, UNDP Lao PDR
Telephone: 021 267778