UN Human Development Report paves way "to change thinking" on human development: UN chief

08:12, November 05, 2010      

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On the 20th anniversary edition of the UN's Human Development Report, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said here Thursday that it has paved the way to " change thinking, spur action and get results" on human development.

"Twenty years ago, the first Human Development Report stunned the international community with the simple premise that people are the true measure of a nation's wealth," Ban said here at the launch of the annual United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report.

Together with Ban, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen released the Human Development Report, which provides insights into the world's most pressing challenges facing humanity.

Included in the report is the 2010 Human Development Index (HDI) , a combination of national measures of health, education and income that tracks the achievements for 169 countries.

Noting the first edition of the report was a "radical concept at the time," Ban said it pushed conventional thinking. "The Human Development Report argued that measuring progress only in economic terms is factually and philosophically wrong."

The report said governments should focus not on the quantity of growth, but quality where growth should be spurred not for their own sake "but for improving people's lives," Ban said.

"Ordinary people, children too poor to go to school. Pregnant women with no health care. Families wondering how to survive another day," he said.

The Human Development Report "was much more than a clever, intellectual exercise -- it was designed to change thinking ... spur action and get results," Ban said. "And it did."

The idea of "people-centered development" gave equal weight to school enrollment, life expectancy and health, he said.

"Not just how much a country earns but how well its people live, " Ban stressed.

The report is tied into the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) -- eight global antipoverty objectives due to be achieved by 2015, Ban said.

Human development has paved the way for major global conferences where these summits "hammered out global targets which contributed to the MDGs," he said.

"Putting people first means tackling poverty, hunger and disease," Ban said, noting that approach is embodied in the MDGs.

Source: Xinhua


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