Human development set back five years by Covid-19 – The Organization for World Peace
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP), established in 1990, announced for the first time this week that the Human Development Index (HDI) has fallen due to crises such as the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, several other political, financial and climate-related crises around the world have also contributed to this decline. These back-to-back global crises have set back human development by at least five years and affected more than 90% of the world’s countries.
The report found that the main reason for the drop in the HDI is a global decline in life expectancy, which fell from 73 years in 2019 to 71.4 years in 2021. Additionally, it describes how forces such as climate change, globalization and political polarization have created an unprecedented level of uncertainty “never seen [before] in human history. This uncertainty and the rapid succession of crises that the world has experienced over the past two years have not given countries time to recover sufficiently. The UNDP said 9 out of 10 countries saw a drop in their HDI score, with South Sudan, Chad and Niger seeing the most extreme declines.
Speaking on the discovery, Ulrika Modeer from UNDP said: “The world has certainly seen such challenges before. We have seen pandemics [and] wars affecting more than one country, but not the whole world. What happened now and what is represented in the report is a complex of uncertainty. UNDP stressed that quick fixes are not enough and that systematic change is the way to overcome global crises. UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said: “The world is scrambling to respond to consecutive crises. We’ve seen it with cost of living and energy crises and while it’s tempting to focus on quick fixes like subsidizing fossil fuels, immediate relief tactics delay the long-term systemic changes we have to bring.
The Human Development Index is a measurement system used by the United Nations to assess and monitor the level of individual human development in each country. It uses components such as life expectancy at birth, educational expectations and GNI per capita to rank and compare countries. The HDI was created to emphasize that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate yardstick for assessing a country’s development, not just economic growth. When it was established in 1990, the United States was the most developed country in the world, although it is now ranked 21st in 2022. Currently, Switzerland is ranked as the most developed country in the world, with a value of 0.962, followed closely by Norway and Iceland.
The UNDP report made some recommendations. These included investments in renewable energy and preparedness for future pandemics, insurance to absorb shocks, and innovations to build capacity to deal with future crises. As we continue to change the climate globally and profit from conflict, the frequency of crises will only increase. States must, as the UNDP recommends, invest and develop their capacity to deal with pandemics, conflicts, climate and financial crises to navigate this uncertain world order.