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Human Development Reports

Human Development Reports: 29th Anniversary Edition

"The 20th anniversary edition of the Human Development Report examines decades of Human Development data trends, refines the original Human Development Index with new databases and methodologies, and introduces new measures adjusting the Index to reflect gender disparities and other internal national inequalities. The 2010 Human Development Report also features the Multidimensional Poverty Index, or MPI, which was developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) with UNDP support. This new index is designed to provide a fuller, more accurate picture of acute poverty on the household level than traditional “dollar-a-day” formulas.

The Report will be released in November 2010."

Human Development Report 2009 Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development

Klugman, Jenny, Director.

"Migration, both within and beyond borders, has become an increasingly prominent theme in domestic and international debates, and is the topic of the 2009 Human Development Report (HDR09). The starting point is that the global distribution of capabilities is extraordinarily unequal, and that this is a major driver for movement of people. Migration can expand their choices —in terms of incomes, accessing services and participation, for example— but the opportunities open to people vary from those who are best endowed to those with limited skills and assets. These underlying inequalities, which can be compounded by policy distortions, is a theme of the report.

The report investigates migration in the context of demographic changes and trends in both growth and inequality. It also presents more detailed and nuanced individual, family and village experiences, and explores less visible movements typically pursued by disadvantaged groups such as short term and seasonal migration.

There is a range of evidence about the positive impacts of migration on human development, through such avenues as increased household incomes and improved access to education and health services. There is further evidence that migration can empower traditionally disadvantaged groups, in particular women. At the same time, risks to human development are also present where migration is a reaction to threats and denial of choice, and where regular opportunities for movement are constrained.

National and local policies play a critical role in enabling better human development outcomes for both those who choose to move in order to improve their circumstances, and those forced to relocate due to conflict, environmental degradation, or other reasons. Host country restrictions can raise both the costs and the risks of migration. Similarly, negative outcomes can arise at the country levels where basic civic rights, like voting, schooling and health care are denied to those who have moved across provincial lines to work and live. HDR09 shows how a human development approach can be a means to redress some of the underlying issues that erode the potential benefits of mobility and/or force migration."

United Nations, Human Development Reports

Human Development Report 2997/2008 Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World

Watkins, Kevin, Director and Lead Author.

"Climate change is the defining human development challenge of the 21st Century. Failure to respond to that challenge will stall and then reverse international efforts to reduce poverty. The poorest countries and most vulnerable citizens will suffer the earliest and most damaging setbacks, even though they have contributed least to the problem. Looking to the future, no country—however wealthy or powerful—will be immune to the impact of global warming.

The Human Development Report 2007/2008 shows that climate change is not just a future scenario. Increased exposure to droughts, floods and storms is already destroying opportunity and reinforcing inequality. Meanwhile, there is now overwhelming scientific evidence that the world is moving towards the point at which irreversible ecological catastrophe becomes unavoidable. Business-as-usual climate change points in a clear direction: unprecedented reversal in human development in our lifetime, and acute risks for our children and their grandchildren.

There is a window of opportunity for avoiding the most damaging climate change impacts, but that window is closing: the world has less than a decade to change course. Actions taken—or not taken—in the years ahead will have a profound bearing on the future course of human development. The world lacks neither the financial resources nor the technological capabilities to act. What is missing is a sense of urgency, human solidarity and collective interest.

As the Human Development Report 2007/2008 argues, climate change poses challenges at many levels. In a divided but ecologically interdependent world, it challenges all people to reflect upon how we manage the environment of the one thing that we share in common: planet Earth. It challenges us to reflect on social justice and human rights across countries and generations. It challenges political leaders and people in rich nations to acknowledge their historic responsibility for the problem, and to initiate deep and early cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Above all, it challenges the entire human community to undertake prompt and strong collective action based on shared values and a shared vision."

Human Development Report 2005: International Development at the Crossroads: Aid, Trade, and Security in an Unequal World

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

"This year's Human Development Report takes stock of human development, including progress towards the MDGs. Looking beyond statistics, it highlights the human costs of missed targets and broken promises. Extreme inequality between countries and within countries is identified as one of the main barriers to human development'and as a powerful brake on accelerated progress towards the MDGs." (from

Human Development Report 2004 Cultural Liberty in Today's Diverse World

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

"Accommodating people’s growing demands for their inclusion in society, for respect of their ethnicity, religion, and language, takes more than democracy and equitable growth. Also needed are multicultural policies that recognize differences, champion diversity and promote cultural freedoms, so that all people can choose to speak their language, practice their religion, and participate in shaping their culture—so that all people can choose to be who they are." (from

Human Development Report 2003: Millennium Development Goals: A Compact Among Nations to End Human Poverty

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

"Range of human development in the world is vast and uneven, with astounding progress in some areas amidst stagnation and dismal decline in others. Balance and stability in the world will require the commitment of all nations, rich and poor, and a global development compact to extend the wealth of possibilities to all people." (from

Human Development Report 2002: Deepening Democracy in a Fragmented World

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

"Politics matter for human development. Reducing poverty depends as much on whether poor people have political power as on their opportunities for economic progress. Democracy has proven to be the system of governance most capable of mediating and preventing conflict and of securing and sustaining well-being. By expanding people's choices about how and by whom they are governed, democracy brings principles of participation and accountability to the process of human development." (from

Human Development Report 2001: Making New Technologies Work for Human Development

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

"Technology networks are transforming the traditional map of development, expanding people's horizons and creating the potential to realize in a decade progress that required generations in the past." (from

Human Development Report 2000: Human Rights and Human Development

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

"Human rights and human development share a common vision and a common purpose—to secure, for every human being, freedom, well-being and dignity. Divided by the cold war, the rights agenda and development agenda followed parallel tracks. Now converging, their distinct strategies and traditions can bring new strength to the struggle for human freedom. Human Development Report 2000 looks at human rights as an intrinsic part of development—and at development as a means to realizing human rights. It shows how human rights bring principles of accountability and social justice to the process of human development." "Achieving rights for all people in all countries will require action and commitment from the major players in society. Tracing the struggle for human rights as common to all people, the Report concludes that the advances in the 21st century will be won by confronting entrenched economic and political interests." (from

Human Development Report 1999: Globalization with a Human Face

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

"Global markets, global technology, global ideas and global solidarity can enrich the lives of people everywhere. The challenge is to ensure that the benefits are shared equitably and that this increasing interdependence works for people—not just for profits. This year’s Report argues that globalization is not new, but that the present era of globalization, driven by competitive global markets, is outpacing the governance of markets and the repercussions on people.Characterized by “shrinking space, shrinking time and disappearing borders”, globalization has swung open the door to opportunities. Breakthroughs in communications technologies and biotechnology, if directed for the needs of people, can bring advances for all of humankind. But markets can go too far and squeeze the non-market activities so vital for human development. Fiscal squeezes are constraining the provision of social services. A time squeeze is reducing the supply and quality of caring labour. And an incentive squeeze is harming the environment. Globalization is also increasing human insecurity as the spread of global crime, disease and financial volatility outpaces actions to tackle them." (from

Human Development Report 1998: Consumption for Human Development

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

"The high levels of consumption and production in the world today, the power and potential of technology and information, present great opportunities. After a century of vast material expansion, will leaders and people have the vision to seek and achieve more equitable and more human advance in the 21st century?" (from

Human Development Reports 1997: Human Development to Eradicate Poverty

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

"Eradicating poverty everywhere is more than a moral imperative -it is a practical possibility. That is the most important message of the Human Development Report 1997. The world has the resources and the know-how to create a poverty-free world in less than a generation." (from

Human Development Report 1996: Economic Growth and Human Development

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

"The Report argues that economic growth, if not properly managed, can be jobless, voiceless, ruthless, rootless and futureless, and thus detrimental to human development. The quality of growth is therefore as important as its quantity for poverty reduction, human development and sustainability." (from

Human Development Report 1995: Gender and Human Development

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

"Human Development, If not engendered, is endangered. That is the simple but far- reaching message of Human Development Report 1995." "The Report analyses the progress made in reducing gender disparities in the past few decades, highlights the wide and persistent gap between women's expanding capabilities and limited opportunities, introduces two new measures for ranking countries on a global scale by their performance in gender equality, analyses the under- valuation and non-recognition of women's work and offers a five-point strategy for equalising gender opportunities in the decade ahead." (from

Human Development Report 1994: New Dimensions on Human Security

United Nations Development Report (UNDP).

"The Report introduces a new concept of human security, which equates security with people rather than territories, with development rather than arms. It examines both the national and the global concerns of human security." "The Report seeks to deal with these concerns through a new paradigm of sustainable human development, capturing the potential peace dividend, a new form of development co-operation and a restructured system of global institutions." "It proposes that the World Summit for Social Development approve a world social charter, endorse a sustainable human development paradigm, create a global human security fund by capturing the future peace dividend, approve a 20/20 compact for human priority concerns, recommend global taxes for resource mobilisation and establish an Economic Security Council." (from

Human Development Report 1993: People's Participation

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

"The Report examines how and how much people participate in the events and processes that shape their lives." "It looks at three major means of peoples' participation: people-friendly markets, decentralised governance and community organisations, especially non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and suggests concrete policy measures to address the growing problems of jobless growth." "The Report concludes that five pillars of a people centered world order must be built: New concepts of human security, New strategies for sustainable human development, New partnerships between state and markets, New patterns of national and global governance and New forms of international cooperation." (from

Human Development Report 1992: Global Dimensions on Human Development

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

"The richest 20% of the population now receives 150 times the income of the poorest 20%. The Report suggests a two-pronged strategy to get out of this dilemma. First, making massive investments in their people and strengthening national technological capacity can enable some developing countries to acquire a strong competitive edge in international markets (witness the East Asian industrialising tigers). Second there should be basic international reforms, including restructuring the Bretton Woods institutions, setting up setting up a Development Security council within the United Nations, and convening a World Summit on Social Development to consider a global compact for all nations and all people." (from

Human Development Report 1991: Financing Human Development

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

"The lack of political commitment, not of financial resources, is often the real cause of human neglect. This is the main conclusion of Human Development Report 1991- the second in a series of annual reports on the subject. The Report points to an enormous potential for restructuring of both national budgets and international aid allocations in favour of human development. But the plea for greater allocative efficiency and more effective spending does not mean indifference to the need for economic growth, or for increased resource mobilisation. On the contrary. The Report's position is that a more efficient and effective public sector will help strengthen the private role in human development. And the best argument for additional resources is that the existing funds are well spent." (from

Human Development Report 1990: Concept and Measurement of Human Development

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

"The Report addresses, as its main issue , the question of how economic growth translates - or fails to translate - into human development. The focus is on people and on how development enlarges their choices." "The Report discusses the meaning and measurement of human development, proposing a new composite index. But its overall orientation is practical and pragmatic." "It summarises the record of human development over the past three decades, and it analyses the experience of 14 countries in managing economic growth in the interest of the broadest possible number of people." With this as its foundation, the Report then sets forth strategies for human development in the 1990s, emphasising the importance of restructuring budgetary expenditures, including military expenditures, and creating an international economic and financial environment conducive to human development. (from

World Development Reports - World Bank

WDR 2009: Reshaping Economic Geography

World Bank.

"November 6, 2008 - Economic growth will be unbalanced, but development still can be inclusive. That is the main message of this year's World Development Report. The report proposes that spatial transformations along the following three dimensions will be necessary:

Higher density as seen in the growth of cities. Tokyo, the world's largest city is home to 35 million--a quarter of Japan's population--but stands on just four percent of its land.

Shorter distances as firms and workers migrate closer to economic opportunities. Eight million Americans change states every year, migrating to reduce distance to economic opportunity.

Fewer divisions as countries thin their economic borders to enter world markets to take advantage of specialization and scale. Border restrictions to flows of goods, capital, ideas, and people continue to prevent progress in Africa, in contrast with Western Europe."

World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development

World Bank, Byerlee, Derek and De Janvry, Alain F..

"World Development Report 2008 calls for greater investment in agriculture in developming countries.  The report warns that the sector must be placed at the center of the development agenda if the goals of halving extreme poverty and hunger 2015 are to be realized.

While 75 percent of the world's poor live in rural areas in developing countries, a mere 4 percent of ofical development assistance goes to agriculture.

In Sub-Saharn Africa, a region heavily reliant on agriculture for overall growth, public spending for farming is also only 4 percent of total gevernment spending and the sector is still taxed at relatively high levels. 

For the poorest people, GDP growth originating in agriculture is about four times more effective in raising incomes of extremely poor people than GDP growth originating outside the sector."

World Development Report 2007: Development and the Next Generation

World Bank, Jimenez, Emmanuel Y., and Bourguignon, François.

"Developing countries which invest in better education, healthcare, and job training for their record numbers of young people between the ages of 12 and 24 years of age, could produce suring economic growth and sharply reduced proverty, according to a new World Bank report launched at the Bank's Annual Meetings in Singapore.

With 1.3 billion young people now living in the developing world-the-largest ever yourth group in history-the report says there has never been a better time to invest in youth because they are healthier and better educated than previous generations, and will join the workforce with fewer dependends because of changing demographics.

However failuter to seize the opportunity to train them more effectively for the workplace, and to be active citizens, could lead to widespread disillusionment and social tensions."



World Development Report 2006: Equity and Development

World Bank.

"Inequality of opportunity, both within and among nations, sustains extreme deprivation, results in wasted human potential and often weakens prospects for overall prosperity and economic growth, concludes the 2006 World Development Report, the World Bank’s major annual publication." "To correct this situation and reduce poverty more effectively, Equity and Development recommends ensuring more equitable access by the poor to health care, education, jobs, capital, and secure land rights, among others. It also calls for greater equality of access to political freedoms and political power, breaking down stereotyping and discrimination, and improving access by the poor to justice systems and infrastructure." "Equity is complementary to the pursuit of long-term prosperity. Greater equity is doubly good for poverty reduction. It tends to favor sustained overall development, and it delivers increased opportunities to the poorest groups in a society."— François Bourguignon, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, The World Bank" "To level the playing field among countries, and thereby reduce global inequities that hurt the poor in developing countries, the report calls for removal of trade barriers in rich countries, flexibility to allow greater in-migration of lower-skilled people from developing countries, and increased —and more effective—development assistance." (from

World Development Report 2005: A Better Investment Climate for Everyone

World Bank.

"A Better Investment Climate for Everyone, the World Bank’s annual World Development Report for 2005, was launched on September 28, 2004. The Report focuses on what governments can do to improve the investment climates of their societies to increase growth and reduce poverty." (from

World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work For Poor People

World Bank.

"The World Development Report 2004 was launched in September 2003. The Report investigates how countries can accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by making services work for poor people." (from

World Development Report 1997 - The State in a Changing World

The World Bank.

"This is the twentieth in the annual series assessing major development issues. The report is devoted to the role and effectiveness of the state: what it should do, how it should do it, and how it can improve in a rapidly changing world. Governments with both centrally-planned and mixed economies are shrinking their market role because of failed state interventions. This report takes an opposite stance: that state ' s role in the institutional environment underlying the economy, that is, its ability to enforce a rule of law to underpin transactions, is vital to making government contribute more effectively to development. It argues against reducing government to a minimalist state, explaining that development requires an effective state that plays a facilitator role in encouraging and complementing the activities of private businesses and individuals. The report presents a state reform framework strategy: First, focus the state ' s activities to match its capabilities; and second, look for ways to improve the state ' s capability by re-invigorating public institutions. Successful and unsuccessful examples of states and state reform provide illustrations." (from the

World Development Report 1996: From to Plan to Market

The World Bank.

"This World Development Report examines the transition of countries with alternative systems of centrally planned economies back to a market orientation. These countries seceded from the world market economy between 1917 and 1950 and now face a massive restructuring task. This transition goes beyond typical reforms because the change is deep and systemic, requiring the establishment of key market institutions. This report analyzes two sets of overarching questions. The first series focuses on the initial challenges of transition and how different countries have responded. It examines: (i) whether differences in transition policies and outcomes reflect different reform strategies, or whether they reflect primarily country-specific factors such as economic structure, the level of development, or the impact of simultaneous political changes; (ii) whether strong liberalization and stabilization policies are needed up front, or if other reforms can progress equally well without them; (iii) whether privatization is necessary early in the reform process or at all; and (iv) whether there has to be a gulf between winners and losers from transition. The second set of questions looks beyond these challenges to the longer-term agenda of consolidating the reforms by developing the institutions and policies that will help the new market system to flourish. It focuses on: (i) how countries in transition should develop and strengthen the rule of law and control corruption and organized crime; (ii) how they can build effective financial systems; (iii) how governments should restructure themselves to meet the needs of a market system; (iv) how countries can preserve and adapt their human skills base; (v) why international integration is so vital for transition, and what the implications are for trading partners and capital flows; and (vi) how external assistance can best support countries in transition." (From

Corporate Social Responsibility: A Business Contribution to Sustainable Development

European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs.

In July 2001, the commission presented a Green Paper "Promoting a European Framework for Corporate Social Responsibility".  The aims of this document were, firstly, to launch a debate aobut the concept of corporate social responsibility (CRS) and, secondly, to identify how to build a partnership for the development of a European framework for the promotion of CSR.

Julia L. Eisenstein

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