August 7, 2020

UNDP warns of a new generation of "deep inequalities" in the world

The world is facing a new generation of deep inequalities in human development, while progress is being made in reducing the unresolved gaps of the twentieth century, warns the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in its annual report that will be presented this Monday in Bogotá.

"Under the shadow of the climate crisis and the profound technological change, inequalities in human development are taking new forms in the 21st century," says UNDP in its "Human Development Report 2019", which considers key to reduce inequalities that "are deeply rooted "and have provoked citizen demonstrations in different countries.

The document, prepared by a team led by the Portuguese economist Pedro Conceicao, says that, despite the progress made in the world in areas such as health, education and living conditions, the needs of "many people remain unsatisfied" and there are a new generation of inequalities that favors the richest.

According to UNDP, "progress is neglecting some of the most vulnerable people, even those who suffer the most extreme deprivations; in fact, the world is not walking the path that would allow them to eradicate them by 2030, as the Objectives of Sustainable development".

Therefore, it is necessary to "decouple the political power of the economic and create equitable conditions in the economy", as well as "continue working to close the gaps in basic deprivations and build policies to combat the new generation of inequalities of human development, currently in increase".


These inequalities are evident in the classification of 189 countries according to their Human Development Index (HDI) – which combines income, life expectancy and education – and is headed by Norway with a score of 0.954 and is closed by Niger with 0.377.

They complete the list of the top ten Switzerland (0.946), Ireland (0.942), Germany and Hong Kong, both with 0.939; Australia and Iceland (0.938), Sweden (0.937), Singapore (0.935) and the Netherlands (0.933), surpassing countries like Canada, ranked 13; United Kingdom and United States, both in fifteenth place; Japan (19); Spain (25) and France (26).

Slightly above Niger, the country with the worst HDI in the world, in the last twelve places on the list are only African nations: Guinea Bissau (0.461), Democratic Republic of the Congo (0.459), Mozambique (0.446), Sierra Leone (0.438 ), Burkina Faso and Eritrea (0.434) and Mali (0.427).

Burundi (0.423), South Sudan (0.413), Chad (0.401), Central African Republic (0.381) and Niger (0.377) are closed.


Among the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, the best placed are Chile, in 42nd place, with an HDI of (0.847), Argentina (48), Barbados (56), Uruguay (57) and Bahamas (60), which are considered by the UNDP as nations with "very high human development", like most Europeans.

They are followed by Panama (67), Costa Rica (68), Cuba (72), Saint Kitts and Nevis (73), Antigua and Barbuda (74), Mexico (76), Granada (78), Brazil and Colombia, tied in the 79; Peru (82), Ecuador (85), Dominican Republic and Saint Lucia, both in 89, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (94), which are part of the countries with "high human development".

In that group are also Venezuela and Jamaica, which share the 96th place, as well as Dominica, Paraguay and Suriname, in 98; Belize (103), Bolivia (114), Guyana (123), El Salvador (124), Guatemala and Nicaragua ranked 126th, and Honduras (132).

The only country in the Latin American region that appears among those of "low human development" is Haiti, which is ranked 169 and an HDI of 0.503.


The report highlights that in the first two decades of the 21st century, extreme deprivation has been greatly reduced but warns that there are inequalities that are at "unacceptable levels" such as freedoms to go to school, get a job or have enough food.

In that sense, 42% of adults living in countries with low human development have primary education, while that figure is 94% in those of very high human development, which shows the inequality gaps that are replicated in All educational levels.

Regarding access to technology, the situation is similar and, for example, "developing countries have a rate of 67 mobile phone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, half that in countries with very high human development."


UNDP proposes to the countries a series of initiatives that are related to the expansion and distribution of both capacities and income with options that include "pre-market, market and post-market policies" labor.

"Pre-market policies can reduce capacity disparities, helping all people to access the labor market with better preparation," while market policies "can serve to equate the situation of different groups to a greater or lesser extent." .

As for the postmarkets, they affect "inequalities once the market and the policies adopted in it have determined the distribution of income and opportunities."

That is why UNDP considers that human development in the 21st century should not be neglected and as an example puts inaction in the face of the current climate crisis in the world.

"We are approaching a precipice and, if we fall into it, the recovery can be very complicated. We have a choice, but we must exercise it now," the agency added.

. (tagsToTranslate) UNDP (t) alert (t) generation (t) deep (t) inequalities

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