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979. UNDP Human Development Report 2023-2024

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979. UNDP Human Development Report 2023-2024


On March 13, the United Nations Development Program released its 2023-2024 Human Development Report, titled Breaking the Gridlock: Reimagining Cooperation in a Polarized World. The report sounded an alarm about the perilous state of uneven development, rising inequality, and deepening political divides, while expressing optimism about the potential of multilateralism to foster global interdependence.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-21, the Human Development Index (HDI), a comprehensive measure that includes life expectancy, education, literacy, and income, experienced a two-year setback before making a notable recovery in 2023. However, this apparent improvement in the overall HDI masked stark inequalities: wealthy nations made unprecedented development gains, while nearly half of the world's poorest countries remained stuck at pre-Cold War levels of development.

Here are key statistical findings from the report:

  • In 2023, all 38 OECD countries had higher HDI scores than in 2019.
  • More than half (18 out of 35) of the least developed countries that experienced HDI declines in 2020-21 have yet to recover to their 2019 levels.
  • Developing regions around the world have fallen short of the HDI progress expected based on pre-2019 trends, indicating a shift to a lower HDI trajectory and casting doubt on their prospects for human development.
  • Of particular concern are the human development setbacks in Afghanistan and Ukraine, with Afghanistan experiencing a decade of HDI regression and Ukraine reaching its lowest HDI level since 2004.
  • Countries ruled by populist regimes tend to have lower GDP growth, with estimates suggesting that after 15 years of populist rule, GDP per capita is 10% lower than in non-populist countries. 

Concerned about these growing inequalities, the report calls for concerted efforts in four key areas:

  • Global Public Goods: Emphasizing the need for international cooperation in creating public goods to combat climate change amid the unique challenges of the Anthropocene era.
  • Digital Public Goods: Advocating for the equitable use of technology to advance human development on a global scale.
  • Financial Mechanisms: Proposing the creation of new or expanded financial instruments to facilitate international cooperation, complementing traditional aid to low-income countries with new ways of working together.
  • Governance and mitigating political divisions: Recommending innovative governance models that reflect people's voices and effectively address misinformation to bridge political divides.


UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). 2024. Human Development Report 2023-24: Breaking the gridlock: Reimagining cooperation in a polarized world. New York. https://hdr.undp.org/content/human-development-report-2023-24


Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Information Program)

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