Today the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched this year’s Human Development Report. The report includes the 2011 Human Development Index, which measures countries’ ability to provide opportunities for people to improve their living conditions. Norway is at the top of this index.
UNDP has reported on human development for 20 years. This year’s report recommends a substantial increase in funding for sustainable development to ensure better living conditions for all.
Norwegian Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim commented, “It is vital to take an integrated approach to environment and development. This is the most important thing we can do for people in poor countries. The fight against poverty and the fight against climate change are closely connected and we must address these challenges in tandem. Otherwise we will lose on both fronts.”
The Human Development Index was launched together with the report. It shows the status of human development today. Once again, Norway is at the top.
“This is of course good news for those of us who live in Norway,” commented Mr Solheim. “But it also shows the major challenges facing rich and poor parts of the world alike. We must ensure a better future for everyone.”
This year’s report shows how sustainable development is closely linked to equity and quality of life. Real progress in development in poor countries will only continue if we take bold steps to reduce environmental risk and inequitable distribution.
“People in poor countries carry a double burden of deprivation. They are more vulnerable to environmental degradation and are poorly equipped to deal with environmental problems. The report warns that the progress we have seen in recent years could stop or be reversed. We must address the serious environmental risks and the major inequalities,” said Mr Solheim.
Energy is a sector where poverty, inequality, climate change and environmental challenges are interlinked. The report points out that 1.5 billion people do not have access to electricity. In addition, 2.7 billion people lack access to clean cooking facilities. Women are particularly affected. Therefore gender equality and women’s rights are also a vital factor for development in poor countries.
“One of Norway’s main priorities in the fight against poverty is ensuring that more people have access to renewable and efficient sources of energy,” said Mr Solheim.