Human Development Report 2011 - The challenge of equitable and sustainable progress

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UNDP presentation, May 2011

UNDP presentation, May 2011

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  • The current contributions of developing vis-a-vis developed countries to carbon emissions must be put into historical context, because the stock of CO2 currently trapped in the atmosphere is a product of historical emissions. Developed countries, currently representing about one-sixth of the global population, are responsible for almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of the gases emitted between 1850 and 2005.So far we have shown extraordinary progress in HDI over the past decades but that the growth of income, one of its components, is linked with rising carbon emissions. The emission of carbon, alongside other greenhouse gases, is changing our climate, a key threat to sustaining progress. But climate change – which is altering temperatures, precipitation and sea levels, among other effects – is not the only environmental problem that we face. The degradation of forests, oils and marine ecosystems is proving a chronic threat to wellbeing while falling biodiversity.
  • MPI will be available for 105+ countries (81 % of global population) – this includes at least 9 updates over 2010 and 1 new country (Uganda) – Note this is what is confirmed – additional countries possible if they get data/indicators are available. I did not include these.Note that the reference to ‘environmental’ deprivations/’environmental’ indicators is note quite correct – we mean here indicators that 1) have some public good characteristic – for which reason we exclude flooring and 2) have implications for the environment.
  • Need to fully integrate equity concerns in assessing environmental policies and reformsMainstream non-income dimensions of well-beingUnderstanding direct and indirect effects. Consideration of compensation mechanismsUnderstanding risks of extreme eventsRelevant groups – gender, rural/urban, indigenous etc.


  • 1. The challenge of equitable and sustainable progress: scope of HDR2011Ljubjana, May 2011
  • 2. Why Equity and Sustainability? – distributive justice
    Normative argument:
    “It would be a gross violation of the universalist principle if we were to be obsessed about intergenerational equity without at the same seizing the problem of intragenerational equity” (Anand and Sen, 2000)
    Empirical argument:
    “many problems of resource depletion and environmental stress arise from disparities in economic and political power. ...our inability to promote the common interest in sustainable development is often a product of the relative neglect of economic and social justice within and amongst nations”(Bruntlandt Commission, 1987)
    Can we identify intersections that allow for mutually supportive policies?
    -> Positive synergies
  • 3. Importance of risk and uncertainty
    Conceptual and measurement debates are often conceived in terms of substitutability between natural and man-made capital
    However, given risk, there is uncertainty about future substitutability
    This favors the strong sustainability view over weak sustainability
    The capabilities approach is concerned with the most disadvantaged, thus calls for action to avert catastrophic risks, and mitigate/adapt
  • 4. Defining sustainable human development
    The preservation – and whenever possible expansion – of the substantive freedoms and capabilities of people today while undertaking reasonable efforts to avoid risks that would seriously compromise the capability of future generations to have similar – or greater – freedoms.
  • 5. Synergies or trade-offs
  • 6. Inequality, (Un)Sustainability and HD: Potential Links
  • 7. Decline in inequality-adjusted HDI
  • 8. Trends in deprivations (MPI)
  • 9. EAP w/o China: 6; SA w/o India: 4, China+ India: 48
  • 10. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia most affected, particularly by precipitation
  • 11. The multidimensional poverty index (MPI)used in analysis of env deprivations of the poor
  • 12. ‘Environmental’ deprivations are pervasive among the MPI* poor
    New analysis highlights deprivations relating to dirty water, unimproved sanitation and indoor air pollution
    ‘Environmental’ deprivations contribute disproportionately to MPI poverty
    Overlap: 8 of 10 MPI poor are deprived in 2 or more ‘environmental’ indicators, 29 percent in all three indicators
    Deprivations are highest among MPI poor in cooking fuel across all regions, except the Arab States where lack of water is paramount
    Rural poor are more severely affected
    * Cooking fuel (dung, wood, charcoal), electricity, water supply and sanitation
  • 13. ‘Environmental deprivations’ among MPI poor by region
  • 14. Environment threats and deprivations affect multiple aspects of wellbeing
    Livelihoods – Direct threat to those dependent on agriculture, forestry and fishing
    Health – High burden of disease from indoor & outdoor air pollution & fecal/water borne disease, risk of increase in insect-borne disease & malnutrition
    Education – Shocks and uncertainty, coping strategies keep children out of school; lack of electricity impedes homework
    Empowerment – Burden of coping strategies (wood & water, soil degradation) limits opportunities for societal participation by women
    Equity – women and children tend to fare worse in natural disasters , and minorities suffer disproportionally environmental ‘bads’
  • 15. Rethinking our development model
    A clean and safe environment – a right, not a privilege 
    130+ constitutions address environmental norms
    Enforceability not always clear cut
    Increase right and access to information
    The role of the State
    balanced approaches - emphasize investments in non-income aspects of human development
    role of industrial policy in enabling development needs to be carefully considered
    Policies that stimulate specific economic activities
    Eg. policies aiming to reduce the carbon intensity of development - limiting incentives to new activities, automatic sunset provisions, clear benchmarks for success
    Promotion of structural change
  • 16. Integrating equity concerns into environmental policy design
  • 17. Thank you
    ‘let’s talk HDI’
    HD Research Papers
    Reg and NHDRs