Annual Human Development Report - Policymakers must rethink globally

In its latest „Human Development Report“, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) describes a fatal cycle of accumulating and mutually multiplying crises – climate change, wars, and the consequences of the pandemic are being felt worldwide. In Europe, the cost of living and energy prices are rising. In the Global South, they are mixing into a hurricane of hunger that threatens millions of lives, as UN secretary General António Guterres puts it so terribly aptly.

In the 32 years that the UNDP has published this report, 2022 marks the first time that the Human Development Index, which measures a nation’s health, education and living standards, has fallen for two years in a row. Over 90 per cent of all countries worldwide have worse scores compared to the 2020 annual report.

It is clear: we cannot continue with the same policies and answers. People feel helpless in the face of multiple challenges. It is not enough to lower the price of petrol in the short term through subsidies or to organise food exports. These measures are fundamental, but more is needed: long-term and decisive action is essential if we are to make a good and decent life possible for all.

We need to empower people around the world to take charge of their lives and improve them. The spiral of perceived, and often actual, powerlessness must be broken. We have no choice but to change the way we approach policy making as well as our economic model. We have to think globally; tackle problems sustainably and united. With the UN 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we have the tools to do so at hand.

The fight against poverty in all its forms, access to education for everyone and the protection of our planet and its resources are not mere calls for action in the SDGs. They give us clear indications of what we can do to make rapid progress in the fight against inequalities. The consistent implementation of the SDGs, global cooperation and determined action can pave the way for better living for all. Then we can advance human development and enable the good life that everyone deserves.

Find the full report from UNDP here.