News

    UN Report Finds Development Progress Even in Poorest Countries

    Children play outside a house in a township on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, 27 May 2010
    Children play outside a house in a township on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, 27 May 2010
    Margaret Besheer

    In a new report released on Thursday, the United Nations says most developing countries have made dramatic progress in health, education and basic living standards in recent decades, but gaps remain.

    The authors of the 2010 Human Development Report go a step beyond just looking at economic indicators such as Gross National Product to evaluate and rank countries.  They work from the premise that people are the real wealth of nations.  So in addition to economic factors, researchers studied progress in the areas of health and education.

    U.N. Development Program Administrator Helen Clark, whose division oversees the annual study, spoke about some of the report's findings, which includes a review of the human development record in 135 countries since 1970.

    "And the review finds, overall, people today are healthier, more educated, and wealthier than ever before," said Clark.  "Since 1970, globally we have seen average life expectancy rise from 59 to 70 years.  We have seen school enrollment grow from 55 to 70 percent and per capita incomes doubled to more than $10,000 on average in real terms."

    Clark said some of the poorest countries have seen some of the greatest human development gains.

    "This report shows that the gap in health and education outcomes between developed and developing countries has narrowed significantly over the past four decades, even though the income divide, with a few notable exceptions, has worsened," Clark added.

    Researchers studied 135 countries, representing 92 percent of the world's population.  Developed nations Norway, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Ireland led the rankings.

    The countries that showed the fastest progress during the past 40 years on economic, health and education fronts are Oman, China, Nepal, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.  Rounding out the top 10 are Laos, Tunisia, South Korea, Algeria and Morocco.

    "China, in fact, is the only country in the top 10 in terms of the Human Development Index, which gets there solely on the basis of income performance.  In all other cases, performance in health and education has been very important," said Jeni Klugman, the report's lead author.

    Klugman singled out South Korea and Indonesia for their balanced development approach and said that as a result, they have achieved significant success.

    But the study's authors found that many countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia are lagging.  They attribute this to factors such as armed conflict, HIV/AIDS and economic upheaval.

    For instance, in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, life expectancy has declined during the last four decades.  The same trend was found in the DRC, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    The authors measured poverty based not only on income, but also on other factors, including poor health and nutrition, bad housing conditions and social exclusion.  Using this multi-dimensional scale, the study concludes that about a third of the world's population, some 1.7 billion people, live in poverty.  That is more than the 1.3 billion that the World Bank estimates live on $1.25 or less per day.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.