World’s most marginalized still left behind by global development priorities: UNDP's 2016 Human Development Report

Mar 27, 2017

A quarter-century of impressive human development progress continues to leave many people behind, with systemic, often unmeasured, barriers to catching up. A stronger focus on those excluded and on actions to dismantle these barriers is urgently needed to ensure sustainable human development for all.

These are the findings of the Human Development Report 2016, entitled ‘Human Development for Everyone’, released today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The report finds that although average human development improved significantly across all regions from 1990 to 2015, one in three people worldwide continue to live in low levels of human development, as measured by the Human Development Index.

“The world has come a long way in rolling back extreme poverty, in improving access to education, health and sanitation, and in expanding possibilities for women and girls,” said Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator at the global launch of the report today in Stockholm. “But those gains are a prelude to the next, possibly tougher challenge, to ensure the benefits of global progress reach everyone.”

The report shows that in almost every country, several groups face disadvantages that often overlap and reinforce each other, increasing vulnerability, widening the progress gap across generations, and making it harder to catch up as the world moves on.

Barbados’ HDI value for 2015 is 0.795— which put the country in the high human development category—positioning it at 54 out of 188 countries and territories. The rank is shared with Uruguay.

Between 1990 and 2015, Barbados’ HDI value increased from 0.714 to 0.795 (an increase of 11.3 percent), life expectancy at birth increased by 4.4 years, mean years of schooling increased by 2.4 years and expected years of schooling increased by 2.5 years. Barbados’ GNI per capita increased by about 13.2 percent between 1990 and 2015.

Barbados’ 2015 HDI of 0.795 is above the average of 0.746 for countries in the high human development group and above the average of 0.751 for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. From Latin America and the Caribbean, countries which are close to Barbados in 2015 HDI rank and to some extent in population size are Antigua and Barbuda and Bahamas, which have HDIs ranked 62 and 58 respectively.

“We place too much attention on national averages, which often mask enormous variations in people’s lives,” stated the report’s lead author, Selim Jahan. “In order to advance, we need to examine more closely not just what has been achieved, but also who has been excluded and why.”

The report stresses the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to build on these gains, noting that the agenda and human development approach are mutually reinforcing.

The report includes recommendations to reorient policies to ensure progress reaches those furthest behind, and urges reforms of global markets and global institutions to make them more equitable and representative.