“Rise of South” transforming global power balance, says 2013 Human Development Report

15 Mar 2013

Massive poverty reduction, middle-class expansion from major development gains in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean

Mexico City, 14 March 2013— The rise of the South is radically reshaping the world of the 21st century, with developing nations driving economic growth, lifting hundreds of millions of people from poverty, and propelling billions more into a new global middle class, says the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) 2013 Human Development Report (HDR). The Report—The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World—is being launched by UNDP’s Administrator Helen Clark and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico City today.

The Report identifies three main drivers of rapid development in the South: proactive states in development policies, greater integration with global markets and strong innovation in social policy.

In assessing the value of tapping global markets in human development – the extent to which countries have developed their share of international trade – this year’s Report introduces indicators on trade in goods and services to reflect on the extent to which each country is integrated into the global economy. A large number of countries have done particularly well: some of the largest countries have made rapid advances, but there has also been substantial progress in some smaller economies of the South. According to the Report, not only is this historic progress in human development creating opportunities for the South and the North to collaborate in new ways to advance human development and confront shared challenges such as climate change, but it is also demonstrating the increasing value of South-South cooperation. South-South trade, investment, finance and technology transfer are identified by the Report as means to support countries’ participation in the global markets.

The Report importantly notes that based on the lessons from the South, sustained progress has been a result of gradual and sequenced integration with the world economy according to national circumstances, and accompanied by investment in people, institutions and infrastructure.

”It is true, as the Report suggests, that new partnerships with rapidly growing economies in the South may hold great potential for countries like those in the Caribbean that are targeting even greater integration with global markets. But what is also true is that existing innovations in the South in areas such as social protection, renewable energy and climate-friendly technologies hold solutions that can be shared and used for the benefit of all” said Lara Blanco, Resident Representative a.i of UNDP Barbados and the OECS. “Within this region alone, with Barbados maintaining its presence in the very high human development category and with all six OECS countries in the high human development group, there are some successes right here at home that can provide lessons to be shared among ourselves as well as with developed nations.”

The HDR also notes some policy priorities that stand out for developing countries if they are to sustain this momentum, and if others are to learn from this expansion in human development gains. These include the need to confront environmental challenges such as climate change and local stresses on natural resources and ecosystems, a persistent message which also emerged strongly in the Human Development Report 2011. The impact of natural disasters, which are increasing in frequency and intensity, has been severe for the Small Island Developing States of this region and others: St. Lucia, for example, lost almost four times its GDP in 1988 from Hurricane Gilbert, and Grenada lost twice its GDP in 2004 from Hurricane Ivan. Enhanced investment in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation at the national, regional and international levels are key to confronting this challenge.

The need to manage demographic change is a further priority for the region: ageing populations and a larger, more educated workforce require improvements in educational approaches, coordinated with efforts to generate productive employment and social protection.

One of the key features of the HDR is the Human Development Index (HDI) – a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living. While values and rankings are not strictly comparable with those of previously published reports, as underlying data and methods have changed, the HDI does provide the opportunity for countries to analyze long-term trends in these dimensions of human development.

As the region considers the challenges and opportunities presented by the 2013 Human Development Report, the UNDP Sub-regional Office for Barbados and the OECS is committed to facilitating emerging discussion on these issues during our regional launch events in Barbados and in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in April. The events will address the strategies for sustainable human development relevant to the Caribbean and globally as discussed in the Report, and consider the policy implications as we move toward the 2015 target for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

                     * * *

ABOUT THIS REPORT: The Human Development Report is an editorially independent publication of the United Nations Development Programme. For free downloads of the 2013 Human Development Report in 10 languages, plus additional reference materials on its indices and specific regional implications, please visit: http://hdr.undp.org.

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations".

Contact Information

New York
Mr. William Orme
Tel: +1 212 906 6763
Cell: +1 917 607 1026
Ms. Sophia Qureshi
Tel: +1 212 906 5797
Cell: +1 202 446 7679
sophia.qureshi@u ndp.org
Ms. Botagoz Abdreyeva
Tel: +1 212 906 3690

Mr. Pablo Basz
Tel:+507 305 4864
Cell: +507 6674 2224

Barbados and the OECS
Ms. Lara Blanco
Tel: +1 246 467 6003
Cell: +1 246 836 6003
Ms. Marsha Caddle
Tel: +1 246 467 6005
Cell: +1 246 836 6005

Contact UNDP Barbados and the OECS
Phone 1 (246) 467 6007
communications.bb@undp.org Fax: 1 (246) 429 2448