UN agency to release first ever 'Human Development Report' on Arab world

2 May 2001

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced today that it plans to publish the first ever Human Development Report for the Arab region, focusing on the quality of life in 22 countries.

In a statement issued in New York, UNDP said the Arab Regional Human Development Report aimed to shift policymakers' focus from income growth as the only gauge of development to the need to see human well-being as the ultimate goal of development.

The report will address the prospects of harnessing globalization to promote equitable growth for every segment of society. Its overall theme -- "creating opportunities for the coming generations" -- was adopted by an advisory committee of prominent Arab scholars and officials.

The report will "take into consideration the dreams and aspirations of the Arab people and test them against the economic and social realities," said Dr. Rima Khalaf, director of the UNDP regional bureau for Arab States and chair of the advisory committee.

The human development approach asserts that a country's progress cannot be measured by economic criteria alone, since economic growth may not reach the poor segments of society. The concept of human development emphasizes the need to increase individual capabilities and opportunities by promoting people-centred development.

"The Arab countries can now look at themselves, and the human development rankings will stimulate policymakers to also look at their neighbours in the region," said Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Director of the Human Development Report Office at UNDP headquarters in New York. "I hope the countries will be brave by looking at issues like gender, participation and human rights."

The report will be published at the end of the year, in cooperation with the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.

 

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