Despite the Progress in Human Development, Vulnerable Groups Still Left Behind

The concept of human development puts people at the center of development, both as its drivers and its beneficiaries. Despite huge overall progress, 200 million people worldwide are still unemployed, 73 million of whom are young people.

Yerevan, 07 June 2017 – Between 1990 and 2015, there has been impressive progress in human development, but in almost every country, vulnerable groups, such as women and girls, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees, and ethnic minorities face disadvantages that often overlap and reinforce one another, making it harder to catch up with others who enjoy higher standards of living. Global reforms on governance of multilateral institutions, strengthening global civil society, and on better regulation of global markets are critical to achieve genuinely universal development.

These are the key findings of the Human Development Report 2016 entitled ‘Human Development for Everyone, presented at UNDP in Armenia with participation of Bradley Busetto, UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia, and Vache Gabrielyan, RA Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of International Economic Integration and Reforms.  

The vision in the Report draws from and builds on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the 193 UN member states endorsed in 2015. The Report calls for the provision of decent jobs and access to basic services, and recognizes the importance of giving vulnerable groups greater participation, autonomy and voice in decision-making processes.

“The concept of human development puts people at the center of development, both as its drivers and its beneficiaries. Despite huge overall progress, 200 million people worldwide are still unemployed, 73 million of whom are young people. In 2015, 65 million people were forced out of their homes due to conflicts – the most since the Second World War. To tackle these challenges, it is necessary to put human rights and inclusivity - the bedrocks of human development - at the forefront of polices to empower those left behind. Agenda 2030 and the SDGs provide the best framework, both at global and national levels, to make sure that we leave no one behind,” said Bradley Busetto, UN RC/UNDP RR in Armenia.

Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region has the highest Human Development Index (HDI) among developing regions. The HDI is a summary measure for assessing progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living. The region is also the least unequal among the developing ones with only a 13 percent loss in its HDI score due to inequality. Despite having enjoyed relatively high levels of well-being, the Report argues that the region could see inequalities and exclusion sharply rise if measures are not taken to protect vulnerable groups from unemployment, discrimination and other shocks.

Armenia’s HDI value for 2015 is 0.743, which put the country in the high human development category, positioning it at 84 out of 188 countries and territories. Between 1990 and 2015, Armenia’s HDI value increased by 17.2 percent, life expectancy at birth increased by 7.0 years, and expected years of schooling by 2.0 years, while the country’s Gross National Income per capita registered an increase of about 122.0 percent.            

Armenia’s HDI value is below the average of 0.746 for countries in the high human development group and below the average of 0.756 for countries in Europe and Central Asia. Armenia’s immediate neighbors – Iran, Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan, have HDIs ranked 69, 70, 71 and 78 respectively, while the Russian Federation is ranked 49th.   

In 2010, the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI) was introduced, which is the HDI ‘discounted’ for inequalities. Armenia is in a better position in IHDI rankings: when the value is discounted for inequality, Armenia’s HDI falls to 0.674, a loss of 9.3 percent due to inequality. The average loss due to inequality for high HDI countries is 20 percent and for Europe and Central Asia it is 12.7 percent.

In terms of gender-based inequalities in reproductive health, empowerment, and economic activity, Armenia is ahead of its neighbors, with a Gender Inequality Index value of 0.293, ranking 61st out of 159 countries. 10.7 percent of parliamentary seats are held by women, and 98.5 percent of adult women have reached at least a secondary level of education compared to 98.1 percent of their male counterparts. Female participation in the labour market is 54.9 percent compared to 73.6 for men.

The five frontrunners in the 2015 global HDI rankings are Norway, Australia, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark. At the bottom of the HDI rankings are Central African Republic, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Burundi.