UNDP launches Human Development Report 2013

Mar 15, 2013

Report identifies Bangladesh among 18 countries that achieved ‘rapid progress

Dhaka, 15th March – Rapid human development progress in Bangladesh, India and other South Asian nations is helping drive a historic shift in global dynamics. Hundreds of millions of people are rising out of poverty and billions more are poised to join the South’s fast-growing middle class, says the 2013 Human Development Report, launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Friday.

The HDR 2013 identifies Bangladesh as belonging to a group of Highlighted 18 countries in the world who have seen rapid progress in human development. Other members of the Highlighted 18 include China, India, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The 2013 Human Development Report – “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World” – tells the story of more than 40 developing countries that have made striking human development gains in recent years. It attributes their achievements to strong national commitment to better public health and education services, innovative poverty eradication programs, and strategic engagement with the world economy.

It says, these positive trends can and should continue – and even accelerate - in decades to come.
“The South as a whole is driving global economic growth and societal change for the first time in centuries,” writes Miss Clark in the Report’s foreword.

The event in Dhaka was coincided with a global event twelve hours earlier in Mexico, where it was launched by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico City.
The 2013 report sees Bangladesh ranked at 146 out of 187 countries and territories.

“Bangladesh, with much slower economic growth and half India’s per capita income, does nearly as well—and better on some indicators,” the report says. “It has sustained growth by increasing the rate of public investment and achieving great success in textiles. By 2010, Bangladesh’s share of world apparel exports had increased to about 4.8 percent, from about 0.8 percent in 1990.”

At the Dhaka event, UNDP launched the first-ever Bangla-language translation of the HDR Executive Summary.
Speaking at launch of the report, UNDP Country Director Pauline Tamesis said Bangladesh’s progress is all the more remarkable given the exceptionally challenging conditions it has faced.

“What I want to note in particular is that, in contrast to the emerging economic powers, Bangladesh's human development progress has been still stronger than the economic gains. This country’s across the board performance, mapped by growth in its HDI, has been exceptional – which has grown by some 65% on 1980 . Particular highlights include a very strong performance on gender, in regional terms,” Ms Tamesis said.
Dhaka University professor of Economics Dr Selim Raihan, and UNDP Assistant Country Director KAM Morshed presented some key findings of the report at the launch event.

“On all the three key fronts - life expectancy, education and economic prosperity – that count in the human development index, and for many more social indicators, Bangladesh’s performance has been extremely strong,” Mr Morshed pointed out.

But speakers also pointed out that the report also identifies key weaknesses for Bangladesh and other emerging economies, largely led by poverty and gender disparity, compounded by the impacts of climate change.
The Multidimensional Poverty Index, an alternative to income-based poverty estimates shows the proportion of the population living in multidimensional poverty is high throughout South Asia, with the highest rates in Bangladesh (58%), India (54%), Pakistan (49%), and Nepal (44%).

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 ten languages, plus additional reference materials on its indices and specific regional implications, please visit: http://hdr.undp.org.

Contact Information

For further information please contact: Mahtab Haider, Communications Analyst, UNDP via email: mahtab.haider@undp.org, ph: +88 02 815 0088, ext. 1805, mob: +88 01713 014 604