The Human Development Report (HDR) 2021/22 – titled “Uncertain Times, Uncertain Lives: Shaping Our Future in a Changing World” – paints a picture of a global society is swinging from crisis to crisis and risks increasing deprivation and injustice.
Topping the list of events causing major global disruption are COVID-19 pandemic, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have resulted in far-reaching economic and social shifts, dangerous planetary changes, and a massive increase in polarization.
1) First consecutive decline in three decades
For the first time in 32 years, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has already calculated it, Human Development IndexA measure of a country’s health, education and standard of living, has fallen globally for two consecutive years.
This signals a deepening crisis for many regions, and Latin America, the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have been particularly hard hit.
Human development has fallen back to 2016 levels, reversing much of the progress on Sustainable development goals which makes? Agenda 2030United Nations blueprint for a more just future for people and the planet.
“The world is scrambling to respond to successive crises,” said Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. “We have seen cost-of-living and energy crises, while tending to focus on quick-fix solutions like fossil fuel subsidies, immediate relief tactics are delaying the lasting systemic changes we must make“.
Mr. Steiner went on to call for a new sense of global solidarity to tackle “common, interconnected challenges”, but acknowledged that the international community is currently “paralysed in implementing changes” this change”.
Research shows that insecurity and polarization hinder efforts to bring about the solidarity needed to tackle major global challenges, with data showing that the most insecure are more likely to have more extreme views. This phenomenon has been observed even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
2) COVID-19 is ‘a door to a new reality’
Now in its third year, the pandemic is described in the report as “a door to a new reality”, rather than a business detour as usual.
The development of effective vaccines is hailed as a great achievement, credited with saving around 20 million lives and a testament to the immense power of innovation combined with will. politics.
At the same time, the deployment of vaccines has exposed the great inequality of the global economy. Access is meager in many low-income countries, and women and girls suffer the most, shoulder more caregiving and family responsibilities, and face violence. increased force.
3) We are living in a new ‘uncertainty complex’
Consecutive waves of new COVID-19 variants, and warnings that future pandemics are increasingly likely, have contributed to a rapidly increasing climate of general uncertainty. the dizzying pace of technological change, its impact on the workplace, and growing concern around the climate crisis.
The study’s authors warn that the global volatility of the pandemic is nothing compared to what the world would experience if a loss of biodiversity occurs, and that societies find themselves having to tackle the challenge. the method of growing food on a large scale without insect pollinators. “For the first time in human history,” the report claims, “by man [man-made] existential threats are greater than those from nature”.
Three layers of the “uncertainty complex” are identified today: dangerous planetary change, a transition to new industrialized ways of organizing society, and increasing social and political polarization.
“It’s not just hurricanes that are getting bigger and more dangerous because of the human impact on the environment,” the report said. “It is as if, through our social choices, their destructive pathways are directed at the most vulnerable among us.”
4) There is opportunity in uncertainty
While change is inevitable, the way we respond is not. While there are many well-founded concerns around the growing use of Artificial Intelligence, there are many upsides to this technology that, among other things, helps model the effects of change. climate, improving individual learning and helping in drug development.
One achievement of the post-COVID world is the creation of new mRNA vaccine technology, which promises a breakthrough in the treatment of other diseases.
The pandemic has also normalized paid sick leave, voluntary social distancing and self-isolation, all of which are important to our response to future pandemics.
5) We can chart a new course
The past three years may show what we are capable of, as we move beyond conventional practices and lead us to transform our institutions so they are more relevant to today’s world.
According to Mr. Steiner, the analysis in the report can help to chart a new direction for the current global uncertainty.
“We have a narrow window to restart our systems and ensure a future built on decisive climate action and new opportunities for all,” said the development director.
This new direction involves implementing investment-focused policies, from renewable energy to pandemic preparedness; insurance, including social protection, to prepare our society for the vicissitudes of an uncertain world; and innovation helps countries better respond to whatever challenges come next.
“To navigate uncertainty, we need to double down on human development and look beyond improving people’s wealth or health,” said Pedro Conceição of UNDP, lead author of the report. ‘ said Pedro Conceição of UNDP, lead author of the report. “These things are still important. But we also need to protect the planet and give people the tools they need to feel safer, regain a sense of control over their lives, and have hope for the future.”