Nigeria launches Global Human Development Report 2016; Government reaffirms commitment to leaving no one behindApr 18, 2017
Nigeria became among the latest countries across the globe to launch the 2016 Global Human Development Report. Under the theme “Human Development for Everyone” the report, which has been launched in different locations globally, highlights some of the barriers still hindering development to reach everyone everywhere. Globally, more than 1 billion people have escaped extreme poverty since 1990 – yet many are left behind. Despite remarkable progress, 1 in 3 people still live in low human development.
The report notes that there has been impressive progress on many fronts in human development, with people living longer, more people rising out of extreme poverty and fewer people being malnourished. Human development has enriched human lives—but unfortunately not all to the same extent, and even worse, not every life.
During the launch in Abuja, UNDP Resident Representative, Edward Kallon, pointed that the launch was taking place during a period characterised by unprecedented challenges and at the same time a growing sense of hope and optimism for Africa’s emergence.
Most African countries have registered commendable progress in human development over the past two decades; narrowing the North-South divide in basic human development in the process. However, “the fall in the global prices of major export commodities such as iron ore, copper, crude oil, gold, cotton and cocoa since late 2014 meant that commodity dependent Sub-Sahara African countries have had to undertake fiscal re-adjustments with some negative impact on social sector spending and, ultimately, human development.” Edward pointed.
Increasing insecurity and economic downturn that currently face many countries in the region, Nigeria included, continue to pose challenges for the region’s efforts to improve human development. Some countries such as the Central Africa Republic and South Sudan have experienced declines in human development over the past five years primarily due to persistent crises and conflicts; reinforcing the notion that “there can be no development without peace” and “there can be no peace without development”.
To ensure human development for everyone, the Report asserts that merely identifying the nature of and the reasons for the deprivation of those left out is not enough. The Report forcefully argues that caring for those left out requires a four-pronged policy strategy at the national level: reaching those left out using universal policies (for example, inclusive growth, not mere growth), pursuing measures for groups with special needs (for example, persons with disabilities), making human development resilient and empowering those left out.
The report shows that between 2005 and 2015, Nigeria’s HDI increased from 0.466 to 0.527 - a 13.1 percent increase. However, the humanitarian challenges in the North-East and the economic recession witnessed in 2016, have made the case for urgency in the design and implementation of policies and programmes that will ensure that the upward trend in human development is not reversed. “In this regard, I am glad to note that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) with focus on restoring growth, investing in people and building a globally competitive economy launched by the Federal Government outlines several medium-term policies and programmes that can keep Nigeria on a positive development trajectory.” Edward stated.
In giving her keynote address, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, stated that the launch of the Report was timely as it came just after the Government of Nigeria launched “Nigeria Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP) will guide the country’s economic path for the next four years. “The Report comes as Nigeria works to actively implement programs aimed at meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, both at the Federal and State levels.” She added.
The Honourable Minister emphasized that Government was working proactively to address the current economic challenges facing the Nation, and to implement policies and programmes that promote human development and are aimed at ensuring that no one is left behind. “We will also strive to ensure that the disadvantaged communities receive the extra support they need. This includes those living in conflict affected areas, women and girls, and rural communities.” She added.
The launch was attended by representatives of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, development partners, UN Agencies and academia. Several media engagements with UNDP Nigeria representatives were conducted following the report – this gave the public added opportunity to discuss the report findings and recommendations.