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The 2011 Human Development Report (HDR) Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All was launched in Copenhagen, Denmark by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark on November 2.
The Report points to the mutually reinforcing relationship between environmental sustainability and human development. It argues that the remarkable progress in human development over recent decades that the HDR has documented cannot continue without bold global steps to reduce environmental risks and inequality. At the same time, the 2011 Report illustrates that environmental sustainability can be most fairly and effectively achieved by addressing health, education, income, and gender disparities together with the need for global action on energy production and ecosystem protection.
While countries like Jamaica show improved ranking on the Human Development Index, development progress in the world's poorest countries could be halted or even reversed by mid-century unless bold steps are taken now to slow climate change, prevent further environmental damage, and reduce deep inequalities within and among nations, according to projections in the 2011 Human Development Report.
The Report adds its voice to those urging consideration of an international currency trading tax or broader financial transaction levies to fund the fight against climate change and extreme poverty. A tax of just 0.005 percent on foreign exchange trading could raise $40 billion yearly or more, the Report estimates, significantly boosting aid flows to poor countries-amounting to $130 billion in 2010-at a time when development funding is lagging behind previously pledged levels due to the global financial crisis.
Such innovations will be necessary to sustain and possibly increase resource flows in support of development efforts in least developed countries as well as in middle income countries such as Jamaica, which, in a global recession, is at risk of losing ground in key human development indicators. Jamaica's HDI value for 2011 is 0.727-in the high human development category-positioning the country at 79 out of 187 countries and territories. Between 1980 and 2011, Jamaica's HDI value increased from 0.607 to 0.727, an increase of 20.0 per cent or average annual increase of about 0.6 per cent.
In the 2010 HDR, Jamaica was ranked 80 out of 169 countries. However, it is misleading to compare values and rankings with those of previously published reports, because the underlying data and methods have changed, as well as the number of countries included in the HDI.
Table A reviews Jamaica's progress in each of the HDI indicators. Between 1980 and 2011, Jamaica's life expectancy at birth increased by 2.6 years, mean years of schooling increased by 4.4 years and expected years of schooling increased by 2.7 years. Jamaica's gross national income (GNI) per capita increased by about 39.0 per cent between 1980 and 2011.
Table A: Jamaica's HDI trends based on consistent time series data, new component indicators and new methodology
While Jamaica is progressing in HDI rank the country's 2011 HDI of 0.727 is below the average of 0.741 for countries in the high human development group and below the average of 0.731 for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. From Latin America and the Caribbean, countries which are close to Jamaica in 2011 HDI rank and population size are Trinidad and Tobago and Dominican Republic which have HDIs ranked 62 and 98 respectively (see Table B).
Table B: Jamaica's HDI indicators for 2011 relative to selected countries and groups
Click here to find out more about Jamaica 2011 Human Development Indices
Latin American and Caribbean nations are reducing wide income inequalities while taking steps to confront deforestation and other environmental threats that could slow human development gains in the region, says the 2011 Human Development Report.
In June 2012, the region will be in the spotlight as host of the Rio + 20, landmark UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The 2011 Human Development Report elaborates on many of the issues which will be at the forefront of the Rio + 20 Conference.
ABOUT THIS REPORT: The annual Human Development Report is an editorially independent publication of UNDP, focuses the global debate on key development issues, providing new measurement tools, innovative analysis and often controversial policy proposals.
The Report is guided by the belief that development is ultimately a process of enlarging people's choices, not just raising national incomes.
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