HDI decline

Published in Dawn on March 15, 2024

THE latest Human Development Report from the UNDP presents a bleak global outlook, characterised by deepening inequalities and political polarisation. The report underscores the urgent need for collective action to navigate through these tumultuous times. Pakistan’s position in this global scenario is particularly concerning. Its descent from the 161st to the 164th position in the Human Development Index should serve as cause for deep introspection. This setback is a reflection of not just local but also global gridlocks that hinder the advancement towards equitable development. In the face of increasing inequalities, the report reveals a concerning trend of reversing progress in bridging the gap between wealthy and poorer nations. For Pakistan, the decline in the HDI ranking is attributed to a combination of social, economic, and political pressures, including macroeconomic challenges and the after-effects of the devastating floods of 2022.

Pakistan’s unchanged ranks in the Gender Inequality Index and the Multidimensional Poverty Index highlight enduring social disparities, necessitating focused and sustainable interventions. The report underscores the critical need for global cooperation in addressing these inequalities, with an emphasis on climate stability and fair technology access as key areas for action. For Pakistan, this means prioritising climate and Sustainable Development Goals financing and enhancing governance to provide global public goods efficiently. The challenges ahead demand innovative solutions and a commitment to overcoming not only local but also global hurdles to development. The report’s call for new financial mechanisms and governance approaches offers a pathway for Pakistan to not only improve its HDI ranking but also contribute to a more equitable world. As Pakistan embarks on this journey, it is imperative that the new government focus on systemic change, leveraging global cooperation to address the root causes of inequality and polarisation. By aligning with global efforts and prioritising sustainable development and equity, Pakistan can make significant strides towards a brighter, more equitable future for all.

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