March 31, 2017
The 2016 edition of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Human Development Report (HDR) was officially released at an event held on March 21 in Stockholm, Sweden. On the same day, a press conference was held at the United Nations University Centre in Tokyo, Japan. JICA Research Institute (JICA-RI) Deputy Director Nobuko Kayashima was one of the experts who spoke at the conference. She praised the focus on the question “Who has been left behind?”
Since its first publication in 1990, the Human Development Report has provided analysis of the current state and challenges in major development issues and the latest international trends. The theme of the 2016 edition is “Human Development for Everyone.”
Tetsuo Kondo, director of the UNDP Representative Office in Japan, presented the content of the report. He pointed out that in the report the Human Development Index (HDI) and related indices show improvement since the 1990s. However, there are still parts of the world population — including women and girls, indigenous peoples, migrants, refugees, and ethnic minorities — who have been “left behind” in a variety of areas such as education and sanitation. Kondo said that to ensure the human development of all people, including those who have been “left behind,” it is necessary to formulate national policy and reform international organizations. He also expressed his hope for the report to sound an alarm about the growing trend of protectionism worldwide.
In that context, Kayashima commented on the landmark content of the report, pointing out it was the first comprehensive report to be issued after the international community adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. She said that the question ‘Who has been left behind?’, which was not fully discussed in the debate on the SDGs, has been clarified in the report. She pointed out that the report gives some hints for specific measures toward achieving the SDGs. She also said that averaged indices don’t always reflect reality, and that the different measures should be taken for each group of “people left behind.” In addition, she emphasized the importance of sharing diverse development experiences amongst the organizations involved, including JICA, which has been working for human security as part of its philosophy.
Professor Yasushi Katsuma at Waseda University, a member of the Advisory Panel for the report, pointed out that the report took into consideration disparities between nations and inside each nation. He also mentioned that the report could provide a ground for narrowing disparities in order to fight against the nationalism which has emerged from developed countries.
The press conference was attended by members of the media and representatives from NGOs. Comments and questions from the floor included: “What kind of the impact trends in the United States and nationalism will have on development?” and “It's becoming more difficult to draw a line between the developed world and the developing world.”