The national launch of the 2014 Human Development Report (HDR) has taken place in Accra, with a call to address the widening inequality gap attendant upon Ghana’s economic growth. In the report, Ghana is ranked 138 out of 187 countries and territories, with a 2013 Human Development Index value of 0.573— which is in the medium human development category.
In her opening remarks as the Chairperson of the event, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Nana Oye Lithur said addressing inequalities and ensuring human development is indeed complex and requires a multidimensional, complementary and well-integrated approach.
“Aside the call to address the widening inequality gap attendant upon our economic growth, it is important we acknowledge the fact that economic growth in itself is meaningless unless it is closely linked to human development”, Hon. Oye Lithur said.
The Minister acknowledged that governments need to work harder in order to reduce the inequality gap. She added, “It is in this regard that the Government of Ghana has initiated measures, including legal, policy and institutional reforms to strengthen existing systems to ensure that the needs of the vulnerable are adequately addressed”.
Hon Oye Lithur mentioned the National Health Insurance Scheme, Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) programme, and the Labour Intensive Public Works as some of the programmes the Government of Ghana has implemented to improve the socio-economic status of the poor and vulnerable.
Delivering the welcome address, the acting UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Gita Welch was full of praise for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection for being at the forefront of providing leadership on a number of critical issues, such as scaling-up the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) programme, which provides cash and health insurance to the extremely poor.
Sharing highlights of the 2014 HDR, Ms. Gita Welch said the report looks at the relation of vulnerabilities, human insecurity and resilience with regards to human development. “The 2014 HDR points out that it is not enough to reduce poverty, but we need to ensure that people are able to stay out of poverty; while we pay attention to those who are not poor, but could very easily be thrown into poverty as a result of crisis and other events”, she explained.
The 2014 Human Development Report also points out that while national policy space to enhance coping capabilities is becoming more constrained as globalization deepens, public goods needed to build long-term coping capabilities and resilient societies are underprovided.
Other presentations by Ms. Radhika Lal and Mr. Kordzo Sedegah, UNDP Economics Advisor and Economics Specialist respectively provided global trends and key messages from the report as well as human development indicators for Ghana. Prof. Jacob Songsore of the University of Ghana and Mr. Majeed, a Planning Officer at the Wa Municipality also provided some reflections on vulnerability and resilience in Ghana.
The well-attended launch was also witnessed by heads of UN agencies, members of the diplomatic corps, Ministry Of Finance, development partners, development practitioners, local government officials, civil society organisations, research, academia and the media.
It is expected that the successful launch of the 2014 HDR in Ghana will generate the requisite interest and stimulate discussions among stakeholders for improved action and benefits to the people of Ghana.
The full report can be found here.
The 2014 Human Development Report “Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience” – shows that overall global trends in human development are positive. Yet, people at all ages are also facing threats and challenges to their wellbeing, including by natural or human-induced disasters and crises.
While every individual and society is vulnerable to risk, some suffer far less harm and recover more quickly than others when adversity strikes. The Report asks why that is and considers vulnerability and resilience through a human development lens.
The Report takes a people-centred approach. It identifies the ‘structurally vulnerable’ groups of people who are more vulnerable than others by virtue of their history or of their unequal treatment by the rest of society.
Based on analysis of the available evidence, the Report makes a number of important recommendations for achieving a world which addresses vulnerabilities and builds resilience to future shocks. It calls for universal access to basic social services, especially health and education; stronger social protection, including unemployment insurance and pensions; and a commitment to full employment, recognizing that the value of employment extends far beyond the income it generates.
Overall human development levels continue to rise, but at a slower pace than before. The 2013 HDI value at the global level is 0.702, while the 2012 HDI was 0.700.
More than 15 percent of the world’s people remain vulnerable to multidimensional poverty.
In 16 countries human development levels for women are equal or higher than those for men.
The steepest declines in HDI values this year occurred in Central African Republic, Libya and Syria, where ongoing conflict contributed to a drop in incomes.
Despite registering the biggest drop in overall inequality this year, the Latin America and Caribbean region still faces extensive income inequality.
South Asia has the largest multidimensionally poor population, with more than 800 million poor and over 270 million near-poor – that is, more than 71 percent of its population.
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