Monday May 20, 2024

Pakistan down on Human Development Index by 7 slots

As per UNDP report, Pakistan’s life expectancy at birth is 66.1 years and expected years of schooling are 8

By Aimen Siddiqui
September 09, 2022
Courtesy UNDP
Courtesy UNDP 

KARACHI: Pakistan has dropped seven places in the Human Development Index, ranking 161 out of 192 countries in the 2021-2022 HDI, according to the UNDP report released on Thursday. 

In the previous year, Pakistan had stood at 154 out of 189 countries.

As per the report, Pakistan’s life expectancy at birth is 66.1 years and expected years of schooling are 8. The country’s gross per capita national income is $4,624. The report has identified that different climate shocks are affecting world order, pushing back the growth that was achieved in the past few years. While doing so, it has categorised the floods in Pakistan as “an example of the climate shocks seen around the world.”

Switzerland leads the way on the latest HDI while Norway and Iceland enjoy second and third positions. Among the nine South Asian countries -- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka -- only Pakistan and Afghanistan (180th position) are in the low human development category.

Bhutan (127), Bangladesh (129), India (132) and Nepal (143) are in the medium human development category. And crisis-riddled Sri Lanka has managed to improve its position by 9 points, reaching the 73rd position on the index, finding itself in the high human development category. Iran is three positions behind at 76; the next is Maldives at the 90th position.

The report, titled ‘Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a Transforming World’ has found out that around 90 per cent of countries have seen “reversals in human development” in the year of the survey, pointing to a world stuck in a never-ending cycle of crisis after crisis, causing global disruptions. Per the report, the two major factors responsible for these disruptions were the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.

The Human Development Index is a measure of countries’ standard of living, health and education. This is the first time in the last 30 years that human development in a majority of countries has gone in reverse for two consecutive years.

This has pushed human development to its 2016 levels, a huge blow to the progress made on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were meant to be completed by 2030. For the year 2021, the UN had projected an HDI value of 0.75 -- the actual value has come out to be 0.732.

The report adds that the world is in a “new uncertainty complex”. Such uncertainty is created by the two years of Covid-19 which saw a series of the lethal waves of the virus.

Even though the world took quick steps to defeat the virus, the report notes, and developed vaccines to counter the threats, unequal distribution of the vaccines has created more problems in a number of low-income countries.

The pandemic-induced lockdowns and school closures also took a toll on people’s mental wellbeing across the world. The report has found out that mental distress among male minority groups in the UK saw the largest increase, and men from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan were the most affected by the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Commenting on the crises impacting the world, UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner says that: “We have a narrow window to re-boot our systems and secure a future built on decisive climate action and new opportunities for all”.