Global 2013 Human Development Report launched in Montenegro

19 Apr 2013

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"Economic growth alone does not automatically reflect on progress when it comes to human development, says “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World,” the 2013 Human Development Report, presented by the UNDP Montenegro in country's capital Podgorica. „Policies oriented towards the poor and significant investment in people's skills - placing emphasis on education, nutrition and health, as well as the skills needed for employment - can increase access to decent work and ensure sustainable development.“  
       
According to the Report, Montenegro ranks 52nd out of 187 countries and territories and is placed in the “high human development” category. Montenegro ranks better than some Western Balkans countries from the “high human development” category, such as Serbia (64), The FYROM Macedonia (78) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (81). At the same time, it is behind most of European Union member states, including Slovenia (ranked at 21), the Czech Republic (28), Estonia (33), Slovakia (35), Hungary (37), Poland (39), Lithuania (41), Latvia (44) and Croatia (47).

At the presentation held for representatives of government, non-governmental and academic sectors, international agencies, embassies and media, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to Montenegro Mr. Rastislav Vrbensky reiterated some of the most compelling messages from the global presentation of the Report held in Mexico City in mid-March. ”Developmental states must get policy priorities right, they should be people-centred, promoting opportunities while protecting against downside risks,” Mr. Vrbensky emphasized. “Several leading nations of the South are creating new paradigms for advancing human development and reducing inequalities, through innovative social policies that are increasingly studied and emulated worldwide. For example, pioneering cash-transfer programmes in Brazil, India and Mexico have helped to narrow income gaps and improve health and education in poor communities.”

Mr. Vrbensky also underlined some of the findings of the Report related with inequality, especially in terms of gender. “Countries with less inequality do better and improve more in human development, while women’s education is essential to reduce gender inequality. Also, environmental inaction, especially regarding climate change, can halt or even reverse human development progress in the world’s poorest countries and communities.”

When speaking about the region of Europe and CIS, Mr. Vrbensky reminded that the average HDI value for this part of the world (0.771) is above all other regions’ average and above the world average of 0.694. “The region has one of the lowest employment-to-population ratios (58.4%) only above Arab States which is the lowest. The ratios vary from below 37.2% in Bosnia and Herzegovina to nearly 71% in Azerbaijan. Youth unemployment also ranges from a low 5% in Kazakhstan to 60% in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The average overall life satisfaction based on the Gallup World Poll for the region is at 5.3 (on scale 0- 10), which is the same as the world average. The average is the highest for Latin America and Caribbean,” said Mr. Vrbensky.

Ms. Božena Jelušić, Lead Author of the National Human Development Report for Montenegro on Human Capital presented the data from the Report related to Montenegro. “On the HDI scale Montenegro is near Latvia and Lithuania, which, however, have a higher human capital value due to a higher per capita income. Montenegro’s HDI value for 2012 is 0.791 — in the high human development category — positioning the country at 52 place out of 187 countries and territories. The rank is shared with Palau. Between 2005 and 2012, Montenegro’s HDI value increased from 0.756 to 0.791, an increase of 5 percent or average annual increase of about 0.6 percent. While Montenegro’s 2012 HDI is above the average for countries in the high human development group, according to the most recent survey data for this country 1.5 percent of the population live in multidimensional poverty and additional 1.9 percent was vulnerable to multiple deprivations,” she explained. “A strong, proactive and responsible state develops public and private sectors based on a long-term vision, common norms and values. It respects rules and institutions that contribute to confidence-building and social cohesion; such a state bears in mind that countries that maintain growth in income have not always managed to preserve viable growth. A strong and responsible country works on market regulation, encouraging of export, industrial development and technological adaptation. In this context, human capital should be a priority to any country, as well as investment in education, health and other public services. It is not a supplement to the progress but its integral part, because the rapid growth of high-quality jobs is crucial for human development.”

Ms. Jelušić claims that huge foreign investments in Montenegro remain unexploited for the betterment of all citizens. “Our country has had a strong inflow of foreign direct investment, but it has not developed economic efficiency, and in some areas even sustainability of development has been compromised. Social norms and social capital have suffered the heaviest impact thanks to the transition and war conflicts in the past couple of decades that threatened the development of human capacity and institutions,” she indicated.

“The Report also points out that the disparity in Montenegro is not high, but it is important bearing in mind the size of the country. Infant mortality and mortality of women in childbirth is reduced, but there still are so few women in the parliament and not enough of them in business,” Ms. Jelušić said. “We know that female entrepreneurship is very weak, the majority of capital is still in the hands of men, and women are not economically independent and ready to participate in the labour market,” she concluded.

Participants in the presentation were also shown a video about the global launch of Human Development Report 2013 in Mexico City on March 14the 2013 by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, report author Khalid Malik, hosted by Mexican President Enrique Nieto, as well as an animation video with key messages from the report.