Montenegro hosted regional launch of the Human Development Report 2014

Sep 11, 2014

Progress slowed by social exclusion and environmental vulnerabilities in developing countries of Europe & Central Asia
Podgorica, Montenegro, 11 September 2014 – After the global launch in Tokyo in July, Montenegro had the privilege to host regional presentation of the UNDP’s flagship publication- Global Human Development Report 2014. Entitled “Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience”, the Report provides a human development perspective on vulnerability and proposes ways to strengthen resilience. According to the Report, human development progress in developing countries of Europe & Central Asia has slowed, and the region continues to face significant socioeconomic and environmental challenges. However, the report also reveals that the countries in this region enjoy relatively high equality of education, health and living standards.

The Report was launched by the President of Montenegro Mr. Filip Vujanović and UN Deputy Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Deputy Regional Director Mr. Olivier Adam.

On this occasion, Filip Vujanović, President of Montenegro stated: “Although the analysis of human development progress puts Montenegro high on the list of countries within the wider region, we shouldn’t be satisfied with the achieved. In comparison with others, the ranking is a good indicator of the country’s success, but the need for further human development remains a priority of all policies that are dedicated to the quality of life of citizens. The current progress must be sustainable, along with further social inclusion of vulnerable groups and strengthening the resilience of society to potential setbacks due to the many dangers of local and global origin.”

Olivier Adam, UN Deputy Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Deputy Regional Director stated: “No matter how effective policies are in reducing individual and social vulnerabilities, crises—particularly those caused by natural disasters—will continue to occur. Building national capacities to predict and prevent conflict and unrest, and investing in disaster preparedness and recovery, helps individuals, communities, and countries to manage and mitigate crises and recover more quickly from shocks. Social exclusion and structural vulnerabilities remain a challenge in much of the region. So does access to quality social services and effective social protection.”

The event gathered representatives of the diplomatic core, Government of Montenegro, national and local institutions, academia, civil society, media, etc. The presentation was focused on Europe and Central Asia region, which in the context of HDI calculations, includes 17 countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Tajikistan, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

Human Development Report 2014 provides an overview of Human Development Index (HDI) values and rankings for 187 countries and UN-recognized territories, while countries are grouped in four categories: very high, high, medium and low human development. Overall, the region comes second in the Human Development Index (HDI) rankings among developing regions, behind Latin America and the Caribbean. It surpasses world averages in life expectancy and mean years of schooling, but trails slightly in gross national income per capita. The region’s highest HDIs are reported for Montenegro and Belarus (ranked 51st and 53rd, respectively), while the lowest HDIs are for the Kyrgyz Republic (125th) and Tajikistan (133rd). When it comes to the Western Balkans region, countries that fall into the group of high human development are Serbia (77th place), FYR Macedonia (84th), Bosnia and Herzegovina (86th) and Albania (95th), while countries with very high human development are Slovenia (25th) and Croatia (47th).  

Europe and Central Asia compare favourably with other developing regions in inequality rankings as well, registering a below-average drop in human development values when adjusted for inequality. When measured by Gini coefficients, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia shows the highest income inequality, while Ukraine shows the lowest.

About the Report:

The core premise of the 2014 Human Development Report is that persistent vulnerability threatens human development, and that unless it is systematically tackled by policies and social norms, progress will be neither equitable nor sustainable. The Report calls for a commitment to full employment as a policy goal, the universal provision of basic social services, strengthened social protection, and better global coordination in shoring up resilience to vulnerabilities that are increasingly global in origin and impact. This report comes at a critical time for global development, as attention turns to the creation of a new post-2015 development agenda.

The report analyzes life cycle vulnerabilities and identifies moments in life (e.g., early childhood, old age) in which shocks can have greater impact. It also explores structural vulnerabilities – those that persist and compound over time as a result of discrimination and institutional failings to the disadvantage of groups such as ethnic minorities, the disabled and the long-term unemployed.

Social exclusion and structural vulnerabilities remain a challenge for Europe and Central Asia. Many developing countries in the region report low access to social services and social protection. Ethnic minorities like the Roma, as well as people with disabilities, the long-term unemployed, migrants, and residents of isolated rural and mountainous areas are especially vulnerable to development setbacks.

Because of its geography, the region is also vulnerable to natural disasters, especially floods that have hit the region on several occasions in the past few years. This region is also vulnerable to the risk of earthquakes. A large earthquake in or near a major population centre could result in a humanitarian disaster, damage to regional infrastructure, significant refugee flows, and increased strain on often limited state capacity and social cohesion. Forecasts point to significant climate risks, ranging from threats of drought in Central Asia and the Caucasus, to increased risks of flooding in coastal areas in the Adriatic, Black, and Caspian Sea basins. As the report points out, those suffering from social exclusion tend to be the most vulnerable to these events when they occur.

In middle-income countries, progress in sustainable development and poverty reduction requires reductions in inequalities, vulnerabilities, and exclusion, as well as better management of disaster and climate risks. This is particularly the case for the developing economies of Europe and Central Asia—many of which are still struggling to recover from the global financial crisis.

Contact information

For media inquiries please contact:
UNDP in Montenegro
Ivana Vujovic, Communications Associate
Cell: +382 69 681 222; Office: +382 20 447 441;
UNDP Headquarters, New York
Dylan Lowthian, Communications Associate
Cell:  +1 646 673 6350; Office: +1 212 906 5516;

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