UN Development Programme has presented its global report
Frode Mauring, the permanent UN Coordinator in the Russian Federation, opened the briefing session. He mentioned that the Centre for Human Development would shortly be embarking on its study of the Index of Human Development Potential (HDP) in Russia at the economics faculty of the M V Lomonosov Moscow State University. It is hoped that this will happen early in 2011. Programme staff will be working in the centre. Mr Mauring said that specialists from the university would be participating in the preparation of annual reports on the HDP in Russia. It was sensible to facilitate closer contact. Apart from this work a course on HDP has been taught for a number of years at the faculty and specialised textbooks exist.
Timothy Scott, who is a specialist at the New York office dealing with the programme where the HDP reports are prepared, drew attention to the twentieth in the series, in which it is maintained that long-term progress in the areas of health and education was not to be measured by the income levels of the population and economic growth. He quoted Laos, Ethiopia, and Botswana as examples of countries whose rankings on the index were improving rapidly despite minimal per capita incomes and where marked progress was apparent as regards education and health. Mr Scott added that the reports showed that over the last 40 years average life expectancy had increased from 59 to 70 years. The education situation had also improved. Whereas, in 1970, 55% of children were reckoned to be receiving an education, today 70% are.
China and Indonesia are countries that have been making the speediest progress in terms of the index over the last 40 years, together with some Arab states, 8 of which are now included in the top twenty. Mr Scott pointed out that at the same time in some countries in the former Soviet Union and in sub-Saharan Africa, there had been a significant decline because of climbing mortality rates, an increasing number of conflicts, and HIV/AIDs epidemics. In Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe average life expectancy had declined in comparison to the 1970 indicators. In the case of only 3 of the 135 countries whose details are included in the UN reports, were their index rankings lower than in 1970. These were all sub-Saharan.
Mr Scott noted that in Russia some regions were ranked level with EU states on the index whilst others were ranked similarly to the poorest countries in the world, such as Gabon and Equador. Notwithstanding the different economic potentials of the regions and also the fact that at the beginning of the nineties the national ranking started to drop sharply, today this indicator is rising again. In 2010 the top 10 comprised Norway, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Ireland, Lichtenstein, Netherlands, Canada, Sweden, and Germany. Russia occupies 65th place, Kazakhstan the 66th and Ukraine the 69th.