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New generation of inequalities are emerging into view, and if left unchecked, they could trigger a ‘new great divergence’ in society, argues in the 2019 Human Development Report (HDR) entitled “Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: inequalities in human development in the 21st century”

The report which champions a more holistic way to measure countries’ socioeconomic progress, analyses inequality in three dimensions– beyond income, beyond averages, and beyond today.

UNDP Resident Representative in Sierra Leone, Samuel Doe argues that “Unequal societies are not sustainable, and they deprive themselves of achieving their full potentials…So much is lost to inequality!”

Impressive progress, remembering SDGs

According to the report’s accompanying Human Development Index (HDI), Africa has experienced one of the most significant improvements in human development and between 1990 and 2018, life expectancy increased by more than 11 years. For the first time an African country-Seychelles has moved into the very high human development group.

Amid the progress highlighted in this year’s HDR, African countries are at a crossroads, facing the dual challenge of ensuring those furthest behind make progress with the basics, while paving the way for those further ahead to keep pace with meeting the ever-growing emerging challenges.

This report points that progress has been uneven in the continent. If current trends continue, nearly 9 of 10 people in extreme poverty-more than 300 million will be in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2030 while at the same time many African countries face limited access to broadband and low tertiary education rates-Sierra Leone recent Free Quality Education Policy is well placed.

Persistent challenges of gender parity, climate change

The report notes that despite improved gender parity in education, African women and girls continue to face deeply entrenched challenges to their human development progress.

More so, the rippling effect of climate change could aggravate inequality. Poor people are expected to be more exposed to droughts in several countries in Asia and in Southern and West Africa. The rural poor in poor countries will suffer a double whammy from climate change.

Inequality is not just about how much someone earns compared to their neighbour. It is about the unequal distribution of wealth and power, …and the triggers that will do so in the future unless something changes” UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner, cautions.  

Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today

This years’ report gives us a closer look at distance happenings by recommending that policies go beyond and are hinged on lifespan interventions starting even before birth. Therefore, it is critical that such human capital investments continue throughout a person’s life, from pre-natal care, to retirement.

Localizing the 2019 HDR in Sierra Leone

In Sierra Leone, the Government’s commitment to investing in the human capital of the people of Sierra Leone can be seen in the Medium-term National Development Plan (MTNDP) 2019-2023-Education for Development, and its accompanying flagship programme-Free Quality School Education.

The Government of Sierra Leone welcomes the Global Human Development Report 2019 with a localized version under the theme: Building Resilience for Sustainable Development’.

A twin-launch of both the 2019 Global Human Development and the 2019 National Human Development Reports is slated for Friday 13th December 2019 at the Ministry of Planning & Economic Development.

The future of inequalities

Reducing inequalities in human development in the 21st century is in our hands. The 2019 HDR asks how inequality may change in the future, particularly so through the lens of climate change and technological transformation, which are shaping human development outcomes today and in future generations.

“Time is running out.  Complacency is not an option. The climate crisis shows that the price of inaction could compound inequalities and further complicate our search for lasting solutions for our children and their children”, Dr. Doe, UNDP Resident Representative, warns.   



ABOUT UNDP: UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in some 177 countries and territories, we offer a global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.

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