The 2011 HDI titled “Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All”, released November 2, 2011 uses a composite measure of three basic dimensions of human development. They are health (life expectancy), education and income.
Between 2006 and 2011, the agency’s index saw Ghana moving up five places. Also between 1980-2011, 1990-2011 and 2000-2011, the country scored an annual average growth of 1.1%, 1.23% and 1.66% respectively.
According to the index, Ghana’s life expectancy rate is 64.2 years for the total population.
A detailed analysis of the report’s Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) showed the country’s score marks in the areas of provision of clean water (12.2%), improved sanitation (29.9%) and a national poverty line of 28.5%. It also puts the average years of schooling at 7.1 years and the expected years of schooling at 10.5 years, while Gross National Income (GNI) was put at $1,584.
Ghana was also among the medium development countries in the index.
On pupils per teacher ratio, the index noted Ghana has 33.1 pupils to a teacher between 2005-2010 while the percentage of school teachers trained to teach was 47.6%.
In Africa, Seychelles (ranked 52) was first on the continent in terms of human development, followed by Libya, ranked 64, then Mauritius (ranked 77 globally), Tunisia and South Africa.
Norway topped the overall index, followed by Australia (2nd), Netherlands (3rd), United States of America (4th), and New Zealand (5th) with DR Congo ranked as the last country on the index.
According to the report, development progress in the world’s poorest countries could be halted or even reversed by mid-century unless bold steps are taken now to slow climate change, prevent further environmental damage, and reduce deep inequalities within and among nations.
It argues that environmental sustainability can be most fairly and effectively achieved by addressing health, education, income, and gender disparities together with the need for global action on energy production and ecosystem protection.
“As the world community prepares for the landmark UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, the Report argues that sustainability must be approached as a matter of basic social justice, for current and future generations alike.”
“Sustainability is not exclusively or even primarily an environmental issue, as this report so persuasively argues,” says Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator in the foreword. “It is fundamentally about how we choose to live our lives, with an awareness that everything we do has consequences for the seven billion of us here today, as well as for the billions more who will follow, for centuries to come.”
UNDP notes that between 1970 and 2010, the countries in the lowest 25% of the HDI rankings improved their overall HDI achievement by a remarkable 82%, twice the global average. “If the pace of improvement over the past 40 years were to be continued for the next 40, the great majority of countries would achieve HDI levels by 2050 equal to or better than those now enjoyed only by the top 25% in today’s HDI rankings.”
The Report calls for electricity service to be provided to the 1.5 billion people who are now off the power grid—and says that this can be done both affordably and sustainably, without a significant rise in carbon emissions.
This new UN-backed ‘Universal Energy Access Initiative’ could be achieved with investments of about one-eighth of the amount currently spent on fossil fuel subsidies, estimated at $312 billion worldwide in 2009, according to the report.
It adds its voice to those urging consideration of an international currency trading tax or broader financial transaction levies to fund the fight against climate change and extreme poverty.
The report estimates that a tax of just 0.005 percent on foreign exchange trading could raise $40 billion yearly or more, significantly boosting aid flows to poor countries—amounting to $130 billion in 2010—at a time when development funding is lagging behind previously pledged levels due to the global financial crisis.
“The tax would allow those who benefit most from globalization to help those who benefit least,” the report argues, estimating that about $105 billion is needed annually just to finance adaptation to climate change, especially in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
By Ekow Quandzie