About the Arab Human Development Reports

Arab Human Development Reports (AHDRs) engage institutions and citizens in the Arab countries in analysis and discussion about the factors which shape the choices and freedoms available to people across the region, so as to foster understanding and consensus around regional and national development priorities. They also identify disadvantaged groups within the region, and suggest policies, strategies and opportunities for their empowerment. The Reports target policy-makers, opinion leaders and civil societies who are engaged in the search for a brighter future across the region.

As instruments for measuring human progress and triggering action for change, the AHDRs feed into and draw upon the data and analysis of the global Human Development Reports. Taking the human development approach to the regional level, the AHDRs promote regional partnerships for influencing change and region-specific approaches to human rights, poverty, education, economic reform, HIV/AIDS, and globalization.

Prepared and owned by Arabs as an advocacy tool designed to appeal to a wide audience, they spur public debates and mobilize support for action and change through processes of consultation, research and report writing. They have helped to articulate perceptions and priorities in the region, and have served as a source of alternate policy opinion for development planning across varied themes.

The First Series of AHDRs (2002-2005)

In producing the first series of the Arab Human Development Reports (AHDR), the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States (RBAS) sought, in cooperation with governments and civil society of the region, to make a positive contribution to the region's development dialogue.

The catalyst for the founding series was a sense of urgency among Arab thinkers about the precipitous situation of Arab countries at the start of a new millennium. Hence, the drive was to address that situation through an Arab-owned analysis of the region.

Since its launch, the AHDR has been one of UNDP's flagship products and has served as an effective vehicle for policy dialogue in the Arab countries. The first AHDR Creating Opportunities for Future Generations published in 2002 identified three critical development deficits in the Arab world:

  • The acquisition of knowledge;
  • Political freedoms; and
  • Women's empowerment

The subsequent issues, Building a Knowledge Society (AHDR 2003), Towards Freedom in the Arab World (AHDR 2004), Towards the Rise of Women in the Arab World (AHDR 2005), have in turn studied each of the deficits in greater depth, with the goal of arriving at a strategic vision of how each deficit is to be overcome in the context of a human development project in the Arab world.

The Second Series of AHDRs (2008-Present)

A second AHDR series is being published during the years 2008-Present dealing with the most eminent challenges confronting the Arab region. The new series follows the same methodology and procedure, relying on Arab expertise from all over the region with adequate gender and youth representation. It will also endeavor to expand the range and number of surveys, and to include statistical expertise in the preparation process, with the aim to reflect the current situation in the region.

The first of the second series, Challenges to Human Security in the Arab Countries (AHDR 2009), is dedicated to the question of human security, which has been selected as one of the most significant, inclusive and far-reaching theme for the region at this time.

The production of the Report was co-sponsored by UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States (RBAS) and a number of partners from the region, including the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD) and the Arab Gulf Programme for United Nations Development Organizations (AGFUND).