Arab Human Development Report 2002

02 Jul 2002

Creating Opportunities for Future Generations

An accurate diagnosis of a problem is an important part of the solution. It is precisely for this reason that the Regional Bureau for Arab States has commissioned a group of distinguished Arab intellectuals to produce the Arab Human Development Report. The wealth of unbiased, objective analysis it contains is part of our contribution to Arab peoples and policy-makers in the search for a brighter future.


The report shows that Arab countries have made significant strides in more than one area of human development in the last three decades. Nevertheless, the predominant characteristic of the current Arab reality seems to be the existence of deeply rooted shortcomings in the Arab instutional structure. These shortcomings are an obstacle to building human development. The report summarises them as three deficits relating to freedom, empowerment of women, and knowledge. These deficits constitute weighty constraints on human capability that must be lifted.


From a positive perspective, the realisation of human development in the Arab world requires transcending current shortcomings, and even transforming them into their opposites, i.e. advantages enjoyed by all Arabs, assets all Arab countries can be proud of in the Third Millennium.


Specifically, the report concludes that Arab countries need to embark on rebuilding their societies on the basis of:

  • Full respect for human rights and freedoms as the cornerstone of good governance, leading to human development.
  • the complete empowerment of Arab women, taking advantage of all opportunities to build their capabilities and to enable them to exercise those capabilities to the full.
  • The consolidation of knowledge acquisition and its effective utilisation. As a key driver of progress, knowledge must be brought to bear efficiently and productively in all aspects of society, with the goal of enhancing human well being across the region.


In the end, bold thinking holds the key to realizing, as opposed to only conceiving of, grand visions for the future. Great goals require great acts.


Table of Contents

  • Overview: A Future for All
  • Chapter 1: Human Development: Definition, Concept and Larger Context
  • Chapter 2: The State of Human Development in the Arab Region
  • Chapter 3: Building Human Capabilities: The Basics - Life, Health, Habitat
  • Chapter 4: Building Human Capabilities: Education
  • Chapter 5: Using Human Capabilities: Towards A Knowledge Society
  • Chapter 6: Using Human Capabilities: Recapturing Economic Growth and Reducing Human Poverty
  • Chapter 7: Liberating Human Capabilities: Governance, Human Development and the Arab World
  • Chapter 8: Arab Cooperation
  • Annexes: References, Tables and Figures

Document Highlights

  • This Report is an independent publication.
  • From the Atlantic to the Gulf, people-- women, men and children--are the real wealth and hope of Arab countries.
  • Occupation freezes growth, prosperity and freedom in the Arab world.
  • There is a substantial lag between Arab countries and other regions in terms of participatory governance.
  • The utilization of Arab women's capabilities through political and economic participation remains the lowest in the world.
  • Failure to address capability deficits holds back human development in the larger sense of the concept.
  • At a time when the development prospects of Arab countries are increasingly linked to the capabilities of their work forces and the quality of their intellectual capital, addressing the knowledge gap is a critical challenge.