Statement of the UNDP Country Director during the Launch of the Global Human Development Report 2013

22 Mar 2013

The Executive Director of the Economic Policy Research Centre,
Representatives of the Diplomatic Core and specifically members of the BRIC Countries,
Representatives of the Non-Governmental Organisations,
Members of the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
All Protocol observed,

A warm welcome to you all to this launch of the 2013 UNDP Human Development Report. The HDR represents a signature product of the United Nations Development Programme that examines issues related to development from a human perspective; the human development report not only examines development from the classic gross domestic product view of the growth of economies but places human beings at the very centre of the analysis of development.

This year’s Human development report has as its theme the rise of the South, as we read of the challenges of the developed North which still dominated the Human development index, with Norway at the very top of the HDR index, we should also be examining the theme of this year’s which reports on the growth of the underdeveloped south. The report points to the fact that as much as the South has over the past two decades seen an unprecedented growth both in terms of GDP but also in terms of lifting the largest people out of poverty.

The report poses the fundamental question of the genesis of the growth in the South is terms of how has this been achieved and how this can be sustained and escalated. The challenge for all of us in reading this report is to ask ourselves, what are the key drivers for the changes that we are witnessing today? What are the changes to our preconceived notions of what development represents. The first is the notion that the state should be outside of the development paradigm, that private capital will drive economic growth, basically this questions the Washington consensus on what should be the drivers of growth and dictated that development was the sole purvey of the private sector and that government should stay out of the development process. The report strongly maintains that the growth of the South is largely driven by the role of the developmental state.

The developmental state maintains that governments have a crucial and indispensable role to play in the transformative changes to not only the economy but also in the well being of our societies. The developmental state has to clearly outline its intent and objectives, clearly define the road map and coalesce all available resources both private and state owned towards the transformation of the nation. This has been the very basis upon which countries such as Singapore, India, Brazil, Malaysia, China and numerous other countries of the South have transformed.

The report provides concrete evidence of the state as an enabling factor in the development that raises Human development in as much as it promotes the economic growth contrary. The second aspect that we have to take into considerations is what we produce as developing countries and what is needed by the developed world, the common wisdom that still pervades our thinking today is that we should provide to the developed world with their requirements without taking into consideration what we can undertake as the south to integrate into the world markets on terms that are favourable to our needs. As a result of this line of though, many countries opened their markets before they fully understood the world markers, today the economies of the south are determining what is best for the south in terms of integration into the global economy. Today the south is aware and able to choose the process and timing of their integration into the global market.

One key note that we have to take into considerations as we enter the global market is our human resources, the countries that have been successful have had polices that directed investment to those sectors that made the greatest social and development impact: into targeted education and skills development and in uplifting the health and well being of its citizenship and importantly in ensuring that there is equitable development across different sectors of society.

In other words, where there are deep social differences in society between rural and urban, between women and men, between ethnic groups, the greater the challenge of moving economies and societies forward. There is a fundamental requirement that as economies strive to move up the human development ladder this is spread equitably across the society. There are however more salient issues that are attributable to the growth of the south and that is the political and social space for discourse, if there is limited or no dialogue within and between the citizens of our nations, if there is limited debate on the best development path there will equally be limited and restricted transformation of the society. There is, therefore a need to take into consideration the voices and concerns of citizens in the priority setting of the state as it strives to its goals.

Ladies and gentlemen, in closing, the 2013 Human Development Report not only highlights the success of the global south but outlines the lessons that should be learned from these successes. In short we can all as developing countries attain the status that Uganda has set as its target and that is to be a middle income country in the next 30 years. However, we have to take lessons from other countries that have been the trail blazers and take cognizance of the challenges they faced and the path they trod to attain the levels of human development they attained. The 2013 Human Development Report is but a first step on the road to outlining the path that is required for the attainment of the Uganda’s goals through south-south cooperation and knowledge exchanges on what is required to attain the goal. I am certain that the debate and the discussion f the panel that has been assembled her e will provide us with much food for thought on Uganda’s chosen development path.

I thank you for your attention.

Contact;

Doreen Kansiime, Communications Assistant, doreen.kansiime@undp.org