Entitled Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience, the Report provides a fresh perspective on vulnerability and proposes ways to strengthen resilience. Persistent vulnerability threatens human development. And unless it is systematically tackled by policies and social norms, progress will be neither equitable nor sustainable.
Levels in human development continues to rise – yet the pace has slowed for all regions and progress has been highly uneven. The lower human development groups appear to be improving at a higher rate – grounds for optimism that the gap between higher and lower human development groups is narrowing.
In the Arab States, Asia and the Pacific region, and Latin America and the Caribbean, average annual growth rate in HDI dropped by about half over 2008–2013 compared to 2000–2008. Threats such as financial crises, fluctuations in food prices, natural disasters and violent conflict significantly impede progress.
Overall inequality has declined slightly in most regions, as measured by the Inequality-Adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI). This has been driven mainly by improvements in health in recent years. However high disparities in education persist. The Report shows that older generations continue to struggle with illiteracy, while younger ones are having difficulty making the leap from primary to secondary schooling. The highest levels of education inequality are found in South Asia, the Arab states and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Report calls for stronger collective action, as well as better global coordination and commitment to shoring up resilience, in response to vulnerabilities that are increasingly global in origin and impact. To increase support for national programmes and open up policy space for nations to adapt universalism to specific country conditions, the Report calls for “an international consensus on universal social protection” to be included in the Post-2015 agenda.