The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene
Human Development Report 2020
December 16, 2020
Cairo – The COVID-19 pandemic is the latest crisis facing the world, but unless humans release their grip on nature, it won’t be the last, according to a new report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which includes a new index on human progress that takes into account countries’ carbon dioxide emissions and material footprint.
According to 2019 data, Egypt increased its Human Development Index (HDI), reaching 0.707, from 2018’s 0.701, maintaining its global rank of 116 out of 189 countries and remains in the high human development category. For the first time, Egypt’s HDI is higher than the average for Arab states.
Randa Aboul-Hosn, UNDP Resident Representative in Egypt stressed: “The Human Development Report (HDR) is now at its 30th edition and keeps reminding us in quantified terms that development is a balance stricken between the economy and the components of human capital”
Egypt ranks 116 according to Human Development Index and 102 according to its Gross National Income (GNI) per capita out of 189 countries. This indicates that given the level of its economy, Egypt has a lot of potential to improve social protection, women empowerment, education and governance systems, and transform economic growth into investments resulting in further progress for human development.
As with previous issues, the 2020 Human Development Report is looking beyond the human development index, and into the quality and sustainability of human development, and at how social and gender inequalities and environmental performance affect countries.
When taking inequalities into account using the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, Egypt’s IHDI is lower than its HDI, pointing to the need to continue to address inequality.
In terms of Gender equality, while Egypt performs better than average in the Arab states’ region, it is still the case that the HDI for Egyptian women (0.652) remains (0.739). Based on data available for 2019, Egypt has a Gender Inequality Index (GII) of 0.449, ranking it at 108 out of 162 countries. GII measures gender based in equalities in reproductive health, empowerment, and economic activity.
The “Planet Pressures-adjusted HDI” is a new index which adjusts the HDI to include two more elements: a country’s carbon dioxide emissions and its material footprint per capita. The index shows how the global development landscape would change if both the wellbeing of people and also the planet were central to defining humanity’s progress. The PHDI for Egypt is 0.684, faring better than the average of Arab States (0.666).
Environmental indicators show that 97% of Egypt’s energy consumption depends on fossil fuel while per capita share of greenhouse gases emissions GHG falls within the global average but remain high. Nevertheless, the renewable energy and sustainable public transport projects currently under construction as well as the energy policy reform and improvement in energy should help reduce the carbo-intensity of the Egyptian economy in the coming few years.
“The year 2020 reminded us that environmental imbalances such as climate change, viruses spread and other consequences of human activities, are not mere side notes but central factors in prosperous harmonious societies. This year’s HDR quantifies this and documents the feedback loops” Aboul-Hosn added.
The Government of Egypt has been at the forefront of researching and documenting Human Development issues at the national and subnational level with 11 reports since 1994 and will be publishing with the support of UNDP a new Egypt Human Development Report in 2021. To learn more about the 2020 Human Development report and UNDP’s analysis on the experimental Planetary Pressures-Adjusted HDI, visit HDR 2020
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