New UNDP report issues urgent call for solidarity to halt global reversal in development gains

September 8, 2022

Türkiye ranks 48th of 191 countries in UNDP’s 2022 human development index, but country progress has slowed together with most of the world

Ankara, 8 September 2022 - Türkiye ranks 48th among 191 countries in this year’s edition of the Human Development Index (HDI) released today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This places Türkiye in the “very high human development” category—the highest category in the ranking—for the third year in a row. However, as is true for almost all countries in the world, Türkiye’s advancement in human development has all but stalled in recent years owing to COVID-driven setbacks and challenging global economic conditions.

UNDP’s HDI was created 32 years ago to provide a fuller measure of human wellbeing than that afforded by financially focused indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP). It combines three key measures: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living. Türkiye has shown remarkable improvement over three decades: the country’s HDI value rose from 0.600 in 1990 to 0.838 in 2021, a 39.7 percent increase.

Türkiye has seen advances across all three dimensions of the HDI: life expectancy at birth increased by 8.3 years between 1990 and 2021; mean years of schooling increased by 4.2 years; and expected years of schooling increased by 9.3 years. And the country’s gross national income per capita surged by 139 percent in the same period.

But Türkiye’s ranking slips when the HDI is adjusted for inequality. Overall men enjoy a higher level of human development than women, so when adjusted for gender equality, Türkiye’s ranking falls to 65th of 170 countries.


Nine of ten countries are suffering setbacks in human development

The HDI rankings are a core part of the Human Development Report (HDR) published each year by UNDP. The 2022 edition, entitled “Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a Transforming World,” depicts a world lurching from crisis to crisis, too busy putting out fires to tackle the root causes of the troubles that confront it. Insecurity and polarization feed off each other, obstructing the solidarity needed to enact solutions. Among the study’s striking findings, one-third of the world’s people feel stressed and fewer than one-third trust others.

For the first time ever, UNDP reported a decline in the global HDI for two years in a row. Human development has fallen back to 2016 levels, reversing much of the world’s progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

This reversal is nearly universal, as over 90 percent of countries, including Türkiye, registered a decline in their HDI score in either 2020 or 2021. More than 40 percent declined in both years, signaling a deepening crisis.

Unless the world makes a sharp change of course, the HDR argues, even more deprivations and injustices await.

“The world is scrambling to respond to back-to-back crises,” says UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner. “We have seen with the cost-of-living and energy crises that, while it is tempting to focus on quick fixes like subsidizing fossil fuels, immediate relief tactics are delaying the long-term systemic changes we must make.”

To chart a new course, the report recommends implementing policies that focus on investment — from renewable energy to preparedness for pandemics, and insurance—including social protection— to prepare our societies for the ups and downs of an uncertain world. Meanwhile, innovation in its many forms—technological, economic, cultural—can also build capacities to respond to whatever challenges come next.

“In a world defined by uncertainty, we need a renewed sense of global solidarity to tackle our interconnected, common challenges,” continues UNDP’s Steiner. “We have a narrow window to re-boot our systems and secure a future built on decisive climate action and new opportunities for all.”

“To navigate uncertainty, we need to double down on human development and look beyond improving people’s wealth or health,” says UNDP’s Pedro Conceição, the report’s lead author. “These remain important. But we also need to protect the planet and provide people with the tools they need to feel more secure, regain a sense of control over their lives and have hope for the future.”

To learn more about the 2022 Human Development Report and UNDP’s analysis on navigating the new uncertainty complex, visit

Contact Information: Faik Uyanık, UNDP Türkiye,