Over the past quarter-century the world has changed—and with it the development landscape. New countries have emerged, and our planet is now home to more than 7 billion people, one in four of them young.1 The geopolitical scenario has also changed, with developing countries emerging as a major economic force and political power. Globalization has integrated people, markets and work, and the digital revolution has changed human lives.
Progress in human development has been impressive over the past 25 years. People now live longer, more children are in school and more people have access to basic social services.2 The Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals—global commitments at the turn of the century to end basic human deprivations within 15 years—added to the momentum.
Yet human development has been uneven, and human deprivations persist. Progress has bypassed groups, communities, societies—and people have been left out. Some have achieved only the basics of human development, and some not even that. And new development challenges have emerged, ranging from inequalities to climate change, from epidemics to desperate migration, from conflicts to violent extremism.
The 2016 Human Development Report focuses on how human development can be ensured for everyone—now and in the future. It starts with an account of the achievements, challenges and hopes for human progress, envisioning where humanity wants to go. Its vision draws from and builds on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that the 193 member states of the United Nations endorsed last year and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that the world has committed to achieve.
The Report explores who has been left out in the progress in human development and why. It argues that to ensure human development for everyone, a mere mapping of the nature and location of deprivations is not enough. Some aspects of the human development approach and assessment perspectives have to be brought to the fore. The Report also identifies the national policies and key strategies that will enable every human being to achieve basic human development and to sustain and protect the gains. And addressing the structural challenges of the current global system, it presents options for institutional reforms.
Key messages This Report conveys five basic messages:
- Universalism is key to human development, and human development for everyone is attainable.
- Various groups of people still suffer from basic deprivations and face substantial barriers to overcoming them.
- Human development for everyone calls for refocusing some analytical issues and assessment perspectives.
- Policy options exist and, if implemented, would contribute to achieving human development for everyone.
- A reformed global governance, with fairer multilateralism, would help attain human development for everyone.