Un Human Development Rankings Place Norway At The Top And Dr Congo Last

kristy Beyond GDP

New York, Nov 2 2011 4:05PM
Norway, Australia and the Netherlands lead this year?s newly released Human
Development Index (HDI) rankings, the annual United Nations measure of
progress in human well-being, while the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(DRC), Niger and Burundi are at the bottom.

The HDI,
Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All, notes income distribution has worsened in most of
the world and reveals Latin America has the largest income inequality,
although it is more equitable than sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia in life
expectancy and schooling.

The report also shows that countries at the bottom of the list still suffer
from inadequate incomes, limited schooling opportunities and low expectancy
rates due to preventable diseases such as malaria and AIDS.

The report stresses that a lot of the problems encountered by countries with
low rankings are worsened by armed conflicts and its devastating
consequences. In the DRC, the country with the lowest ranking, more than
three million people died from warfare and conflict related illnesses.

Seven countries ? the Democratic People?s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the
Marshall Islands, Monaco, Nauru, San Marino, Somalia and Tuvalu ? were not
included this year because of a lack of data.

UNDP today also released its related Gender Inequality Index, which puts
various European countries at the forefront of gender equality. Sweden, the
Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland head the rankings, followed by Finland,
Norway and Germany.

That index takes into account indicators on reproductive health, schooling
years, government representation and participation in the labour market.
Yemen ranks as the least equitable, followed by Chad, Niger, Mali, the DRC
and Afghanistan. In the case of Yemen, just 7.6 per cent of women have
secondary education, 0.7 per cent of legislature seats are occupied by women
and only 20 per cent of working-age women have paid jobs.

In addition, the report highlights regional differences which cause gender
disparities. In sub-Saharan Africa, gender gaps arise in education and are
worsened by high maternal mortality and adolescent fertility rates. In
contrast, in South Asia, gender inequality is mainly due to women lagging
behind men in parliamentary representation and labour force participation.
For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news