Report to address key human development issues

(From left) D’Cruz, UNDP chief statistician and moderator Yanchun Zhang, Prof Jemilah and Azman.

MORE than 100 people attended the public panel session of the Asia Pacific regional consultation for the next series of Human Development Reports.

The regional consultation is a joint effort by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Sunway Centre for Planetary Health, Sunway University.

The consultations are meant to ensure that the report addresses key human development issues and challenges for people and policymakers.

The Human Development Report (HDR) has been published annually by UNDP’s Human Development Report Office since 1990.

Each year, HDRs explore different themes through the human development approach.

The HDRs in 2021-22 found that globally, perceptions of insecurity and feelings of distress are reaching record highs.

Six out of seven people report feeling insecure about many aspects of their lives, including in high-income countries; stress and sadness are also on the rise.

Over the past two years, and for the first time ever, the global human development index (HDI) has declined – setting global progress back to 2016 levels.

In 2022, Malaysia maintained its position at number 62 out of 191 countries and territories with an HDI score that placed it in the ‘Very High Human Development’ category.

The 2023 HDR will be the first in a new series that focus on why political and social polarisation is intensifying across the world, and how to foster cooperation and collective action in the face of shared challenges.

Sunway Centre for Planetary Health executive director Prof Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood spoke on the issue during the panel session.

“The 2022 HDR explained the very real challenges that come with the transition to a period in human history where our actions have a determining consequence on the state of the planet, where the health of planet and people are irrevocably intertwined and where we are struggling with uncertainties that humanity has not previously experienced.

“This uncertainty complex is cascading, and colliding, and we have to find a way out of it,” she said.

Keynote speaker Lembaga Tabung Haji Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said: “At the end of the day, the great variable is us, human beings.

“We have been given both a gift and a curse, and that is free will and personal agency.

“It is our actions that impact the state of the planet.”

Panelist Joseph D’Cruz said, “Governance of our economic systems are traditionally built on contestation.

“That limitless individual creative destruction no longer works when there are limits beyond our control – planetary boundaries.

“We need to bring citizens deeper into the process of

developing policies and invest

in social capital.

“Education and healthcare, and political and economic governance systems can only function when built upon strong social foundations, trust, shared values and interest.”

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