Myanmar has achieved a new status as a medium-ranked member of the human development index (HDI), according to a 2016 report by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) this week.
Myanmar was placed at 145 out of 188 countries, with an HDI of 0.556.
The index was developed in 1990 to measure how a country is performing based on three important aspects; education, life expectancy and income.
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Myanmar Renata Lok-Dessallien told reporters in a press conference on March 22 that it would take time for Myanmar to achieve higher rank in HDI index.
“The legacy of Myanmar’s under-investment in social sectors will take time to overcome and extra efforts are required for this,” she said.
She also urged the government to do more to accelerate human development, which would also drive the achievement of sustainable development goals set for 2030.
“We cannot forget that there remains a gap between Myanmar’s HDI score and the average for Southeast Asian countries. For example, in areas such as maternal health and under-five mortality, Myanmar is still performing below the average of Southeast Asia,” she said.
Myanmar achieved an HDI score of 0.552 in 2014 and 0.556 in 2015. The average score for East Asia Pacific is 0.720.
As with the report’s figure, the average annual growth of HDI score has increased for the years 2000-2010 (2.12), but has decreased substantially in 2010-2015.
“The lower rate of growth of the HDI score in recent years emphasises the importance for the government of Myanmar and its development partners to get the policy mix ‘right’ to further advance human development in the country going forward,” said Thomas Kring, economic advisor to the UNDP.
He also said Myanmar is well-positioned in its pursuit of meeting the 17 sustainable development goals by 2030, and achieving it would also have an impact on the progress of human development and addressing the root causes of poverty.
“The government is working very hard to address the extension of service to everyone, as evident by the fact that they are still negotiating the peace agreement. I think that is the main challenge it is facing right now,” Thomas Kring said.
Kring has also suggested four new national policy approaches for Myanmar that includes setting universal policies to reach out to people who are left out, specific measures for groups with special needs, making human development resilient and empowering those who are left out.
According to the HDI report for the year 2016, progress in Asia and Pacific region has not benefited everyone, but reveals the disparities that disproportionally impact certain groups, particularly women, ethnic minorities and people living in remote areas who suffer from deprivations.
The report also calls for greater attention to empowering the most marginalised in societies and recognising the importance of giving a greater voice to the marginalised in decision-making processes.
Ref: The Myanmar Times
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