Rise in HDI Index in Maldives Despite Global Challenges, New UNDP Report Finds

The world is lurching from crisis to crisis, trapped in a cycle of firefighting and unable to tackle the roots of the troubles that confront us. Without a sharp change, we may be heading towards even more deprivations and injustices, warns the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The world must jolt itself out of its global paralysis to secure the future of people and planet by re-booting its development trajectory.

The latest Human Development Report, “Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a Transforming World”, launched this week by UNDP, argues that layers of uncertainty are stacking up and interacting to unsettle life in unprecedented ways. The last two years have had a devastating impact for billions of people around the world, when crises like COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine hit back-to-back, and interacted with sweeping social and economic shifts, dangerous planetary changes, and massive increases in polarization.

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For the first time in the 32 years that UNDP has been calculating the Human Development Index (HDI) —which measures a nation’s health, education, and standard of living — the HDI has declined globally for two years in a row. Human development has fallen back to its 2016 levels, reversing much of the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

The HDI is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.

In the Maldives, however, the HDI value for 2021 has reached 0.747— which put the country in a high human development category—positioning it at 90 out of 191 countries and territories. This is a better result from 2020 when the country was ranked at 97 on the HDI list. Between 1995 and 2021, Maldives’s HDI value has consistently increased from 0.582 to 0.747, reflecting an improvement of of 28.4 percent.

The increase in the HDI value for the Maldives in 2021 is a result of improvements in key HDI measurement indicators: life expectancy at birth from 78.9 to 79.9 years, expected years of schooling from 12.2 to 12.6 years, mean years of schooling from 7 to 7.3 years. Gross National Income (GNI) per capita experienced a reduction from $ 17,417 to $ 15,448 following the economic contractions of the pandemic.

Despite strong increase in the overall HDI index, the 2021 female HDI value for Maldives is only  0.709 compared to 0.766 for males. This represents a gender gap and work ahead to rebalance human development gains in an inclusive manner.

To learn more about the 2022 Human Development Report and UNDP’s analysis on navigating the new uncertainty complex, visit https://hdr.undp.org/human-development-report-2021-22

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