Every year the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) ranks countries through its Human Development Index (HDI) project.
The Human Development Report (HDR) by the UNDP measures a country’s health, education, and standard of living as part of the index.
The agency also ascertains a nations’ average achievement in three basic scales of human development – education, life expectancy, and per capita income.
The Human Development Report (HDR) covered a new experimental index on human progress that takes into account countries’ carbon dioxide emissions and material footprint.
According to the UNDP the 2020 index was largely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a crisis that has devastated many economies.
“Humans wield more power over the planet than ever before. In the wake of COVID-19, recordbreaking temperatures and spiraling inequality, it is time to use that power to redefine what we mean by progress, where our carbon and consumption footprints are no longer hidden,” said Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator in a statement.
“As this report shows, no country in the world has yet achieved very high human development without putting immense strain on the planet. But we could be the first generation to right this wrong. That is the next frontier for human development,” he said.
Norway topped the index, followed by Ireland, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Iceland, the report showed.
In Africa, Mauritius overtook Seychelles to become Africa’s most developed country.
Mauritius has a Human Development Index rating of 0.804 and Seychelles (0.796) according to the index for 2020.
Here are the top ten ranked countries in Africa in the Human Development Index for 2020.
1. Mauritius (0.804)
2. Seychelles (0.796)
3. Algeria (0.748)
4. Tunisia (0.749)
5. Botswana (0.735)
6. Libya (0.724)
7. South Africa (0.709)
8. Egypt (0.707)
9. Gabon (0.703)
10. Morocco (0.686)
According to the 2020 report, easing planetary pressures in a way that enables all people to flourish in this new age requires dismantling the gross imbalances of power and opportunity that stand in the way of transformation.
Public action, the report argues, can address these inequalities, with examples ranging from increasingly progressive taxation, to protecting coastal communities through preventive investment and insurance, a move that could safeguard the lives of 840 million people who live along the world’s low elevation coastlines.
But there must be a concerted effort to ensure that actions do not further pit people against planet.
“The next frontier for human development is not about choosing between people or trees; it’s about recognizing, today, that human progress driven by unequal, carbon-intensive growth has run its course,” said Pedro Conceição, Director of UNDP’s Human Development Report Office and lead author of the report.
“By tackling inequality, capitalizing on innovation and working with nature, human development could take a transformational step forward to support societies and the planet together,” he said