Bahrain ranks high in human development

BAHRAIN has recorded one of the highest improvements in human development rankings in the Arab world, it has emerged.

According to the latest edition of a key UN report, the kingdom is placed 42nd overall in the 2020 Human Development Report (HDR) which measures healthcare, education, income and gender development.

Bahrain ranked 45th globally in the 2018 Human Development Index (HDI), out of 189 countries.

“It has maintained its position in the ‘very high human development’ category of the index, based on its average income, education, and health metrics,” said the UN Development Programme (UNDP) report.

The 30th edition of the report, ‘The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene’, has added two more parameters – carbon dioxide emissions and material footprint.

The report lays out a stark choice for world leaders – take bold steps to reduce the immense pressure that is being exerted on the environment and the natural world, or humanity’s progress will stall.

“Humans wield more power over the planet than ever before. In the wake of Covid-19, record-breaking temperatures and spiralling 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 UNDP administrator Achim Steiner.

“As this report shows, no country 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.

Between 2014 and 2019, Bahrain climbed six positions, making it the Arab country with the second largest upwards leap in terms of HDI ranking, after Tunisia.

“Much like its counterparts in the ‘very high human development’ category such as the US, Singapore, and Australia, the planetary pressures associated with Bahrain’s development brings its adjusted ranking down approximately 42 points.

“The UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait, meanwhile, saw their planetary-adjusted ranking drop between 74 and 87 points for the same pressures.”

Furthermore, in the Gender Development Index, which measures gender gaps in human development achievements in three basic dimensions: health, knowledge and living standards, Bahrain is placed in the fourth group out of five groups ranked by performance.

However, in the Gender Inequality Index which measures gender-based inequality in health, empowerment, and jobs, Bahrain was placed in the 49th position globally.

The report praised Bahrain for increasing its Gross Net Income (GNI) per capita for both males and females, as well as its labour force participation rate for women.

“This year’s edition of UNDP’s global HDR is an honest and rigorous illustration of why we need to turn our attention towards how humans as main agents of change are able to shape nature, steering the future of our planet and generations to come towards either a healthy balance, or a downward spiral,” said UNDP Bahrain resident representative Stefano Pettinato.

Cabinet Affairs Minister Mohamed Al Mutawa said it was gratifying to note that Bahrain continues to obtain high scores in the Human Development Index, providing free education, ensuring equal opportunities for men and women, improving healthcare, and raising life expectancy, all in line with the SDGs.

Bahrain has also recently scaled up its efforts to conserve natural resources, ensuring protected marine areas, establishing the Sustainable Energy Authority, and setting national goals on energy efficiency and renewable energy, he added.

The UN report argues that as people and the planet enter the Anthropocene or the Age of Humans, it is time for all countries to redesign their paths to progress by fully accounting for the dangerous pressures humans put on the planet, and dismantle the imbalances that prevent change.

The annual document will be publicly released later today by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Mr Steiner.





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