Poverty focus of Human Development Report

New York, 12 June 1997 (G-77) - A six-point strategy to eliminate worldwide extrreme poverty by the early years of the 21st century is put forward by the United Nations Development Programme in its annual human development report for 1997.

The report says providng universal access to basic social services and support to eradicate poverty would cost $80bn a year.
While huge strides have been made in reducing poverty over the past 30 years in the developing world, a quarter of the world's population is still affected. In many regions of the world, the proportion of poor people has risen sharply over the past 10 years, the UNDP says.

This year's report looks at poverty from a human development perspective and introduces a new measurement, the "human poverty index", which indicates the level of deprivation in developing countries. The report also provides the annual "human development index," which ranks countries according to their overall level of human progress. Despite remarkable gains made in all regions in the past 50 years, more needs to be done, according to the report's authors.

The report looks at "human poverty" which takes into account low income as well as life expectancy, literacy and access to basic social services. On this mesaure, half the populatoin of Africa will suffer human poverty by the year 20000, the UNDP predicts.

Developing countries making most progress in the fight against poverty include, inter alia, Cuba, Chile, Colombia, Jordan and Singapore.

The UNDP's annual human development index, which measures life expectancy, educational attainment and incomes, puts Canada top of the 175-nation listing.

Commissioned by the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), the 245-page study introduces a new Human Poverty Index (HPI) which provides a country-by-country measure of poverty from a human development perspective.

The study points out that much of the world’s population has benefited from major advances in economic opportunity and human well-being. ‘’For the developing world, these gains have covered as much distance in the past 30 years as the industrialised world did in a century,’’ it adds.

The study also makes two major qualifications. Firstly, women not only make smaller incomes than men, but they are also more constrained by their reproductive and household responsibilities, and they have less access to land, credit, and employment opportunities that can help them and their children escape poverty.

Secondly, many of the 48 poorest and least developed countries (LDCs) in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere have gained much less than the developing countries as a group.

South Asia has the most people affected by human poverty. And it has the largest number of people in income poverty: 510 million. South Asia, East Asia, and South-east Asia and the Pacific combined have 950 million of the 1.3 billion who are income poor.