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UNDP presents human development report findings

Exclusion of women, people living in remote areas and ethnic groups creates chronic barriers for human development progress and leads to significant disparities within the Asia-Pacific region, leaving many behind, according to UNDP.

This is one of the key findings of the Human Development Report 2016 entitled “Human Development for Everyone” launched yesterday in Vientiane. The launch was attended by UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Ms Kaarina Immonen and Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Kikeo Chanthabouly.

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Lao PDR's surge in human development of almost 50 percent since 1990 continues on a positive trajectory even as inequalities are rising both in-country and globally.

The report findings show that although on average human development improved significantly across all regions from 1990 to 2015, worldwide almost 1.5 billion people live in multidimensional poverty reflecting acute deprivations in health, education and standards of living.

Ms Kaarina Immonen said “The Lao PDR has made impressive progress in the past decades, which, amongst other successes, has increased life expectancy by 13 years since 1990. However, almost 37 percent of the population suffer from multidimensional poverty, which means they face disadvantages that overlap and reinforce each other.”

The Lao PDR's 2015 Human Development Index ranks it at 138 out of 188 countries and territories which put the country in the medium human development category and signified a jump up by three ranks compared to the year before. On average, Lao people now go to school over three years longer than in 1990, and the Gross National Income per capita increased by over 200 percent between 1990 and 2015.

However, the Lao PDR's Human Development Index is below the average for countries on the medium human development group and below the average for countries in East Asia and the Pacific. The Human Development Index, as an average measurement, masks inequalities in the distribution of human development across the population at the country level.

Once discounted for inequality, the Lao PDR's index drops by over 27 percent. Multiple challenges, like remoteness in location, ethnicity, gender disability and sexual orientation result in inequalities and groups trapped in multidimensional poverty.

These groups need specific attention to ensure human development reaches everyone. Multidimensional poverty systematically impacts the most vulnerable in Laos and creates barriers that are not purely economic, but political, social and culture.

Marginalised groups often have limited opportunities to influence the institutions and policies that determine their lives. Changing this is central to breaking the vicious circle of exclusion and deprivation.

In Laos, over 2.3 million people (or 36.8 percent of the population) are multidimensionally poor, while an additional almost two million people live near multidimensional poverty.

Deputy Resident Representative UNDP, Mr Balasubramaniam Murali said “This year's Human Development Report, which is UNDP's flagship publication, calls for greater attention to the most marginalised groups in society and recognises the importance of giving them greater consideration in decision-making processes.”

“We at UNDP will continue to work with the government of Laos in order to ensure the collection of key data, its refined analysis and suitable policy choices in order for human development to benefit all people of Laos especially to meet the national goal of graduation from Least Developed Country status,” he said.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update March 23, 2017)


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