Exclusion and inequality lead to uneven development across the Asia Pacific region

Mar 22, 2017

Port Moresby, 22 March 2017 –  Exclusion of women, people living in remote areas and vulnerable communities has hindered the progress of human development and led to significant inequality within the Asia-Pacific region, a new report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has revealed.

The Human Development Report 2016 entitled ‘Human Development for Everyone’, finds that although on average human development improved significantly across all regions from 1990 to 2015, worldwide almost 1.5 billion people continue to live in poverty – reflecting severe issues in health, education and standards of living. 

United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Papua New Guinea Mr Roy Trivedy said globally there needs to be a stronger focus on excluded groups, and on actions to dismantle barriers that prevent sustainable human development for all.

“Around the world we’ve made great progress in winding back extreme poverty and improving access to education, health and sanitation, and in expanding possibilities for women and girls. But we need to ensure those gains and the benefits of global progress reach everyone and no one is left behind,” he said.

The Report features the Human Development Index, a summary measure of average achievements in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and have a decent standard of living.

Papua New Guinea is ranked 154th in the Human Development Index at 0.516, down from 153 in the previous year and in line with Zimbabwe (154), but ahead of the Solomon Islands (156) and Mauritania (157).

According to the Report, the Asia-Pacific region is the second most gender-unequal of all developing regions, after the Arab States region. In South Asia, gender gaps in women’s entrepreneurship and labour force participation account for an estimated income loss of 19 percent.

The Report shows that gender-based inequalities affect women and girls over their entire lives. Such differences are illustrated in several ways: higher malnourishment and illness for women; lower labour force participation rates by women, but higher workloads and less rest; less access to financial decision-making; and the pervasive risk of violence.

Geographic remoteness and location also pose barriers for those who live there. The report cites the Pacific islands, where youth unemployment is estimated at 23 percent – but reaches 63 percent in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, 54 percent in Kiribati and 46 percent in the Solomon Islands.

Marginalized groups including women, youth, the elderly, disabled and ill 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. To this end, the report calls for far greater attention to empowering the most marginalized in society and recognizes the importance of giving them a greater voice in decision-making processes.

The report stresses the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to build on past development gains noting that the agenda and human development approach are mutually reinforcing.

Media Contacts:
UNDP Communications Specialist, Alice Plate, alice.plate@undp.org,  +675 7332 4828

About this report: The Human Development Report is an editorially independent publication of the United Nations Development Programme. For free downloads of the 2016 Human Development Report, plus additional reference materials on its indices, please visit: http://hdr.undp.org 

For PNG specific data, please visit: http://hdr.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/PNG http://report.hdr.undp.org/

Full press package in all UN official languages http://hdr.undp.org/en/2016-report/press

United Nations Development Programme in Papua New Guinea:
UNDP is the UN's global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. In Papua New Guinea, UNDP works to improve the state’s ability to deliver public services to its people, and in doing so, plays a vital role in helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), raise the standard of living and protect human rights for all Papua New Guineans. UNDP PNG: http://www.pg.undp.or