The world was left on a lower human development trajectory by the Pandemic


Dozens of poor nations have yet to regain their pre-pandemic levels of overall well-being, amid signs that the pandemic may have permanently depressed the world’s development trajectory, according to a U.N. report.
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ArrowRight Four years after societal lockdowns disrupted the global economy, every affluent nation has regained its pre-pandemic score on a U.N. ranking called the Human Development Index (HDI).
Yet half of the world’s poorest countries, including Nigeria, Pakistan and Sierra Leone, continue to languish below their 2019 readings.
After its pandemic-related decline, the global index last year finally topped its precrisis level.
But unlike the precrisis era, when developed and developing countries advanced at similar rates, today the world is experiencing a “rich man, poor man” recovery.
“The gap between the richest and the poorest in our world has widened.
… We face the risk of having permanent losses in human development unless we change course,” said economist Pedro Conceição, the U.N. report’s principal author.
The United Nations in 1990 introduced the index — which blends a population’s life expectancy, years of schooling and per-person income — as a broad gauge of human development.
This year’s HDI analysis sketched a gloomy picture of a world that, while materially richer than in the past, is deeply stressed, politically divided and shadowed by war.
AdvertisementNot since 1945 have there been so many cross-border armed conflicts.
They forcibly displaced 108 million people in 2022, a number greater than the population of Germany and more than 2.5 times the 2010 figure, the report said.
Countries are increasingly turning inward at a time when global challenges such as climate change and the rise of artificial intelligence require a collaborative response, said Achim Steiner, administrator of the U.N. Development Program, which produced the assessment.
UNDP officials called for greater financial support for “global public goods,” such as vaccine development and climate change mitigation efforts, and said political leaders must “dial down the temperature and push back on polarization, which poisons practically everything it touches and impedes international cooperation.”AdvertisementThe root of the problem is world leaders’ failure to properly manage globalization, which lifted 1.5 billion people out of crushing poverty in the developing world while leaving many factory workers in developed countries like the United States feeling they had paid the price, U.N. officials said.
This political failure fueled the growth of inequality and inflamed popular resentments that have left societies — and increasingly the global community — unable to agree on joint action.
Share this article ShareThe backlash to “mismanaged interdependence” is a product of both economics and culture, Conceição said.
People in communities that suffered relative economic decline have concluded that the system is not working for them.
And under economic stress, many individuals have sought solace in shared identities that are defined in opposition to other groups, leading to polarization.
Advertisement“What we’re observing in many countries is that people are becoming clustered in groups in which they disagree — not on a few issues — but on almost everything,” he said.
Worsening political polarization within and between nations is producing “gridlock” on obvious needs, such as helping less-developed countries cope with the effects of climate change, the report said.
Polarization has increased since 2011 in more than two-thirds of countries.
A deep malaise also stalks people in countries around the world.
Two-thirds of those surveyed worldwide say they have no influence over their government’s decisions.
More than half say they have no, or only limited, control over their own lives.
“If you only measure progress or advances in development by income, by per capita income, per capita GDP, you’re missing a significant part of what actually defines a human being’s perception of the conditions under which he or she lives,” Steiner said.
AdvertisementThe report’s authors also warned about a rising tide of popular support for anti-democratic leaders.
Though surveys show that roughly 90 percent of people around the world favor democracy as an objective, more than half of the world’s population now backs political figures who threaten to undermine it in practice, they said.
The wave of populism that has spread across the United States, Europe and Latin America threatens progress on human development, according to the study, which cited research showing that populist governments preside over lower economic growth.
With nations still bound together by trade, technology and finance, globalization should be reformed, not abandoned, the report concluded.
More attention must be devoted to environmental concerns, supply chain resilience and the needs of heavily indeb

Given indications that the pandemic may have permanently slowed down global development, dozens of developing countries still have not recovered their pre-pandemic levels of general well-being, a U.S. N. report. Receive a carefully chosen list of ten of our greatest stories each weekend in your inbox. ArrowRight All wealthy countries have recovered their pre-pandemic score on a U.S. economic index, four years after social lockdowns caused economic disruption worldwide. N. A ranking system known as the Human Development Index (HDI). However, half of the world’s poorest nations—Nigeria, Pakistan, and Sierra Leone, among others—remain below their 2019 estimates.

The global index eventually exceeded its precrisis level last year, following a decline linked to the pandemic. However, the global recovery that is currently taking place is a “rich man, poor man” phenomenon, in contrast to the pre-crisis era, when developed and developing nations advanced at similar rates.

The world’s wealthiest and poorest people now live in wider disparities. Should we continue on our current path, we run the risk of suffering irreversible losses in human development, according to economist Pedro Conceição of the U.S. N. chief author of the report.

The index was first presented by the UN in 1990 as a comprehensive indicator of human development. It combines life expectancy, years of education, and per-person income for a population. The HDI analysis for this year painted a bleak image of a world that is materially richer than it was a century ago, but is also extremely stressed, politically divided, and plagued by conflict.

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There haven’t been this many cross-border armed conflicts since 1945. According to the report, they forcibly relocated 108 million people in 2022—more than twice as many as in 2010 and more than Germany’s population.

In an era where cooperative responses are needed to address global issues like climate change and the emergence of artificial intelligence, nations are becoming more inward-looking, according to Achim Steiner, administrator of the U.S. N. Evaluation was created by the Development Program.

Government leaders need to “dial down the temperature and push back on polarization, which poisons practically everything it touches and impedes international cooperation,” according to UNDP officials, who also called for increased financial support for “global public goods” like vaccine development and efforts to mitigate climate change. “.


Globalization helped 1.5 billion people escape extreme poverty in developing nations, but it also left many factory workers in developed nations like the US feeling as though they had paid a higher price. The issue stems from the incompetence of world leaders in managing this phenomenon. N. declared officials.

This political failure fanned the flames of popular resentment and inequality, making it harder for societies and the international community as a whole to come to consensus on cooperative action.

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Conceição stated that the opposition to “mismanaged interdependence” stems from both cultural and economic factors.

Residents in areas that saw a relative economic downturn have come to the conclusion that the system is ineffective for them. Furthermore, polarization has resulted from people finding comfort in shared identities that are defined in opposition to other groups during times of economic stress.

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“People are congregating in groups where they disagree—not just on a few issues, but on almost everything—what we’re seeing in many countries,” he stated.

A growing political polarization both within and between countries is causing “gridlock” on basic needs, like aiding less developed nations in adapting to climate change, according to the report. In excess of two-thirds of the countries, polarization has escalated since 2011.

People in many nations around the world also suffer from a deep malaise. Among people polled globally, two thirds claim they have no say in the decisions made by their government. Over 50% of them claim to have little to no control over their own lives.

According to Steiner, “you’re missing a significant part of what actually defines a human being’s perception of the conditions under which he or she lives if you only measure progress or advances in development by income, by per capita income, or by per capita GDP.”.


A growing wave of public support for leaders who oppose democracy was another cautionary note issued by the report’s authors. More than half of the world’s population now supports political figures who pose a threat to democracy in practice, despite the fact that surveys indicate that about 90% of people support democracy as an objective.

According to the report, which included data demonstrating that populist governments oversee slower economic growth, the wave of populism that has swept across the US, Europe, and Latin America poses a threat to the advancement of human development.

According to the report’s conclusion, globalization should be modified rather than abandoned since trade, technology, and finance continue to bind nations together. The needs of highly indebted developing countries, supply chain resilience, and environmental concerns all require more focus.

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