HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX DECLINES

The UNDP Country Representative to Lesotho, Ms. Betty Wabunoha said for the first time in 32 years, the Human Development Index, which measures a nation’s health, education, and standard of living, has declined globally for two years in a row.

She said this when officially launching a Human Development Report (HDR), themed “Technology and Innovations for achieving sustainable development in Lesotho’’.

Ms. Betty noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many economies and institutions to embrace technology, adding that the social-economic challenges that followed the pandemic unveiled a lot of innovations and skills of the youth, women and other native groups.

She further noted that the revolution in technology has created a buzz, and a scramble among development actors to maximize the perceived development benefits and opportunities. Unfortunately, technology may not be the solution for all development challenges. In some cases, technology acquisition is associated with negative development outcomes, like loss of jobs, exclusions, and inequalities.

She, therefore, expressed gratitude to the partnership and collaboration of the Government of Lesotho, through the Ministry of Development Planning in this process, saying as the government starts the design for the new generation NSDP, UNDP anticipate that these human development reports could inform sectoral prioritization and expand the menu of available strategic actions available for achieving inclusivity and economic transformation.

She stressed that the stakeholders challenged UNDP to map the extent to which the various development programmes have been informed by previous human development reports.

Also Speaking, the Director of the Ministry of Development Planning, Mrs. Mahlape Ramoseme said although Lesotho’s ranking has moved only slightly since 1990, the human development ranking and index have always been on the radar for social development policy.

She noted that in collaboration with the Ministry of Development Planning and other national partners, UNDP intends to support the development of the 4th Lesotho Human Development Report to be published in 2022.

She said Technology is selected as one of the four economic growth -drivers in the National Strategic Development Plan II (NSDP II) due to the recognized potential for creating employment and improving economic competition, saying through the NSDP II, the Government of Lesotho anticipates that ‘The transformative potential of technology and innovation in production systems will improve efficiency, effectiveness, and precision of production, necessary to achieve inclusive economic growth and jobs creation.

The Senior Research Officer in the Department of Science, Mrs. Matšepo Masoka said she is glad that Lesotho has chosen technology and innovation as a theme for the National Human Development report when there were numerous options of priorities within our development plans to choose from.

She said It is imperative to consider carefully the definition of technology and innovation in our context as Lesotho so that some of the existing, new and emerging technologies and innovations in our strategies towards human development are not left behind.

She said the main aim of the NHDR is to influence not just policy, but evidence-based policy, saying this is why there is a need to have constant data collection through research and surveys to help provide such evidence.

Meanwhile, there was a stakeholder dialogue on Gender and Human Development:  Implications and opportunities in the transforming world.

The Human Development Report is a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) flagship publication whose primary purpose is to foster human development globally, by ‘creating an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives.

The first Human Development Report was published in 1990, and it introduced human development as a new approach to measuring progress beyond economic growth by focusing on human wellbeing. The concept of human development places people at the centre of the development process. And it equates development with people’s opportunity to lead valuable lives by expanding their capabilities, freedoms, and choices.

By staff Reporter Maphoka Likotsi

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