New UNDP Human Development Report 2022

Sep 10, 2022 | Reports, World Economy

The ongoing Covid-19 pan­demic, having driven reversals in human development in almost every country, continues to spin off variants unpre­dictably. War in Ukraine and elsewhere has created more human suffering. Record-breaking temperatures, fires, storms and floods sound the alarm of planetary systems increasingly out of whack. Together, they are fuelling a cost-of-living crisis felt around the world, painting a pic­ture of uncertain times and unsettled lives.

Uncertainty is not new, but its dimensions are taking om­inous new forms today. A new “uncertainty complex” is emerging, never before seen in human history. Constitut­ing it are three volatile and interacting strands: the desta­bilizing planetary pressures and inequalities of the Anthro­pocene, the pursuit of sweeping societal transformations to ease those pressures and the widespread and intensi­fying polarization.

This new uncertainty complex and each new crisis it spawns are impeding human development and unsettling lives the world over. In the wake of the pandemic, and for the first time ever, the global Human Development Index (HDI) value declined—for two years straight. Many coun­tries experienced ongoing declines on the HDI in 2021. Even before the pandemic, feelings of insecurity were on the rise nearly everywhere. Many people feel alienated from their political systems, and in another reversal, dem­ocratic backsliding has worsened.

There is peril in new uncertainties, in the insecurity, polar­ization and demagoguery that grip many countries. But there is promise, too—an opportunity to reimagine our futures, to renew and adapt our institutions and to craft new stories about who we are and what we value. This is the hopeful path forward, the path to follow if we wish to thrive in a world in flux.

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