29 March 2013

Human Development Report collated annually by the UNDP and this year measuring progress in 186 countries and territories, indicates that New Zealand remains among the World’s most fortunate nations.

Titled the Rise of the South, the report identifies more than 40 developing countries that have done better than expected in human development in recent decades.  Unsurprisingly the OECD countries dominate the measures.  New Zealand is ranked sixth, unchanged from 2012.  About half the countries involved moved up or down one placing, a few moved two places.  The only dramatic change was a 23 place improvement by Libya.

Big economies like Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey have made rapid advances, but smaller economies, such as Bangladesh, Chile, Ghana, Mauritius, Rwanda and Tunisia also report substantial progress.  UNDP recommends enhancing equity, enabling greater voice and participation of citizens, confronting environmental pressures, and managing demographic change as the best ways to sustain HDI momentum.

The report predicts that by 2020, the combined economic output of Brazil, China and India will surpass the aggregate of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States.

2013 HDI rankings

1              Norway

2              Australia

3              United States

4              Netherlands

5              Germany

6              New Zealand

7=           Ireland

7=           Sweden

9              Switzerland

10           Japan

11           Canada

12           South Korea

13           Hong Kong

14           Iceland

15           Denmark

16           Israel

17           Belgium

18=         Austria

18=         Singapore

20           France

21           Finland (about which educationists said much in 2012)

A concern is that the Pacific states rank poorly

95           Tonga

96=         Fiji

96=         Samoa

121         Kiribati

124         Vanuatu

143         Solomon islands

134         Timor Leste

156         Papua New Guinea

Bhutan at 154th doesn’t seem to benefit from its Gross National Happiness focus.

Tuvalu and Nauru are among the eight countries for which there are no measures  (and there is no reference to the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau).