Guyana Ranked in Medium Category in 2016 Human Development Report

Apr 26, 2017

From left to right: University of Guyana Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith, UNDP Guyana Deputy Resident Representative, Ms Shabnam Mallick and Minister of Finance, Honourable Winston Jordan.

Guyana’s Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.638 which puts the county in the medium human development category and positioning it at 127 out of 188 countries and territories. This is according the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) flagship report on Human Development for 2016.

The report finds that although average human development improved significantly across all regions from 1990 to 2015, one in three people worldwide continue to live in low levels of human development as measured by the Human Development Index (HDI).

The 2016 Human Development Report (HDR) was launch in Guyana by Honourable Winston Jordan, Minister of Finance on 26th April, 2017 under the theme “Human Development for Everyone” at the New Lecture Theatre at the University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus.

In his remarks to launch to report, Minister Jordan noted that he views the theme of the report as people centered and it reflects the new focus on an all-inclusive human development which is expected to place greater emphasis on employment, redistribution of growth and the basic needs of people.

Minister Jordan explained that 126 countries were ranked higher than Guyana while 61 fared worse. He emphasized that “while Guyana is trending in the right direction, it is nothing to either shout about or write home about but rather it is a clarion reminder that we must work harder and smarter to conquer the scourge of poverty.”

Minister Jordan said he agrees that “Human Development of Everyone” is attainable but only if there is a collective effort to ensure that our work programmes reflect the multidimensional nature of development and poverty so that development is addressed in a holistic, coordinated manner.

It was on that premise, the Finance Minister commended the UNDP for its ongoing work in developing the report over the years. He said it serves as a useful tool as well as a reminder to aid countries in measuring their progress across a range of human development indicators.

Ms. Shabnam Mallick, UNDP Guyana Deputy Resident Representative emphasized that the 2016 HDR’s vision builds on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and explores who has been left behind in human development progress and why.

She explained that human development progress over the past 25 years has been impressive on many fronts but the gains have not been universal. “There are imbalances across countries; socioeconomic, ethnic and racial groups; urban and rural areas; women and men.”

It is against this backdrop, Ms. Mallick highlighted that the Human Development Report is of course not all about challenges; it has several hopeful notes such as human development for everyone is attainable and transformations in human development is possible.

Professor Ivelaw Griffith, Vice Chancellor and Principal at the University of Guyana, in his remarks posited that the report is a product that will enable actions and conversations that will make a difference in the global community.

He explained that “the HDR is an enabler to deal with some of the problems affecting us” and expressed optimism that with the launch of the report in Guyana, there will be tangible opportunities for the University and by extension the entire country to continue partnering with the UNDP in meeting some of the challenges.

Dr. Patrick Chesney, UNDP Guyana Programme Specialist delivered an analytical and explanatory presentation on the findings of the report particularly in the context of Guyana. He explained that between 1990 and 2015, Guyana’s HDI increased by almost 18% from 0.541 to 0.638. He explained that the HDI has been adjusted for inequality and it looks at three (3) dimensions – long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living.

Life expectancy at birth increased by three (3) years, mean years of schooling increased by 1.6 years, expected years of schooling increased by 0.2 years and Gross National Income (GNI) per capita increased by 201%.

The Human Development Report is an editorially independent publication of the United Nations Development Programme. The full report can be downloaded at http://hdr.undp.org.

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