Latin America and the Caribbean is a region of great contrasts, where wealth and prosperity coexist with vulnerability and extreme poverty. The list of contrasts is long and familiar. The region is also characterized by very volatile and low average growth, explained by low productivity. This Regional Human Development Report argues that the region is caught in a trap of high inequality and low growth. These two phenomena interact in a vicious circle that limits the ability to advance on all fronts of human development. Understanding the nature of the trap is critical to breaking free from it.
This series aims to disseminate research in progress relevant to advancing our understanding of complex development issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. It feeds on research produced within UNDP initiatives by scholars from the region or interested in the region. It showcases research meant for later publication in other outlets -journals or books- that, for the same reason, has been subject to a demanding peer-review process before appearing as part of the series.
This UNDP Annual Report takes a look at the results we achieved with countries and communities through 12 intense months. It considers the role we played as the technical lead of the UN’s socio-economic response to the COVID-19 crisis, providing in-country analysis to help 144 countries better understand what action to take, deploying nearly US$1 billion to over 170 countries and territories, helping government and health systems to function, protecting jobs and livelihoods and rapidly expanding social protection.
Latin America and the Caribbean has been hard hit by COVID-19. The consequences derived from the pandemic in the economic, social and political spheres refer to pre-existing institutional conditions in the region, including low trust in institutions, political and social polarization, perception of State capture and weakened political parties.
The 2020 Human Development Report (HDR) doubles down on the belief that people’s agency and empowerment can bring about the action we need if we are to live in balance with the planet in a fairer world. It shows that we are at an unprecedented moment in history, in which human activity has become a dominant force shaping the planet. These impacts interact with existing inequalities, threatening significant development reversals. Nothing short of a great transformation – in how we live, work and cooperate – is needed to change the path we are on. The Report explores how to jumpstart that transformation.
Inequality, discrimination and exclusion remain severe obstacles to universal sustainable development. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has exacerbated this development deficit and challenged the aspiration of access to justice for all. People living in poverty and marginalized groups may not be aware of their legal rights and often lack legal protection and access to mechanisms to remedy their grievances, resulting in increased vulnerability. Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) has a devastating, long-term effect on the lives of victims, their families and communities, and impedes development progress.
The next phase of UNDP’s COVID-19 crisis response is designed to help decision-makers look beyond recovery, towards 2030, making choices and managing complexity and uncertainty in four main areas: governance, social protection, green economy, and digital disruption. It encompasses our role in technically leading the UN’s socio-economic response.
UNDP is committed to helping Guyana and other countries around the world to build and share solutions to development challenges. In all of our activities, we encourage the protection of human rights, the building of national capacity and the empowerment of women and indigenous people. In Guyana, UNDP works to fight poverty by supporting human development in a sustainable way. This concept is called Sustainable Human Development (SHD). As such, our work here focuses on poverty reduction, democratic governance, and matters relating to the environment, extractive industries and energy.
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