United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Human Development Report 2013. The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World. (Shorter Notice)

Publication Year : 2013

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Human Development Report 2013. The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World. New York, USA: UNDP. X+203. The 2013 Human Development Report shows that despite the developed world growing at a slow pace during the past few years, the developing countries have grown at an admirable rate. The Report calls it the “rise of the South”, with not only big countries, such as Brazil, India, China, and Mexico growing rapidly but the smaller countries, including Bangladesh, Ghana and Rwanda also showing considerable improvements in their human development indicators. The drivers of growth in these countries include a proactive developmental state, tapping of global markets, and determined social policy and innovation. Nevertheless, the Report warns that rapid growth of the developing world not only presents opportunities, it also poses challenges as there is more to be achieved yet, especially in terms of human development. Interestingly, the Report argues that the growth experience of the South shows that neither collectivist, central management approach works nor the unbridled liberalisation advocated by the Washington Consensus. The Human Development Report, 2013 however warns that future success is not guaranteed, not even for the high achievers. The Report suggests four areas to keep the momentum going in economic growth and facilitate more progress in human development. These areas are greater equity not only between men and women but also across groups, peoples’ participation in the events and processes that shape their lives, tackling environmental challenges, and managing demographic change. It is projected that in near future, the combined output of Brazil, China, and India will overtake the combined output of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States. Furthermore, the share of Brazil, China, and India in the total global output will rise from 10 percent in 1950 to over 40 percent by 2050. The rise in the economic importance of the South and with changing developmental structures, the challenge is now to shape the global institutions so that the progress becomes sustainable. The Report calls for reforms in the global institutions and stronger regional cooperation. The success of the emerging economies of the South at multiple fronts can be beneficial for other less developed countries as there are many lessons to be learnt from the South’s experience. At the end, the Report argues that global issues, such as climate change, international financial instability, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, etc. have proliferated and the global response has been sluggish. But, according to the Report, the rise of the South presents new opportunities for the provision of public goods at the global level and breaking the stalemate on the global issues. (Ahmed Waqar Qasim).