The UNDP’s new report ranks countries by how well its citizens can lead a long and healthy life, acquire knowledge, and achieve a decent standard of living.
The rankings also compare how females and males are doing, and look at other factors such as inequality, women’s empowerment, and under-reported aspects of poverty.
Here are some of the report’s findings that we found interesting:
1) Europe takes in too few refugees – but developed countries in general can take in more people
Europe is home to only 6 percent of global refugees – and 86 percent are in developing countries. The report says the size of the population in most developed countries is on a decline, and migration can be crucial in addressing this issue.
The six richest nations host only 9 percent of refugees worldwide, meaning developed countries can accommodate more refugees.
2) In most cases, refugees and migrants do not bring bloodshed
Over the past few years, the deadliest attacks around the world have been perpetrated by citizens born in the targeted countries, according to the Human Development Report Office.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights Ben Emmerson said, "While there is no evidence that migration leads to increased terrorist activity, migration policies that are restrictive or that violate human rights may in fact create conditions conducive to terrorism.”
3) Most refugees aren’t young, able-bodied men
These children may be refugees, internally displaced persons or migrants.
4) Countries in the developed world are also grappling with poverty
Poverty is no longer a problem of developing regions only, it is also on the rise in developed countries.
Poverty can take different forms in both developed and developing countries, but its effect on those experiencing it is more or less the same.
5) Sweden’s economy has been boosted by immigration
Immigration has helped fuel Sweden’s biggest economic boom in five years. In 2015, Sweden took in more refugees per capita than any other country in Europe.
The National Institute of Economic and Social Research, a Britain-based think-tank, says that Sweden’s economy has benefited from the larger workforce. But at the same time, the research institute has also emphasised the difference between immigrants and refugees.
Presenting Sweden’s economic growth as an example, the report says that, despite the perception that the influx of refugees is a burden in the short-term, other countries should also incorporate migration policy within their systems and formulate a long-term strategy to integrate refugees.
6) More women in the workforce doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re more empowered
Increasing the number of women in the workforce is an important objective, but if they enter it under poor conditions, their empowerment may not be improved. Women’s economic empowerment cannot be achieved unless significant gender gaps existing in women’s paid and unpaid work are removed.
Much of women’s paid work remains informal and, and on average, women carry out at least two and a half times more unpaid household and care work than men.
7) New laws are helping women get their rights
The report says that governments need to implement legal reforms to reduce the cases of genital mutilation and cutting, femicide, acid violence and honour violence, and presented the example of Bangladesh, where acid attacks fell from 494 incidents in 2002, to 59 in 2015, after the passage of the first law to ban acid attacks.
8) Globalisation is here to stay
We are living in an era where xenophobia, fundamentalism, populism and racism are on the rise in many parts of the world. Globalisation cannot be rolled back, the report says, so the challenge is to ensure that it leaves no one behind.
The UN report says some globalisation does pose some loopholes, like tax avoidance and illegal financial flows, and cited the Panama Papers leak and the Apple court battle with the European Union as examples of how large firms and high-income groups take advantage of regulatory loopholes.
These activities weaken governance and reduce consumption as well as investment and social spending, and also hurt the progress of humans in the long term.