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Enormous potential for human developmet: UN report



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No. MT33 Date: 22 ^ 1991

: Enormous potential for human development: UN Report

Enormous potential exists for human development through the world, according to the authors of a major international report prepared by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Welcoming the release of the Human Development Report (HDR) today (22 May), the Minister for Trade and Overseas Development, Neal Blewett, said the report makes a major contribution to the international debate on development issues, challenging governments around the world to tackle economic and social reform.

"The report clearly states that the potential is enormous for restructuring national budgets and international aid in favour of human development. At times controversial, it is highly critical of some governments' expenditure policies, and describes what most governments could do to help their poor more effectively," Dr

Blewett said.

The HDR goes well beyond conventional economic analysis in order to define the goals, and the limits, of development. The use of annual per capita income as the generally-accepted measure of levels of development, or living standards, is regarded by UNDP as inadequate.

The report merges income with life expectancy and literacy to give a broader and more accurate picture of living standards in different countries. It also highlights disparities in living standards of men and women, confirming that gender discrimination is a worldwide problem, particularly in countries where resources are scarce. Income distribution, showing the gap between rich and poor, and indices of progress between 1970 and 1985, are also taken into account.

One of the main themes of the report is the close link between human development and human freedom - defined in all its forms. The authors state that "...the goal of human development is to increase people's choices, but for people to exercise their choices, they must enjoy freedom".

Dr Blewett commended this year's HDR to the Australian community, saying that while the publication is likely to provoke controversy, it makes a bold contribution to the international debate on the restructuring of national budgets and aid

programs.

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"The Australian Government welcomes the Human Development Report, and endorses UNDP's undertaking to support developing countries' attempts to translate their human development priorities into programs of action."

For further information contact Ali Gillies, Director, Public Information, AIDAB: (06)276 4971.- ;