March 20, 2024

SDGs: Nigeria, rest of the world off track – 2023/24 UNDP report

UNDP’s agricultural intervention programme to boost rice production in Nigeria

The United Nations Development Programme UNDP

By Gabriel Ewepu

The UNDP 2023/24 Human Development Report indicated Nigeria and the rest of the world are off track to achieving Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, by 2030.

This 2023/24 Human Development Report was launched in Nigeria, yesterday, by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun.

Meanwhile, as contained in the report, the world is off course in the quest to meet the SDGs in 2030, amidst raging, ravaging, and widening conflicts and wars around the world that are at their highest since the end of World War II.

This is contained in the 2023/24 Human Development Report launched in Nigeria yesterday by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun.

The report highlighted how much off track the world was to meet the 2030 Agenda and the promise of leaving no one behind.

The launch of the report in Nigeria was designed to extend the conversation on the topics of the report, placing them in a Nigerian context and raising national awareness among key stakeholders about the key findings of the report.
It was also aimed at catalyzing necessary policy actions by the Nigerian Government, the diplomatic community, and other stakeholders to address the findings and implement the recommendations of the report.
National Income (GNI) per capita, education, and life expectancy – have been partial, incomplete, and unequal.

Speaking at the launch, Edun said: “The HDR is a rallying cry that we can and must do better than this, and it charts a way forward for conversations on reimagining development cooperation for a better world. In re-imagining cooperation, international financial architecture ought to be structured to proactively support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the realization of human rights.

He added: “The only way to facilitate such a structure is through ambitious reforms, starting with more inclusive, representative, and ultimately, more effective global economic governance.”

For the last 34 years, UNDP has released the Human Development Report and Index annually, ranking all countries by health, education and living standards. In the last 3 decades, UNDP has produced more than 800 global, regional, national, and sub-national reports, and organized hundreds of workshops, conferences, and other outreach initiatives to foster human development.

Human development is about expanding the richness of human life rather than simply the richness of the economy. It focuses on people and their opportunities and choices.

On his part, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mohamed Fall said: “The HDR argues that polarization and mismanagement of cross-border interdependencies are at the root of many contemporary challenges, ranging from debt distress in numerous low- and middle-income countries to threats to food security to a pervasive sense of disempowerment around the world.

He further added: “Polarization within and amongst our countries is creating “a global gridlock,” and preventing us from forging international cooperation towards addressing our shared challenges. This polarization, whether at the sub-national, national, regional, or global levels signifies an erosion of trust, that is dividing societies into opposing camps and poisoning domestic and international cooperation.”

The HDI is projected to reach record highs in 2023 after steep declines during 2020 and 2021. But this progress is deeply uneven. Rich countries are experiencing record-high levels of human development while half of the world’s poorest countries remain below their pre-crisis level of progress.

While presenting her remarks, the Resident Representative for UNDP Nigeria, Ms. Elsie G Attafuah said, “Since its [HDR] inception, the Human Development Report has become a flagship knowledge product. This unique annual report has not only helped to establish a new broad definition of development but also to evaluate the progress made and highlight key challenges drawing on statistics.

“This report encourages political leaders and development practitioners around the world to keep raising our ambitions and following up on areas that need support. Ms. Attafuah further added: “The Report calls us to change course, otherwise the world may not recover from the decline in human progress.

“The repercussion of not changing course and removing the gridlock is in the additional lives that will be lost, in opportunities that will be forgone, and in feelings of despair.

“The report presents ways forward that hinge on reimagining cooperation in ways that do not assume away divergent interests or opinions but work with them to deliver global public goods – where we all stand to benefit.

“This report opens a new trilogy of human development reports that will explore further the layers of uncertainty identified in the latest HDR: how to address polarization (2023-24), shape our shared digital future to advance human development (2025), and marshal human aspirations to navigate the Anthropocene (2026).”

Also, present at the launch were the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Sen. Abubakar Bagudu, Honourable Minister of State for Labour and Employment, H.E Nkiruka Onyejeocha, Honourable Minister of Youth Development, Dr Jamila Bio Ibrahim and the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Mohamed M.M Fall.

UNDP published the first Human Development Report in 1990 with an introduction of a new Human Development Index (HDI) to measure development progress. The underlying principle of the HDI, considered radical in 1990, was very simple: national development should be measured not simply by per capita income, as had long been the practice, but also by health, education and other important indicators.