x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

UAE ranks high in UN development report

The UAE ranks in the top quarter of the United Nations Human Development Report, and highest among the 20 Arab States.

The UAE is ranked in the top quarter of the United Nations Human Development Report, and is ahead of all 20 Arab states.

Ranking as the 30th most-sustainable and equitable country, the Emirates rose two spots from last year, cementing its position in the list of countries with "very high human development".

The 2011 report, titled "Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All", was released yesterday and ranked 187 countries by assessing factors that impact human capability and development. This includes social policies, environmental risk factors and financial gaps.

Among the Arab States, Qatar ranked 37, Bahrain 42, and Saudi Arabia 56.

Norway, Australia and the Netherlands were the top three, followed by the United States and New Zealand.

However, the report emphasised that continuing social and financial gaps coupled with environmental dangers could significantly set developing countries back from further progress.

Income distribution has worsened and grave gender imbalances still persist, the report stated, adding that the accelerating environmental destruction puts a "double burden of deprivation" on the poorest households and communities. The report also states that half of all malnutrition worldwide is attributable to environmental factors, such as water pollution and drought-driven scarcity.

By 2050, an "environmental challenge" factoring in the effects of global warming on food production and pollution could make the Human Development Index 12 per cent lower than it would be otherwise in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

However, UN experts say the track towards global progress in human development does not solely rely on improving environmental conditions.

"Sustainability is not exclusively or even primarily an environmental issue, as this report so persuasively argues," said Helen Clark, the United Nations Development administrator, in the foreword. "It is fundamentally about how we choose to live our lives, with an awareness that everything we do has consequences for the seven billion of us here today, as well as for the billions more who will follow, for centuries to come."

mismail@thenational.ae