A failure to act on increasing environmental threats, including climate change, deforestation, and air and water pollution, could halt the encouraging human development progress of many developing countries. This is one of the key messages from the United Nations Development Programme’s 2013 report, ‘The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World’, which assesses developing countries’ progress in areas such as health, education and wealth. Read more…
The report reveals that more than 40 developing countries have achieved better than expected results against the UN Human Development Index, which combines measures of health, education and wealth. Furthermore, some countries are demonstrating improvements at an unprecedented rate. However, the report argues that environmental threats represent the most significant obstacle to achieving further progress. Indeed, the inaction regarding worsening environmental challenges could counteract the other important social and economic gains.
The report acknowledges that environmental threats affect everyone, but says they impact most on poor countries despite their typically minimal contribution to the problem. It says that climate change is already having debilitating effects, such as ecosystem losses and constraints on livelihoods, particularly among the poorest communities. The cost of inaction will be high and will increase the longer the inaction continues. The report strongly advocates the development of new policies and structural changes that would align human development with climate change goals in low-emission and climate-resilient strategies
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