Human Development

Human Development

Human Development


Inclusive and sustainable economic growth is crucial to long-term poverty reduction and growth patterns are as important as growth rates. To this end, the EU should support economic growth paradigms which are inclusive and sustainable, characterised by people’s ability to participate in, and benefit from, wealth and job creation. The promotion of decent work, characterised by job creation, guarantee of rights at work, social protection and social dialogue is vital.

Market-oriented approaches to economic development focusing on GDP have led to rising in equality and the persistence of poverty strongly associated with structural social exclusion. UNDP launched the human development concept in 1990 on the premise that ”While growth in national production (GDP) is absolutely necessary to meet all essential human objectives, what is important is to study how this growth translates - or fails to translate into human development in various societies…The link between economic growth and human development is by no means automatic.

"Theories of human capital formation and human resource development view human beings primarily as means rather than as ends. They are concerned only with the supply side - with human beings as instruments for furthering commodity production. ...But human beings are more than capital goods for commodity production. They are also the ultimate ends and beneficiaries of this process.

"Human welfare approaches look at human beings more as the beneficiaries of the development process than as participants in it. They emphasise distributive policies rather than production structures." (Human Development Report - 1990, UNDP)

This approach aligns well with the values that underpin European social policy and is reflected also in its approach to Development Cooperation:

 ”The EU should take a more comprehensive approach to human development. This involves supporting a healthy and educated population, giving the workforce skills that respond to labour market needs, developing social protection, and reducing inequality of opportunity.” (Agenda for Change)

People need protection against the risks and shocks that can drive them into poverty. They also need decent jobs as the basis for escaping from and avoiding falling into poverty and to live in conditions of equity and dignity. In developing countries most jobs are characterized by low average earnings, a lack of adequate social protection and productivity, violations of labour rights, and unsafe or difficult working conditions. Key areas of work in response to these challenges, such as promoting employment and decent work, enhancing Skills and Vocational Training (TVET) and improving social protection systems or promoting social inclusion, particularly for youth and women, feature high in EU development cooperation.


Legislative documents


Selected results achieved with EU support through projects and programmes completed between mid-2014 and mid-2015


Vocational Education

  • The Triennale on promoting critical knowledge, skills and qualifications for sustainable development in Africa (How to design and implement an effective response by education and training system) was attended by 1 200 key policy makers from 35 African countries. Policy dialogue has been initiated on technical and vocational skills for economic growth and scientific and technological skills for meeting globalisation challenges.
  • In 24 African countries, national Technical Vocational Skills Development measures have been formulated and implemented. Countries have collected information on the employment /training status of young people and intervention measures have been taken.


  • 8 advocacy tools have been developed in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka for the integration of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and HIV. These included 1. Rapid assessment reports, 2. Best practice documentation, 3. A short film on Sexual and Reproductive Health SRH HIV, 4. a summary document on small grant implementation, 5. Two qualitative study reports for Nepal and Sri Lanka, 6. A fact sheet on HIV and SRH in post 2015 sustainable goals, 7. Information education and communication material, 8. Technical issue briefs.
  • 1 500 civil society organisations (CSO) in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have benefited from support through capacity building initiatives, small grants and support for meetings. CSOs have learned about the concept of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) helping them to advocate for integration.
  • 11 000 000 new people have received treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
  • 1 900 000 new basic care and support services (health, education, nutrition, legal protection, shelter and psychosocial) have been provided to HIV orphans and other vulnerable children.
  • 2 billion condoms have been distributed.
  • 250 million people benefitted from HIV counselling and testing.
  • 4 800 000 people received tuberculosis treatment.


  • 4 countries - Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Niger and Vietnam - have developed and implemented policies on the cultural sector and creative and cultural industries with the aim of improved culture governance.
  • The 2005 Convention on protection and promotion of cultural expressions has been implemented with the aim of improving culture governance promotion.