Nepal moves one spot up in Human Development Index, ranks 143rdThe report indicates Nepal has largely maintained a stable position over the past two years despite numerous shocks, including the Covid-19 pandemic and natural disasters.
Nepal ranked 143rd among 191 countries in the Human Development Index for 2021.
Though the country climbed up one position in the ranking, the Human Development Index (HDI) value declined from 0.604 to 0.602 due to continued turbulence caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Human Development Report 2021-22 unveiled in Kathmandu on Monday.
“From the human development index perspective, 90 percent of countries have seen their HDI value decrease either in 2020 or 2021,” said Swarnim Wagle, chief economic advisor of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) regional bureau for Asia and the Pacific.
“In terms of the global average, we are back to 2016 when we launched the sustainable development goals,” Wagle added.
The report indicates Nepal has largely maintained a stable position over the past two years despite numerous shocks, including the Covid-19 pandemic and natural disasters, said Ayshanie Medagangoda-Labe, UNDP’s Resident Representative in Nepal. “This is because of the long investments over the years.”
Nepal needs everyone’s wisdom, experience and more importantly a positive attitude to cope with the crisis and make more choices available to the people in the coming days, she added.
The report said policies focusing on investment, insurance, and innovation will enable people to tackle the challenging circumstances in the coming days.
Former finance minister Yubaraj Khatiwada said that the HDI report was difficult to read. “Such reports should be simpler, easy to understand and ready to be implemented. Nowadays, the global reports are getting more and more complicated.”
“It seems that we are trying to fit everything into the human development report,” said Khatiwada. “Perhaps, those who are not much committed to that kind of stuff would just stop reading it midway.”
The index is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.
“The analysis shows Nepal continues to incur a substantive loss in human development due to persisting inequalities,” according to UNDP. “Nepal continued to lose over 25 percent in human development due to inequalities across gender, caste, geographic regions and other categories.”
The 2021 female Human Development Index value for Nepal is 0.584 in contrast with 0.621 for males, resulting in a Gender Development Index value of 0.942, placing it into Group 3, which consists of countries with medium equality in Human Development Index achievements between women and men.
Records show that during 2019 and 2020, Nepal’s performance was comparatively low in areas including maternal mortality, shares of parliamentary seats held by women and women’s participation in the labour force, according to the report.
Nepal stands at 113th position in the global Gender Inequality Index which measures the loss in human development due to inequality between female and male achievements in three key dimensions–reproductive health, empowerment, and labour market.
While reproductive health is measured by maternal mortality ratio and adolescent birth rates, empowerment is measured by the shares of parliamentary seats held and the population with at least some secondary education by each gender and labour market participation is calculated by the labour force participation rates for women and men, according to the report.
In South Asia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives ranked 73rd and 90th respectively.
Bhutan, Bangladesh and India are in the same category ranking 127th, 129th, and 132nd, and Pakistan and Afghanistan remained in the low human development category in the 161st and 180th positions, respectively.
Nepal’s HDI value was 0.399 when it was first measured in 1990, according to the report.
In the 31-year-period, Nepal’s life expectancy at birth increased by 13.6 years, mean years of schooling changed by 2.8 years and the GNI per capita changed by around 146 percent, the report says.
While Switzerland stood top of the table with a 0.962 HDI value, the previous topper Norway came second with a value of 0.961.