Malawi launches the 2014 Human Development ReportSep 21, 2014
The Government of Malawi in collaboration with UNDP held a national launch of the 2014 Human Development Report on 10th September in the capital, Lilongwe.
The report, titled Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience, indicates that the Human Development Index for Malawi is 0.414, ranking the country at position 178 out of 187 countries. Malawi’s HDI falls below the average of 0.493 for countries in the low human development group and below the average of 0.502 for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The launch which was graced by Dr. Goodall Gondwe, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, provided a platform for stakeholders to better appreciate the concept and relevance of resilience and the resilience agenda being pursued by the government and the UN system in the country.
In his opening speech, Dr. Gondwe appreciated the critical role that the HDR plays in bringing out the multiple dimensions of poverty, moving beyond the sole use of income per capita as a definitive measure of human welfare.
He deplored Malawi’s Human Development Index ranking as the country keeps on ranking so low in almost all the dimensions that the report measures.
“It is not as if we don’t have resources; it is not as if we don’t have examples before us on how to do it; and it is not as if we didn’t go to school. A number of us have been to school - some very prestigious schools outside the country and are educated just like anybody in the world.
“Yet time and again, in every aspect, we keep on leaving and tolerating, if I may use that world, the situation as it is such that our country is at the tail end of the world,” lamented Dr. Gondwe.
He nevertheless encouraged all Malawians to take responsibility of the country’s development by emphasizing the significance of having a self-sustaining economy.
“Malawi will not be developed and changed by people from outside the country. Malawi will be changed by us, we Malawians. Don’t think the conditions in the villages will change because someone from heaven came to change things. We have to do it ourselves. We have to respect the resources we have and use them carefully,” said Dr. Gondwe.
According to the report, Malawi, similar to other developing countries, is faced with persistent vulnerability which threatens human development, and unless it is systematically addressed, development progress will be neither equitable nor sustainable, and life will be even harder for those living in extreme poverty and deprivation.
Noting how holistic the report’s approach to vulnerability is and its proposed ways of how nations can build resilience, Ms. Mia Seppo, Resident Representative for UNDP in Malawi, called upon the various stakeholders present to use the recommendations in the report in the discussions about resilience that are taking place in Malawi.
“It is imperative that we reflect on the vulnerabilities that limit human development so crushingly in order for us to overcome them. At all levels, we must create robust resilience to avoid seeing reversals to the gains in economic and social development, and to be able to absorb potentially destabilizing shocks of every kind,” said Ms. Seppo.
She also highlighted what the government of Malawi and the United Nations are doing to build resilience in the country.
“The UN is currently working with the Government of Malawi in piloting resilience interventions in Phalombe, Balaka and Zomba, looking to link the various government and partner interventions - in agriculture and food security; social protection; economic recovery & livelihoods; health & nutrition; disaster risk management; environmental management & climate change; cross-cutting: HIV/AIDS, governance, gender and capacity building - into a coherent whole.
“The UN is also finalizing an integrated context analysis at the national level, seasonal livelihood programming at the district level, and community based participatory planning in Balaka and Zomba. This analysis can usefully support more effective programming to better link humanitarian response, resilience building and longer term development investments,” said Ms. Seppo.
The 2014 Human Development Report is the latest in the series of global Human development Reports published by UNDP as independent, empirically grounded analyses of major development issues, trends and policies. The full report can be found here.