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HDR 2014 Identifies Climate Change as Critical Development Challenge

UNDP24 July 2014: Addressing vulnerabilities is critical to ensure equitable and sustainable human development, according to the 2014 Human Development Report (HDR). The report, titled ‘Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience,' considers factors that contribute risks to human development and ways to strengthen resilience.

The report recommends reducing poverty and people's vulnerability to falling into poverty as a central objective of the post-2015 agenda, stressing that “eliminating extreme poverty is not just about 'getting to zero;' it is also about staying there.” According to the report, 1.5 billion people are multi-dimensionally poor while another 800 million are at risk of falling back into poverty.

The HDR identifies climate change as "one of the most critical challenges to the global development agenda." It highlights the under-provision of climate stability and resulting vulnerability to extreme weather events and food crises as a recurring threat around the world. It recommends urgent action on climate change, underscoring the need for multilateral action and a comprehensive approach. The report calls for improving global governance, arguing that “larger, first-order changes to governance architectures may be needed before progress is likely to be made on…climate change.”

Stronger collective action and improved global coordination and commitment on enhancing resilience is necessary to respond to vulnerabilities that are global in origin and impact and address trans-national threats, according to the report. It describes how transnational threats from climate change and conflicts result in local and national effects. It mentions the example of Niger, which experienced food and nutrition crises as a result of a series of droughts, while coping with an influx of refugees from Mali.

The report further recommends: implementing universal provision of basic social services; addressing life cycle and structural vulnerabilities; strengthening social protection; promoting full employment; promoting responsive institutions and cohesive societies; and building capacities to prepare for and recover from crises. the HDR also calls for greater efforts to strengthen national and regional early warning systems as part of disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies.

Japan Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark and Director of the Human Development Report Office Khalid Malik launched the report in Tokyo, Japan. [UNDP Press Release] [Report Website] [Publication: Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience]