UN report calls for human development
China must take concrete measures to convert its economic miracles into sustained progress in human development, according to a UN report released yesterday.
China's economic advance has outpaced social progress, though it has made rapid progress in offering basic education, medical and social security benefits for its 1.3 billion population, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said in the 2005 Human Development Report.
China is facing the challenge of ensuring that remarkable income growth is converted into sustained progress in non-income dimensions of human development, the UN organization said.
China is world's fastest growing economy over the past two decades, with per capita incomes rising threefold.
Since 1990, the country has climbed 20 places in the Human Development Index to rank 85.
"On behalf of the UNDP, I congratulate the Chinese Government and people once again for this truly colossal achievement," said Khalid Malik, UN Resident Co-ordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in China, at yesterday's launching ceremony.
The report recognized China's massive achievements in poverty relief in the past 30 years, saying that if it were not for China, the world would have regressed in poverty alleviation.
However, the report asserted that "there are worrying indications that social progress is starting to lag behind economic growth performance, with the slowdown in the rate of reduction in child deaths a special concern," says the report.
"Crippling low incomes, lack of access to health care and low education prospects all plague the Chinese countryside," said Malik.
The report also points to the country's regional inequality. For example, says the report, if Southwest China's Guizhou Province were a country, it would rank just above Namibia, while East China's Shanghai Municipality would rank alongside Portugal on the Human Development Index.
Released every year since 1990, the report provides an update on development problems and solutions around the world, each time with a new theme.
This year's report examined the links between global aid, trade and security policies in lifting the poorest out of extreme poverty.
"The world's highest trade barriers are erected against some of its poorest countries," says the UN publication.