Sustainable Development Goals
16 December 2020 | 1:00am - 5:00am
Malaysian launch of the Human Development Report 2020
The Launch of UNDP’s Human Development Report 2020 #HDR2020Forum: The Next Frontier:Human development and the Anthropocene
About the event
The Anthropocene is the new geological age scientists argue we now find ourselves in, where human activity is shaping the planet, to a greater extent, more than the planet shapes human activity. The pressures humans collectively place on our planetary systems – the pressures that created the Anthropocene – are manifested not just as climate change and biodiversity loss but in pollution, ocean acidification, land degradation and more.
Negative interactions among humans, livestock and wildlife have increased steadily, ultimately squeezing local ecosystems to an extent where deadly viruses spill out like in the case of the novel coronavirus which caused the COVID-19 pandemic. The fast spread of COVID-19 around our interconnected world has exploited and exacerbated myriad inequalities in human development while pre-existing crises continue. Consider climate change where new records have been set both in the number of storms and their intensity during the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane. Extraordinary wildfires have scorched enormous parts of South Australia, South America’s Pantanal wetlands region, eastern Siberia in Russia, and the West Coast of the United States. The resulting loss in biodiversity has been exacerbated by human-related activities.
The human development approach has much to contribute in addressing our collective paralysis in the face of alarming planetary change. Human development is about expanding human freedoms and opening more choices for people to chart their own development paths according to their diverse values rather than prescribing a specific path. Economic growth is important, especially for developing countries. Raising income levels is crucial for those living in poverty in every country. The human development approach reminds us that economic growth is more about the means rather than the end. A nature-based human development will help us tackle three central challenges simultaneously — mitigating and adapting to climate change, protecting biodiversity and ensuring human wellbeing for all. Only governments have the formal authority and power to marshal collective action to global shared challenges. New ways of doing things require new ways of measuring human development against its impact on the planet.
In this year’s report, the Planetary Pressure Adjusted Human Development Index (PHDI) is introduced as an experimental index that adjusts the Human Development Index (HDI) for planetary pressures in the Anthropocene. It should be seen as an incentive for transformation. This is not a choice between people and trees. If nature cannot flourish, neither can human development.