'Rise of the South' - Sri Lanka ranked high in human development

02 Apr 2013

image From left: Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, H. E. John Rankin, Hon. (Prof) G. L. Peiris, Mr. Subinay Nandy, Dr. B. M. S. Batagoda and Ms. Priyanthi Fernando

The Human Development Report 2013 (HDR 2013) published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was launched in Sri Lanka as a collaborative effort of UNDP Sri Lanka and the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS) and was presided over by Hon. (Prof) G. L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs.

Titled, “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World”, the HDR 2013 examines the profound shift in global dynamics driven by the fast-rising new powers of the developing world and its long-term implications for human development. It analyses more than 40 developing countries that have made striking human development gains in recent years and attributes their achievements to some strong national commitments: better public health and education services, innovative poverty eradication programs and strategic engagement with the world economy.

According to the Human Development Index (HDI) monitored annually by the HDR, Sri Lanka makes it to the high human development category with a HDI ranking of 0.715 against the global average of 0.694.

Expressing his thoughts during the launch, Hon. (Prof) G. L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, stated, “GDP growth needs to be accompanied by social equity; i.e,.the tangible improvement of lives of people. Development cannot be an abstraction of figures for most of society.” He also emphasized on the need for measured state interventions to ensure that all people derive the benefits of GDP growth, and the need for effective welfare mechanisms, enhancing connectivity, both at the national and regional level, and promoting trade between countries of the South.

Mr. Subinay Nandy, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Sri Lanka noted, “The 2013 HDR highlights the experiences of a new group of Southern countries that are experiencing rapid developmental progress as we speak, countries which collectively makeup a significant portion of the world population, and offers insights into the policy and programmatic drivers that have enabled these countries to achieve this progress at such unprecedented scale and speed. Sri Lanka itself is on an ambitious development path. Against this background, the experiences, insights and models from other countries are useful for comparison and where appropriate, cross-fertilization and replication.”

Eminent speakers, H. E. John Rankin, British High Commission to Sri Lanka, Dr. B. M. S. Batagoda, Director General of the Department of National Planning, Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy, Former Director – Economic Affairs, Commonwealth Secretariat and Ms. Priyanthi Fernando, Executive Director, Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA) reviewed vital aspects of the Report, including drivers for new human development paths, factors vital to sustain human development and lessons for Sri Lanka and importance of governance and new international partnerships that are essential in meeting global public goods,

Expressing his thoughts on the launch event, Mr. Asanga Abeygoonesekera, Executive Director of LKIIRSS noted, “As the premier National Think Tank in Sri Lanka, the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute is pleased to launch the Human Development Report 2013 in collaboration with UNDP. The compass is pointing towards the South is a fact that everyone should accept, never in the human history has so many lives improved. With the changing world order and global shift towards the South, the report will be valuable to policy and development specialist and think tanks such as ours, to formulate and assess the development plans and the impact they have on individuals.”