Welcome to the South-South Global Thinkers e-discussion for UNDP HDR 2020 on "Sustainable Human Development Pathways". Contributions can be submitted in English and Spanish language. The e-discussion will be moderated by 1) For contributions in English Dr. Jacob Assa, Policy Specialist; and Dr. Shivani Nayyar, Research Specialist; 2) For contributions in Spanish Ms. Christina Lengfelder and Ms. Carolina Rivera from UNDP Human Development Report Office and facilitated by Naveeda Nazir (naveeda.nazir@unossc.org) from UNOSSC.  

Please note that the e-discussion is still open. We look forward to your contributions and active engagement that will inform the 2020 Human Development Report.

Stay safe and healthy! 


English

 

I. Background:

In 1990, the Human Development Report introduced a new way to consider progress: one that was centered on people. The human development approach considers whether people around the world have the capabilities to be and do what they aspire to in life. The Human Development Index (HDI) introduced in the first report, provides a basic measure of this progress. The HDI was meant to capture the “human development journey” of countries: how much of the road to human development has been covered by a given country.

Today, 30 years later, the aspirations for many have changed, as have the capabilities needed to thrive (consider for example access to technology). At the same time, environmental degradation, and the occurrence of natural disasters of increasing intensity and frequency, are becoming hard to ignore. There is a fast-growing realization that social choices must be contained to recognize the planet’s limits that are already stretched to breaking point. What sustainable human development is today, and how it should be measured, needs to be considered in light of these new realities. Even if its original ideals - such as a long and healthy life, knowledge, adequate living standards - remain as valid as they ever were, the path to achieving them might need to change.

This reassessment is an urgent task, to avoid reaching a stage of inevitable tradeoffs and tragic choices. On top of direct consequences of environmental backlash, an ill-managed climate crisis could jeopardize many of the hard-fought human achievements up to this point. In this 30th Anniversary, the 2020 Human Development Report will assess the pathways for sustainable human development, upgrading both its analytical framework and measurement tools, including the HDI.

Given the importance of hearing from a diverse set of thinkers and change makers, the UNOSSC & UNDP Human Development Report Office are organizing this e- consultation, hosted on the South-South Global Thinkers Network.

II. E-Discussion Proposal:

The e-discussion intends to elicit inputs and stimulate discussion that can enrich the HDR 2020 and ensure that it represents diverse views and expertise, especially from the South. In particular, it is recognized that countries in the South are some of the most impacted by climate change and overshooting of other planetary boundaries. Moreover, developing countries are at the forefront of domestic policy making, and global coordination efforts, to find solutions to the challenges in achieving sustainable development. The e-discussion will welcome responses to the following questions:

  1. How can the human development approach bring new light to the sustainability debate? Are dominant sustainability debates focusing narrowly only on income growth versus sustainability? In the paradigms of green growth, and de-growth, is there recognition of the need for people-centered policies?
  2. In different regions of the developing South, what are the regional, sub-regional and country level environmental issues that impact human development?
  3. What initiatives are being implemented to mitigate and adapt to these harms? How do these efforts tie in with the achievement of SDGs? What are the main tradeoffs and the main synergies with SDGs? What are the lessons learnt?
  4. How are different countries leading on mitigation policies, norm setting and paradigm shifting? What are some national and regional perspectives being brought to global negotiations and processes on climate change and sustainability?
  5. What methodologies can be used to facilitate the “Greening of the HDI”? What are the main indicators, and how will they be selected? What are the practical challenges in applying this methodology to the country level? What are some effective methods to advocate for data collection on these indicators, at the country level.

III. Follow-Up Side Event:

The e-discussion may be followed by in-person consultation with selected think tank participants on the sidelines of upcoming events. The aim of this consultation is to build on some of the issues discussed in the e-discussion to further gather the perspectives and experiences from the Southern-based think tanks on the issue of sustainable human development. More details to follow.


Español

 

Bienvenidos al debate electrónico de pensadores globales Sur-Sur para el Informe sobre Desarrollo Humano 2020 del PNUD sobre el Desarrollo Humano Sostenible El debate, que se llevará a cabo en línea, será moderado por Christina Lengfelder y Carolina Rivera, investigadoras de la Oficina del Informe sobre Desarrollo Humano del PNUD, y será facilitado por Naveeda Nazir en naveeda.nazir@unossc.org, de UNOSSC.  

¡Esperamos contar con tu participación y contribución activas a esta discusión electrónica!

I. Antecedentes:

En 1990, el Informe sobre Desarrollo Humano introdujo una nueva manera de evaluar el progreso, un modelo centrado en las personas. El enfoque de desarrollo humano analiza si las personas en todo el mundo tienen las oportunidades para ser y hacer lo que desee en sus vidas. El Índice de Desarrollo Humano (IDH), presentado en ese primer informe, constituye una herramienta básica para medir este progreso. El IDH se creó con el objetivo de captar el “viaje al desarrollo humano” de los países: el terreno recorrido por cada país en su búsqueda del desarrollo humano.

 

Hoy, 30 años más tarde, las aspiraciones de muchas personas han cambiado, de igual manera que han ido cambiando las oportunidades necesarias para prosperar (pensemos, por ejemplo, en el acceso a la tecnología). Al mismo tiempo, la degradación ambiental y el impacto de los desastres naturales son de una intensidad cada vez mayor. Cada vez está más claro que las decisiones sobre los aspectos sociales deben reconocer los límites del planeta, que soportan ya una presión insostenible. A la luz de estas realidades es preciso examinar cuál es el significado del desarrollo sostenible hoy en día y cómo debe medirse. Aunque sus ideales originales —vivir una vida larga y saludable, acceder al conocimiento, y tener  condiciones de vida dignas— siguen tan vigentes como siempre, quizás sea preciso trazar un nuevo camino para lograrlos.

 

Es urgente proceder a esta reevaluación si queremos evitar llegar a un estadio inevitable de sacrificios y decisiones trágicas. Junto a las consecuencias directas sobre el medio ambiente, una gestión pobre de la crisis climática podría poner en peligro muchos de los logros de desarrollo humano conseguidos hasta este momento. Con motivo de este 30o aniversario, el Informe sobre Desarrollo Humano hará una evaluación de las vías para el desarrollo humano sostenible y actualizará tanto su marco analítico como las herramientas de medición, incluido el IDH.

 

Teniendo en cuenta la importancia que tiene implicar a un abanico diverso de pensadores y agentes de cambio, UNOSSC y la Oficina del Informe sobre Desarrollo Humano del PNUD organizan esta consulta, que tendrá lugar en la red de la Iniciativa South-South Global Thinkers.  

 

II. Propuesta para el debate virtual:

 

El debate virtual busca generar aportaciones y estimular el debate de cara a enriquecer el Informe sobre Desarrollo Humano 2020, y asegurar que representa la diversidad de perspectivas y conocimientos técnicos existentes, especialmente del Sur. En particular, los países del Sur son algunos de los más afectados por el cambio climático y el rebasamiento de otros límites del planeta. Además, los países en desarrollo se encuentran en primera línea de la toma decisiones a nivel nacional y en los esfuerzos globales de coordinación para encontrar soluciones a los desafíos que presenta alcanzar un desarrollo sostenible. La discusión virtual agradecerá respuestas a las siguientes preguntas:

 

  1. ¿Cuál puede ser la nueva contribución del enfoque de desarrollo humano al debate sobre la sostenibilidad? ¿ En los debates entorno a la sostenibilidad, existe un enfoque excesivo en el crecimiento económico frente a la sostenibilidad? En los paradigmas del crecimiento verde y del de-crecimiento, ¿se reconoce la necesidad de aplicar políticas centradas en las personas?
  2. En las diferentes regiones en desarrollo del Sur, ¿cuáles son las cuestiones medioambientales a nivel regional, subregional y nacional que afectan al desarrollo humano?
  3. ¿Qué iniciativas se están poniendo en práctica para mitigar y adaptar estos efectos nocivos? ¿De qué manera se pueden vincular estos esfuerzos con la consecución de los ODS? ¿Cuáles son las principales compensaciones y las principales sinergias con los ODS? ¿Cuáles son las lecciones aprendidas?
  4. ¿Cómo están liderando diferentes países las iniciativas en materia de políticas de mitigación, establecimiento de normas y transformación del paradigma? ¿Cuáles son algunas de las perspectivas nacionales y regionales trasladadas a las negociaciones y los procesos globales sobre cambio climático y sostenibilidad?
  5. ¿Qué metodologías pueden utilizarse para facilitar un “IDH verde”? ¿Cuáles son los principales indicadores y cómo deberían ser seleccionados? ¿Cuáles son los desafíos prácticos a la hora de aplicar esta metodología a nivel de país? ¿Cuáles son algunos métodos efectivos para defender la recopilación de datos sobre estos indicadores a nivel de país?
  6. ¿En qué sentido puede la cooperación triangular ser un mecanismo efectivo en la cooperación para el desarrollo sostenible? ¿Qué papel juegan los ´donantes emergentes´ en este contexto, y ¿cuál es su ventaja comparativa vis a vis los ‘donantes tradicionales’?

III. Acto paralelo:

 

La discusión virtual puede ir acompañada de consultas en persona con centros de estudios participantes seleccionados, que tendrán lugar paralelamente a los eventos que se vayan a desarrollar en el futuro. El objetivo de esta consulta es seguir trabajando sobre la base de los temas tratados en la discusión virtual con el fin de profundizar en las perspectivas y las experiencias que los centros de estudios del Sur pueden tener sobre el desarrollo humano sostenible. Más adelante se ofrecerán nuevos detalles.

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Comments (80)

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

Dear contributors,

A big thank you for all your contributions. As the Human Development Report (HDR) 2020 is taking shape, our team has benefited greatly from your thoughtful inputs. Going forward, we will continue to refer back to these inputs for guiding us.

We feel fortunate to have received comments from a diverse group of contributors, representing all regions around the globe. 
We are grateful to the UN Office of South South Cooperation for this wonderful partnership, and for providing us this platform to be able to share the HDR 2020 journey with all of you. The South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation perspectives have added a lot of value to our thinking.

A summary of the e-discussion is now available, for your quick reference.

The world is in the middle of a grave crisis. Here's hoping that countries and people will be able to come together to solve these challenges, safeguarding human development and ensuring the health of the planet. Much is at stake.

Best regards,
HDRO Team 

Kathleen O'Halleran

Dear Colleagues, 
Just a few final reflections on Question 2:
In the different developing regions of the South, what are the environmental issues at the regional, sub-regional and national levels that affect human development?

At the Regional Level:
When reflecting on this question in terms of scale, I think there are some common threads of environmental issues that all regions in the Global South share at each of these levels, which affect human development. 
1. Economic dependency on cash crops thwarts human development and is not sustainable.  The creation of regional/sub-regional trade bloc agreements might assist in reducing some of this dependency, particularly in relation  to fair trade, sustainable products that provide other, more sustainable solutions for independent, higher incomes and life expectancy than migrant farming or other seasonal labor activities currently do. Moreover, loss of arable land due to over-exploitation of land for agriculture and deforestation is an especially significant problem for the people, economies, and environments of South America and Southeast Asia. Approximately one third of the world's arable land has been lost since the 1960s due to soil erosion caused by deforestation and agricultural over-exploitation.
2. Climate change requires adaption, and policies put into place that protect each region’s threatened natural resources, and the people who rely upon them. On a global scale, deforestation and exploitive, agricultural land use policies are responsible for 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Assessments on a regional scale are needed to determine where and how best to reduce GHG emissions. The Global South also faces an unfair burden when it comes to dealing with the chronic and catastrophic impacts occurring with climate change, from rising sea levels, to drought and desertification, and sudden, catastrophic weather events that seem to impact the poor the most. This is a problem that requires multiple dimensions of interaction and coordination between regional, sub-regional and national responses.  
3. Outdated, inefficient, unsafe and missing access to water, sanitation services, waste disposal, and fuel for heating, cooking and electricity are not only causing environmental problems to air, land, and water, but also are unequally distributed between rich and poor, and rural and urban populations, and within cities, between urban slums and other households. . In Africa, for example, only 30% of the region's population has consistent access to reliable electricity
3. Greater attention needs to be paid on internal transportation and trade, as opposed to gearing most trade toward the ports. Improving the capabilities for interstate trade through infrastructure improvements such as roads, bridges and train routes will raise all boats within a region, improve supply chains, create jobs, and provide better opportunities for access to health services, education, and more effective, better regional, sub-regional and national economic opportunities 

At the Sub-regional Level
1. Each sub-region confronts its  own set of environmental conditions, yet some have many similarities, and/or share the same biomes in need of preservation for environmental , cultural (sacred spaces), and economic reasons. Deforestation, for example, might affect a northern region more, while whereas flooding or over-exploitation of resources impacts a central region, and drought affects a southern region more. Or as in the case in on the African continent, desertification throughout the Maghreb, floods in West Africa,, and droughts in southern Africa, 
2. Coastal regions need to collectively address mitigating options for sea-level rise and its impact on people, communities, cultures, and economies. Coastal living is a way of life, not merely a residence for many people. Coming  together to provide coordinated efforts at mitigation would be a much more effective approach than each multiple, different, and varied scale of mitigation would at the  national level. Such compacts could also collectively target effective and sustainable policies to address over-fishing, coral reef death, and illegal activities that affect the entire sub-region.
3. Coordinated sub-regional level crackdowns on illegal trade of endangered species, nacre-trafficking and money laundering activities may help to greatly reduce both the environmental, economic, and social costs of these illicit, networked activities. These problems displace indigenous communities, destroy ecosystems, water and soil quality and quantity, and limit opportunities for sustainable livelihoods. This is a problem that cuts across national boundaries, has complex social, economic, cultural, social, and environmental impacts, and within country’s boundaries, offers far too much opportunity for corruption.

At the National Level:
1. Air quality, water quality and quantity for all, and the protection and preservation of a country’s national resources require strong policy instruments at the national level, while offering benefits and incentives for energy-saving manufacturing/industrial practices and investments in "green" technologies, as well as incentive-based, sustainable land and water use practices,. Moving away from dependence on fossil fuels to meet energy needs is critical, for health, and for environmental sustainability.  
2.. Over-reliance on environmentally destructive, unsustainable, and growth-limiting cash crops and resource-exploitation/extraction harm human development potential for the masses of people, while assuring that most of the wealth remains in the hands of in-country and out-of-country elites, and create such income, education, and health imbalances that social safety net costs become unmanageable. Land use is probably the second most important environmental issue affecting human development, particularly for poor populations.
 National policies need to be put in place that assist the growth of entrepreneurship and small businesses, educational opportunities, and fair trade, including the creation of sustainable enterprise zones that offer tax breaks and other advantages for good labor, social equity, and environmental practices. Federal funding for schools and higher education, particularly in fields a country requires to be more self-sustaining, would have considerable long-term benefits. 
3. Lack of adequate mobility due to poor transportation infrastructure is also a national problem that requires a coordinated response to improve connectivity of both roads and rail. The lack of adequate, interconnected transportation routes between cities, and between metropolitan and rural areas hampers access to health, economic opportunities and the movement of more products within and between nations in a region, and prevent access to educational opportunities, as well. 
4. Enforcement of environmental and organized crime laws, and stiffer penalties for poaching, trafficking in endangered species, illegal timber harvesting, the dumping of toxic waste, and of industrial/manufacturing pollution violations needs to be coordinated. 
Complaints require federal policy and commitment at the national level;, with input from departments/provinces and communities who are at risk due to these activities; risks that not only harm the environmental and economic potential of communities but which also affect both livelihoods, and lives, and which often include threats, intimidation, violence and assassinations against indigenous and environmental activists by those responsible for these illegal activities. Preventing deforestation and the depletion of natural marine and freshwater fisheries is another key environmental concern with human development impact dimensions. 
5. The need for better  planning of growth, housing and building construction, water needs and quality,  and infrastructure requirements in metropolitan areas, better planning and assessment of the environmental and human development impact of projects such as industry, mining, and the construction of dams and bridges is frequently vocalized by those most negatively affected due to air pollution, water pollution, loss of access to water, the displacement of settlements, loss of land and traditional sources of income as well as cultural cohesion need to be folded into impact assessments prior to the approval of such projects. 

Essentially, at each of these tiers, the threads that tie together the region, its sub-regions and nations reveal complex inter-relationships between environmental issues and their subsequent impact on human development. At each level of planning, policy-making and governance, much can be done to weave together a strong, effectively coordinated and mutually supporting network of responses to address these concerns and impacts. 
I do think that such measures and such a structural, interactive approach would go a long way toward building resilience and reducing the complex, interconnected vulnerabilities that prevent sustainable preservation and protection of the environment, and which impede sustainable growth of human development in the Global South. 
All this said, however, I must add that I do not think a statist, top-down approach is the sole solution, In fact, one cannot and should not ignore or discount bottom-up approaches, either that occur at the local, community level, for this is where social, economic and environmental costs and impacts are most acutely felt. However, NGOs and local communities can only do so much. Lack of economic strength and technological innovation, the refusal of large corporations to voluntarily re-invest in the communities they extract resources from, the dependence of local laborers  on subsistence -level livelihoods because those are the only jobs available--these factors prevent local communities from being able to adequately protect the natural resources they depend upon for their income, their health, their cultural traditions and sacred spaces, and the betterment of their lives. What I see from greater continuity and integration between regional, sub-regional, and national issues and policies and activism to address those issues is a series of expanding, concentric circles  woven together in a dynamic  interplay that makes regions stronger and more capable of providing the means and methods needed to address these problems more effectively and more realistically possible. . ,

Further Reading
Africa’s energy transition: opportunities and challenges for decent work (2018, Nov 29). Energy Transition, The Global Energiewende. https://energytransition.org/2018/11/africas-energy-transition/
Dwivedi, R. Environmental Movements in the Global South: Issues of Livelihood and Beyond (2001, Mar 1). International Sociology. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0268580901016001003
Lederer1, M Wallbott1, L., Bauer S., Tracing Sustainability Transformations and Drivers of Green Economy Approaches in the Global South, Journal of Environment & Development 2018, Vol. 27(1) 3–25.  


 

Sarah Wang

Thank you for this South-South Global Thinker E-discussion platform that provides us an opportunity to discuss such an important issue. In terms of the human development approach that brings new light to the sustainability, the previous posts have presented many insightful comments from colleagues and experts around the world.

In this post, I would like to focus on discussing the importance of social protection system during the COVID-19 pandemic for human development. Protection becomes extremely crucial during this extreme situation that the whole global encounters. Covid-19 is testing our social protection system. For the developing countries, social protection is the foremost issue at this moment. Social protection policies can help to combat Covid-19 and mitigate its negative effects on human safety and human development. However, as we have witnessed, during COVID-19 social protection systems failing vulnerable groups.

Let’s look at social protection in general. Social protection plays a key role in achieving sustainable development, promoting social justice, reducing poverty and vulnerability, creating job opportunities, and supporting inclusive and sustainable growth. Poverty reduction is an important component of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and it is also a challenge that has been faced by developing countries. Social protection systems help the poor and vulnerable cope with crises and shocks, find jobs, invest in the health and education of their children, and protect the aging population, which are all highly connected with human development. Social protection consists of policies and programs designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability by promoting efficient labor markets, diminishing people’s exposure to risks, and enhancing their capacity to manage economic and social risks, such as unemployment, conflict, sickness, disability and aging.

Many countries have made progress in improving social protection and poverty reduction. Some countries even made remarkable success in achieving this goal. However, making the goal of universal social protection a reality is still a long way to go, as at the global level, there is still 71 percent of the world population who do not have adequate social protection, and 55 percent that has no social protection at all (UN DESA, 2019). Shortfalls of required institutional capacity and expertise as well as the lack of coordination between different social protection programs and lack of coordination across different administrative layers are widely considered the major causes of weak performance of social protection systems. Implementing an effective delivery structure aligned to international standards and principles, especially in the development context, remains a challenge. There is a need to develop and share practical guidance to increase national capacities for the sound governance of social protection systems.

During the COVID-19, social protection system becomes more important for a sustainable future. People who are unable to afford treatment not only put themselves in danger but also people around them. By today, there are over 3,000,000 confirmed global COVID-19 cases and this number continues to increase. Around the world, social protection system is not effective at all at safeguarding lives, especially for disadvantaged groups. Lack of health insurance means no opportunity to be treated if being affected by this highly contagious disease. What’s more, the lock-down or the quarantine causes the unemployment rate increasing dramatically. Because the unemployment protection is in great need, a large number of employees do not have economic security or enough savings to support their families. And for small and micro-business owners, such as street vendors, their jobs are all gone. These people might not have any unemployment benefits. Large manufacturing and services sectors are facing depressed business outlook as well and they have to lay off workers or downsize. In addition, for the single parents, the elders, the disabled, homeless and so on, their situations are even worse.

This pandemic has sent out a clear message to the world: Social protection system has never been this important no matter for developing countries or developed countries. Human development should be based on social safety and protection. Without social protection, people become very vulnerable especially during the disastrous situations, and sustainable development would move nowhere. Good social protection requires strong country governance and leadership, such as policies related to economic support to households and businesses and reasonable health benefit package for the citizens.

Social protection activities not only require government to use the momentum generated by the current crisis to make rapid movement toward an effective and universal social protection system, it also needs scholars, NOGs or different organizations to work collectively to focus on research and programs on poverty and vulnerable groups by spreading messages about the importance of social protection and enhancing the responsiveness of social protection systems on natural disasters, conflict or humanitarian emergencies.

Kathleen O'Halleran

I couldn't agree with you more. You raise excellent points as to the very real need for social safety nets, responsive and timely government responses, scholars, and activists working together to respond to this crisis. I would add that communities that have a sense of solidarity and active social networks are also important, for helping to care for 'their own,' with food assistance,supporting small businesses as possible, making masks for medical professionals, friends, and family, and such are vital to addressing the gaps in what governments cannot or are not providing.  Civil society, even as we stay physically apart in quarantine, will play a big role, I think, in terms of how we weather this catastrophe.

Kathleen O'Halleran

In the different developing regions of the South, what are the environmental issues at the regional, sub-regional and national levels that affect human development?
Question 2: Specific to Latin America
Dear Colleagues, In Latin America, key environmental issues include deforestation, plantation-style agribusiness and cattle ranching (including illegal); illegal mining; hydroelectric dams, air and water pollution, access to clean water and sanitation services. There exist tremendous rural-urban divides, as well as income-driven divides, with much wealth held by a small percent, and indigenous communities, in particular, at risk when confronted with these challenges. Confronting such challenges can also be deadly. 
In all of Latin America, from 2010-2015 alone, 572 environmental activists were murdered, representing approximately 77% of all such killings globally during this same time frame. Moreover, 41% of those activists killed in Latin America were indigenous environmental and land rights activists. Figures from 2016 forward have proven similarly deadly, and 2019 is no exception to this. 
With discussion included here as to some of the dominant environmental issues impacting human development by region, sub-region and country, I also offer some cases that represent the violence and intimidation further deteriorating human development as a result of these environmental challenges. Please note that this is a partial list for 2019 and between countries and sub-regions, for providing a complete list of victims and the environmental issues involved would require a book-length treatment of the topic, sadly. 
As always, my apologies for any over-simplification or omission of those who suffer, or of the conditions they and the environment also suffer. 
South America: 
    In the Amazon forest, deforestation by both human and natural causes (fire) has a tremendous impact on the entire region. While extreme poverty in rural regions of the Amazon result in some selling of timber and then the setting of fires to clear land for pastoral and/or agricultural practices, this represents a fraction of the amount caused by corporate endeavors. Such activities in the Amazon Rain Forest primarily occur in Brazil. Wildfires due to large storms and as a result of clearing the lands by fire, coupled with high winds, have also devastated massive amounts of the forest, and produced a smoke-filled haze, polluting those living in nearby communities as well as in neighboring towns, and even other, neighboring countries. Loss of wildlife and loss of biodiversity is another outcome of this deforestation. 
Although Brazil demonstrated some success in reducing the amount of deforestation in the past couple of decades, there has been a recent increase in forest loss over the past five to ten years in Brazil and the Amazonian Biome, which also includes Bolivia, Paraguay, and Peru, as a result of operations that are often illegal, or on preserved land, placing indigenous communities at greater risk, as well. 
Speculators seize land, cut expensive timber for sale, then burn the rest and “sell” their ill-gotten land to large agribusinesses, mining operations, or large cattle ranching enterprises, and also “sell” easements to companies looking to build roads, pipelines, or dams in the area. Significant loss from out-of-control fires in 2019 created another devastating deficit of with more than 80,000 fires spread across all of Brazil, a 77% increase over the previous year, and nearly the same percentage increases reported in the remainder of the Amazonian biome countries of Peru, Paraguay, and Bolivia, where fires for 2019  numbered about 6,700, 11,000, and 19,000, respectively. With deforestation also comes a loss of moisture produced by humidity in the air, which results in less rainfall and droughts that adversely impact agriculture and ranching.
Overall in the Amazonian biome, more than 3,500 square miles of rainforest was lost to these activities and to wildfire, in 2019, alone. 
These activities severely impact not only the livelihoods of communities in the region, but also limit social mobility, and health, from fires, and also from oppression and violence by land grabbers and speculators, as well as the armed guards they employ, who in turn, harass community members. Executions of not just environmental activists, but of village members are documented, and interpreted as warnings to either move away, or not to interfere.  
In Brazil, more than 50 environmentalists, alone, were assassinated in 2019, making it the country with the highest such deaths in the world in 2019. 
The brutal stabbing and drowning murder of Brazilian indigenous leader Emrya Waiapi, over illegal gold mining in the area created an international incident, with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet demanding a thorough investigation. Meanwhile, it is important to point out that the case is one among many, Global Witness reports that 60 percent of homicides committed worldwide against environmentalists in 2019 took place in Latin America.
In Peru, in the northern Amazon biome community of the Urarina indigenous people , 20-year-old Cristian Javá Ríos, an anti-oil pipeline activist, was assassinated on April 17, 2019, in an ambush orchestrated by an armed gang, which had also injured other community members in attacks. Specifically, Rios and others had suffered for years from the release of billions of barrels of toxic waste and from oil pipeline spills committed by both the Argentinean Pluspetrol and the China National Petroleum Corporation. 
Javá Ríos was a vocal, known activist within and beyond his community, who defended indigenous land rights against ongoing threats to community health, the destruction of their forests, pollution of land and rivers, the destruction of spiritual sites, and the economic dependencies created by the oil companies which destroy community cohesion and locally-oriented land use and economic productivity. Although witnesses reported to authorities the names of those responsible for the ambush, no one has been arrested yet. And in fact, there has been no further investigation of the assassination.  

Central America 
    To a large degree, cattle ranching, logging by major enterprises alongside illegal logging, the use of timber for heating and cooking as an alternative by the poor who cannot afford habitually high oil prices and for timber for housing are to blame for deforestation in this sub-region, and especially within these countries, in addition to the extraction of more expensive exotic woods. Large enterprises are to blame for the lion’s share of deforestation. Indeed, this sub-region has been considered the “hamburger connection,” since the late 1960s, primarily because of the clearing of forests for cattle ranches that North American fast food enterprises rely upon for massive amounts of cheaply produced beef. 
    However, a more recent development (particularly since 2005) has come to be called the “narco connection,” in which narco traffickers from Mexico relocated their operations during the Mexican Drug War and an escalation of police efforts in 2006 to bust the cartels to less-intensely policed Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Guatemala, where the highland forests provided an opportunity to hide coca plantations under the guise of cattle ranching operations, and for the addition of yet more cleared forests for agricultural enterprises designed to launder drug money that continue to clear vast amounts of forest. 
This has the persistent effect of displacing indigenous communities’ efforts at subsistence farming and ranching, and is responsible for an increasing number of extra-judicial killings in these regions, which intimidate and impede the ability of those communities to move about freely, go to school, work, and/or to market with agricultural and artisan products, and livestock safely, particularly due to the construction of clandestine roads and airstrips in these areas that are heavily guarded. 
Moreover, water and soil pollution from the pesticides and fertilizers used in such massive plantations and agricultural enterprises adversely affects the health of local villagers, if they are allowed to remain, at all. The lucrative nature of this illicit activity leads to corruption by some agents, prosecutors and politicians, and an unquenchable thirst to clear more forested land. In fact, since 2000, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Guatemala have continually ranked among the highest in terms of rates of deforestation around the world. 
According to Oregon State University geographer Dacid Wrathall, co-author of a 2017 study published in the journal Environmental Letters. ""It turns out that one of the best ways to launder illegal drug money is to fence off huge parcels of forest, cut down the trees, and build yourself a cattle ranch. It is a major, unrecognized driver of tropical deforestation in Central America."
These activities leave indigenous communities stripped of their property and livelihoods, altogether. Threats relating to dam construction, mining operations, palm oil and sugar plantations, cattle ranching, logging and clear-cutting, as well as threats from narco-traffickers are very real for activists. Assassinations, particularly against indigenous activists are on the rise, and are reported to have more than doubled over the past 15 years. Here is just a sampling of cases from throughout Latin America in 2019, alone:
Throughout Guatemala in 2018, the killings of indigenous community and environmental activists increased fivefold, and results for 2019 are even higher. Here are a few examples of this deadly violence.
In Guatemala in 2019, ten members of Guatemala’s nonprofit indigenous territories and campesino rights group Campesino Development Committee or Comité de Desarrollo Campesino  (CODECA) were murdered at various locations. Those assassinated included Jorje Jue Cucul and his eight-year-old son, who were attacked with a machete while the pair was at home in their village at . Paracaidista de Livingston, Izabal.
In Rabinal, Baja Verapaz, Guatemala in 2019, Paulina Cruz Ruiz, member of the indigenous Autoridad Ancestral de Maya Achi, was shot to death and her husband wounded in an attack near her home. The environmental and indigenous rights activist along with other community members were preparing to file legal action in conjunction with continued threats to their community. The Maya Achi people have long suffered from violence, environmental degradation, and loss of their lands, relating to the construction of the Chixoy Hydroelectric Dam in 1985, and, as agreements have stalled for decades over damages and reparations, improvements have been few and far between. 
The construction of the dam, funded by the World Bank and its Inter-American Institute, and built by the Guatemalan government, remains endemically tainted due to an era that marked rampant violence against and displacement of the Maya Achi. From 1982-1985, more than 400 Maya Achi indigenous people in the area were tortured and murdered, and thousands more were displaced as their lands were flooded for the dam.  Survivors were moved by the government to the village of Pacux, which was built for the displaced Maya Achi, but community members have protested poor housing conditions, as well as lack of access to water, electricity, health care, jobs, and education, and they, alongside Ruiz, have sought proper reparations. 
Such outcomes with the construction of hydroelectric dams fail to account for a number of factors. These include:
(a) culturally, linguistically, educationally, and economically vulnerable indigenous communities, 
(b) the annihilation of potentially legitimate productive land and jobs for people in the region where land is flooded and peoples displaced for the benefit of downstream users; and 
(c) the destruction of networks both formal and informal that have existed to support and sustain indigenous families, communities with food, energy/fuel options, safe water and sanitation access and services, educational facilities and opportunities for access, and access to healthcare, often which in rural areas, must be accomplished on foot, through paths that link community to community, which are often destroyed by such projects.
These profound losses and their impact on human development should be carefully weighed through internal (country and community-level impact assessments) and other, externally driven structural adjustment policies that mandate consideration of these negative outcomes for any such projects, particularly when benefits are aimed downstream. 
Without such pro-active measures, violence ensues between armed groups, some of which are hired by those working for or who support such projects, (including cartels looking to irrigate their massive plantations), and indigenous activists and community defenders who are trying to continue productive lives together.
In Costa Rica’s  Salitre de Buenos Aires, Puntarenas Province, activist Sergio Rojas Ortiz, a member of the Uniwak clan of the Bribri community was shot many times and killed at his home. The assassination occurred just hours after Ortiz had returned from the state prosecutor’s office to report several threats that he and other Salitre community members were receiving over indigenous rights to their territorial lands. 
Ortiz was renowned in the region for defending indigenous land rights, and he was known throughout Costa Rica for his efforts to defend indigenous lands from the incursion of illegal activities such as logging, mining, plantation-style narco-farms and ranches, and subsequent illegal roads construction and settlements, and resultant violence and armed intimidation occurring on indigenous lands. He was a member of the Association for the Development of the Salitre People (Asociación para el Desarrollo del Pueblo de Salitre), the National Front of Indigenous Peoples (Frente Nacional de Pueblos Indígenas - FRENAPI), and the Council for the Defenders of Mother Earth (Autoridades Propias Defensoras de la Madre Tierra). 
In many of these cases, roads into and out of villages or to-and-from larger towns are also blocked by such illegal activities, creating loss of mobility and loss of the opportunity for small businesses to take their products to markets in larger towns. Tainted land and water from illicit mining operations also trigger the poisoning of people, livestock, and land utilized for community farming.
In Columbia, a number of environmental issues impede human development. These include air pollution, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, soil erosion due to heavy rainfall and loss of vegetation; and land and water degradation due to the overuse of pesticides and fertilizers, mine tailings, and industrial and agricultural dumping and runoff of a multiplicity of toxins. Columbia is highly populated, with as many as 25% of all Columbians living in urban centers. It is estimated that approximately 75% of Columbia’s air pollution is due to vehicle emissions. Manufacturing, mining, agricultural burning and vehicle emissions are significant polluters. 
In terms of air pollution, Bogotá and Medellín have the highest concentrations of air pollution. Overall, the Antioquia province, the Aburrá Valley, sits in a deep geographic depression that traps air pollution and due to temperature inversion, holds noxious fumes over the province like a dome of clouds.
    Water pollution is another extreme environmental challenge for Columbia, exacerbated by the fact that urban centers  have extended to marine coastlines and riverbanks. Overall, and for nearly the past decade, at least half of all of Columbia’s departments have reported increases in the contamination of water used for human consumption, according to the National Institute of Health in Colombia.
 Lack of sanitation services and inadequate treatment of wastewater, even in Columbia’s cities, result in the dumping of wastewater and waste solids into freshwater rivers and waterways including the San Juan, Patía, and Cauca rivers and their tributaries. Inadequate sanitation services, for example, in Bogotá, mean that only 20% of the city’s waste is actually treated by the city’s water treatment plant. In the city of Barranquilla, the only treatment available before sewage water is discharged is oxidation via collection ponds. 
This contributes to the fact that at least 50% of all of Columbia’s water resources (surface water and groundwater) are contaminated today. The cities of Cali, Cuco, and Magdalena are similarly water-and sanitation-stressed. Chemicals from mining, agriculture and industry are oftentimes directly dumped into the water. These environmental problems spell disaster for human development in terms of health and the potential for new income growth in these regions.
    The Chocó biome covers portions of Panama, Ecuador and Columbia. Though it encompasses only two percent of the planet’s land surface, the biome is home to more than 10% of the world’s plant species and 25% of the planet’s animal species. In Columbia, the Chocó biome transverses portions of the Valle del Cauca, Cauca, Chocó, Antioquia, and Nariño departments. Mining, logging, and other natural resource extractions, along with the exploitation of protected species for commercial sale, and the accompanying construction of roads and bridges in the region contribute to its degradation and loss of biodiversity. The government of Columbia is responsible for two projects there; the building of an inter-oceanic canal and the completion of the Pan-American Highway.
    Deforestation in Columbia has reached epic proportions over the past four years, in particular. In 2016 alone, deforestation jumped 44% from the previous year’s total to nearly 178,600 hectares of forested land lost due to increases in mining, cattle ranching, illegal agricultural production, natural resource extraction, road and infrastructure construction, and forest fires. About 95% of this deforestation occurs in the departments of Antioquia, Meta, Chocó, Caquetá, Putumayo, Guaviare, and Norte de Santander, representing a region that is considered to be the lungs of Columbia, and an area equivalent to 60% of South America’s Amazon Forest. 
Illegal open-pit gold and silver mining in Columbia is a tremendous environmental threat, and is particularly rampant in the department of Chocó, led by criminal networks that alongside drug trafficking cartels and armed, illegal settlers intimidate, assault and kill indigenous community members who live there and where indigenous community members make their livelihoods there, as well. 
It is estimated that such illegal activities by organized criminal networks have affected nearly 100,000 hectares of land throughout this region. Environmental destruction of land and forest also includes the poisoning of at least 30 different freshwater sources by these illegal mining activities and from the dumping of mercury into more than 80 rivers. 
Agricultural monoculture plantations also taint and degrade the soil and destroy the area’s biodiversity, particularly in northern Columbia, where illegal African palm plantations not only destroy the environment through soil degradation and pollution from pesticides and fertilizers, but which also attempt to displace indigenous communities and take over indigenous territories as well as protected reserves. The use of palm oil to expand the volume of biodiesel fuel also contributes to the over-exploitation of this valued product, and of other environmental and economic resources in the country’s northern region, due to the extensive palm cultivation activities that take place there. 
Oil spillage into rivers caused by pipeline sabotage and pipeline leakage, along with illicit drug crops grown in indigenous departments and protected reserves further exacerbate Columbia’s already fragile environment, and simultaneously thwart attempts at legitimate, sustainable development. Activism results in intimidation, violence and death, particularly in indigenous communities.     
In the southwest Columbian indigenous territory of Cauca, two indigenous guards—. Kevin Mestizo Coicué and Eugenio Tenorio—who were also important Nasa community members, were murdered in 2019. The killings occurred as they sought to protect community members boarding a bus to a coffee fair in Cauca. Four other community members were wounded in the attack, believed to have been committed by narco-traffickers. 
    In Columbia, in the Ne’h Wesx Authority, indigenous traditional leader, land defender, rights activist, social worker, and 2017 Indigenous Fellow of the Geneva-based Office of the High Commission for Human Rights Cristina Bautista and four other members of the Nasa Tacueyo Indigenous Reserve—Asdrúbal Cayapu Kiwe Thegna, Eliodoro Finscue, José Gerardo Soto, and James Wilfredo Soto—were gunned down  in 2019 and killed by men in a black vehicle who were believed to be members of the rebel group FARC. 
Five other members of the indigenous guard were wounded in the attack, which occurred as the black vehicle tore through a barricade the indigenous guards had constructed to better protect their village. Bautista was well known for a speech she made earlier that year, in which she stated: “"If we stay quiet, they kill us, and if we speak, they kill us too. So, we speak.”
In San José de Uré, Colombia in 2019, campesino farmer Juan Fransisco Luna Alvarez, a member of the indigenous guard of Zenú del Alto San Jorge, was murdered close to his home in Zenú del Alto San Jorge. Shortly thereafter, his home was set ablaze and his family forced to flee the area. Authorities and witnesses believe the murder and arson to be the work of the criminal gang Los Caparrapos, which is linked to narco-trafficking in the area. 
In the Embera Eyábida community of Tarazá, Colombia, indigenous agricultural and justice advocate Abraham Domicó was shot and killed during an ambush on his home in 2019 by armed perpetrators who may have been affiliated with the rebel group FARC.
In Honduras, key environmental threats that impact human development include hydroelectric dam construction and operations, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, illegal mining operations, and soil and water degradation from dams, industrial plants, agri-plantations, and mining operations.
Since 2007, according to a 2017 report by Global Witness, 123 people have been killed protecting their land. Each case is devastating, and many demonstrate the depths of political and corporate collusion and corruption. In 2016, for example, the report details how the tortured and dismembered bodies of three indigenous activists who fought against the controversial Los Encinos dam were discovered. 
The dam is one of at least two directed by Arnold Gustavo Castro, who is the husband of Gladis Aurora López, the president of the Honduras’ ruling party and vice president of Congress, according to Global Witness. 
Also in March of 2016, internationally renowned indigenous and environmental activist Berta Cáceres was found shot and killed inside her home in La Esperanza, despite the fact that her home was under police guard due to death threats made against her. Cáceres, who belonged to the Lenca indigenous community, helped to organize the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras, and gained international, award-winning acclaim for launching a successful protest campaign against the Agua Zarca project, which had planned to build four large dams in the Gualcarque River basin, making it one of Central America’s largest ever hydroelectric power plant operations. 
Leveraging support from numerous indigenous communities and international NGOs in 2013, Cáceres and her organization pressured two large entities, the Chinese state-owned dam developer Sinohydro, and the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s private sector financial arm, to drop out of the project. That same year, however, Tomás García, the co-founder of Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras was shot to death during a peaceful demonstration against the dam. 
By 2016, nine more members of Cáceres’ organization had also been assassinated. In 2017, seven suspects were arrested for her murder, including the manager of the Agua Zarca dam project still under development by Desarrollos Energeticos. 
The report by Global Witness finds that a high level of corruption and the unequal distribution of wealth and land leave 60% of the country’s rural households in extreme poverty, living on an estimated $2.50 per day, despite the fact that the country is rich in resources.
Encroachment upon indigenous territories continues to escalate for both government-endorsed and illicit activities and business operations. As a result, violence continues to intensify, as well, particularly against indigenous and environmental activists. Here are more recent cases: 
In Honduras in 2019, Mirna Teresa Suazo Martinez , a Garifuna (Caribbean descent) territorial defender , president of the Masca Board of Trustees, and an environmental activist known for opposing the construction of hydroelectric power plants on the Masca River, was assassinated at her restaurant in Omoa by unknown attackers on a motorcycle, who shot her to death. As many as six others in the Colón and Cortés Departments were also murdered in 2019 who were defenders of Garifuna land rights, land tenure, land management issues, as well.
In the Yoro mountainous Department of Honduras, 29-year-old Milgen Idán Soto Ávilia was killed, his body found on September 27, 2019, in a shallow, clandestine grave near his indigenous Tolupán community. Soto Ávilia was a longtime defender of Tolupán lands and forests, who vocally brought attention to and opposed commercial logging operations, primarily targeting the INMARE company, which was accused of continuously depleting and encroaching upon indigenous territories and exploiting indigenous communities. 
In the months and years preceding Soto Ávilia’s death, many of his associates were arrested, and six months prior, two of his relatives were also found murdered. Before he was killed, Soto Ávilia served as a Tolupán indigenous leader, and he was a well-respected member of the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y la Justicia [MAJD}). Soto Ávilia had received death threats from INMARE, according to the director for MAJD, after he launched an indigenous movement protesting the logging companies’ activities on tribal lands, and after he had criticized the lack of investigation into his relatives’ murders.
These cases profiled here are but a fraction of those occurring. According to an email penned to CNN in 2017 by Global Witness’s Billy Kyte, Honduran elites use "corrupt and criminal means to cash in on the country's natural wealth, and are enlisting the support of state forces to murder and terrorize the communities who dare to stand in their way." (Gallón and Sandoval, 2017). 
Not only do these environmental issues and indigenous land and human rights issues create unsustainable and unstable dynamics for Honduras, they also greatly impede human development through costs to health, loss of legitimate and productive income, and an unequal distribution of wealth that prevents re-investment in sustainable, productive development and economic growth for the country, as a whole.
In Nicaragua, unsafe water, sanitation, and hygiene, and lack of basic access to potable water impact millions of people, particularly the poor, resulting in negative health outcomes and deaths , high healthcare costs, and loss of productivity that further exacerbates human development. According to the World Bank, Nicaragua’s environmental health risks overall place a profound burden on the country’s economy, to the tune of 2.4% of Nicaragua’s GDP (World Bank, 2013). Rapid urbanization, air, land and water pollution, and the overuse of natural resources throughout Nicaragua contribute to these negative health and productivity outcomes. 
The country’s extractive economic model revolves around agricultural production and cattle ranching for purposes of exportation. Unfortunately, population growth and this ongoing, extractive model perpetuates the destruction of Nicaragua’s natural resources, and displaces rural and indigenous communities, as well. Coupled with climate-change-induced drought that has lasted for at least three years, in the decades ahead, Nicaragua could see its economy collapse as resources depleted cannot be sustainably restored, and as its citizens lose jobs over lack of productivity. Sugarcane, peanut, and palm production contribute considerably to Nicaragua’s GDP, yet simultaneously this type of agri-industrial production causes significant deforestation for such mono-crops, while perpetually creating water and soil pollution, and indirectly encouraging land grabs that negatively impact local communities, as well. 
These operations benefit both illegal and large corporate interests, and exploit local communities with low quality, low paying jobs that are few and far between due to the modernization of agri-operations, particularly in Capulin and San Blas. The fishing industry—a prime economic activity for locals, has been destroyed by pollution in Lake Managua, in particular, but also elsewhere. A contributing factor is that there are no sanitation services available for many of the poor in Managua, and even what sewage treatment there is, is inadequate. Access to clean water has also become a critical problem in the Managua area. 
There are two protected reserves in Nicaragua. Despite this fact, over the past thirty years, Nicaragua has lost more than 35% of its forested land. One of these protected reserves is Biosphere Reserve, which also encompasses part of Honduras. The Bosawás is one of the largest contiguous rainforest biomes in Latin America, and is home to 21 different ecosystems, six types of rainforest, and a host of endangered species. 
Yet, satellite data finds that nearly 31% of that reserve’s forests have been cleared, and illegal logging has reached the center of the Bosawás, with most of it converted for agricultural production. Poaching and the organized extraction of endangered and exotic species in both of Nicaragua’s reserves are also serious problems, reducing biodiversity in these regions, and causing tensions with local communities who feel threatened by the presence of armed groups in these regions that stake out territories to protect their operations. 
Though indigenous communities are permitted by the Nicaraguan government to own their land within the Bosawás reserve, there have been numerous reports of land grabbers trafficking indigenous plots of land to non-indigenous cattle ranchers and farming operations. Indigenous groups and peasants are also displaced as the territories where they reside become either too tainted by water and soil pollution or are overtaken by outside settlers squatting illegally. 
Such activities reduce legitimate and sustainable food sources for people who live in these areas, and result in rising tensions between illegal settlers and communities at risk, triggering violence and killings in these regions. Here are a few of those cases that occurred in 2019, alone. 
In Nicaragua, in the Waspam region, an armed clash occurred in the Waspuk sector, Polo Paiwas, involving police, illegal settlers, and indigenous community members that resulted in the killing of 40-year-old indigenous community leader Marcial Perez Morales of San Jerónimo, and the wounding of several other community members on October 19, 2015. A number of NGOs in the region reported to authorities that the indigenous community members were patrolling in the Polo Pavais area where they were confronted by the settlers, as they headed toward the Santa Rosa mine. Homes were also burned, and families displaced.
One month prior, 18 indigenous communities had initiated a coordinated effort against illegal settlers, seeking to evict them from indigenous territories. The killing of indigenous community leader Perez Morales, and the clash, itself, acutely epitomize the many ways in which an uptick in mining, logging, cattle ranching, and agri-industrial operations, both legal and illegal have escalated violent confrontations in the region. 
Since 2015, more than 40 indigenous community members/activists in Nicaragua have been killed as a direct result of tensions over mining, cattle ranching, and timber operations and subsequent settlements encroaching on indigenous territories, according to a 2020 report by the California-based think tank, the Oakland Institute. Countless more have been wounded or kidnapped, the report states. In 2020 so far, eight indigenous community members have been killed, four in March, 2020, alone. 
In January, 2020, another coordinated attack by as many as 80 armed, illegal settlers in the protected Bosawás Biosphere Reserve, at Mayangna  took place against the indigenous Alal community. Four indigenous community members were killed, others injured, and 16 houses burned to the ground. Gunfire and intimidation occurred for many days following the attack, in an effort to force the indigenous to leave the area. 
Throughout these regions, such illegal settlers and the operations they work for want the ancestral, territorial land the indigenous hold and live on. Since 2018, attacks have escalated against the Alal, Wasakin, and Miskitu indigenous communities.
According to The Oakland Institute’s executive director Anuradha Mittal:
“Nicaragua is seen as exemplary in granting land rights to Indigenous communities through legal protections, such as the Law 28 (Statute of Autonomy) and Law 445. The government has failed to enforce these laws, and instead colludes with business interests and plays an active role in the colonization of the protected lands by outsiders…. “the government has failed to enforce these laws, and instead colludes with business interests and plays an active role in the colonization of the protected lands by outsiders. “A constant stream of settlers, central government interventions, forestry and extractive industries, threaten their lands, economic wellbeing and political autonomy.” (Mittal, 2020). 
The report finds overall, that as a result of illicit and condoned mining, logging, cattle ranching, and agri-business operations, the 76 % of all forest land reported by Nicaragua in 1969 has been slashed to 25 percent in 2020. Primary government documents obtained by the Oakland Institute demonstrate the government’s active and ongoing role in the ‘colonization and exploitation by transnational firms’ of indigenous territories.
The government documents include offerings to venture capitalists of ‘more than 7.1 million hectares of land for mining concessions’ that represent 60 percent of the country, and another three-and-a-half-million hectares for forestry concessions, encompassing another 30 percent of the country. Since 2017, mining concessions have at least doubled to 2.6 million hectares, encompassing 20 percent of Nicaragua’s land, while the country’s forests, predominantly in the Caribbean Coast Autonomous Regions, are continuously encroached upon, devastating the culture, health, lives and livelihoods of Nicaragua’s indigenous communities (Mittal, 2020). 
El Salvador’s primary environmental problems impacting human development include air pollution, water pollution, land pollution, loss of biodiversity, water scarcity. deforestation, and climate change impacts such as storms, droughts, and rising sea levels along the nation’s coasts. Although El Salvador has a wealth of freshwater resources due to a plethora of lakes and rivers and underground aquifers, increasing populations alongside overuse of these resources by agriculture and industry operations leave the country unable to sustain development and the water needs of most Salvadorans. 
El Salvador’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources finds that over 90% of the country’s surface water sources are too contaminated for use, while the country’s groundwater aquifers have experienced an average 13 acre-foot drawdown, caused primarily by corporate interests’ overuse. One report from 2019 suggests that without immediate remedial action, El Salvador will be completely without potable water by 2100 (Lakhani, 2019).
Large sugarcane plantations, primarily in rural and indigenous territories, exploit workers with low pay, while simultaneously creating environmental hazards and resource deficits that harm their way of life, their health, and their community needs for safe and accessible water. Sugarcane plantations not only require large volumes of water, they also pollute rivers and lakes with agrochemical runoffs that taint surface and groundwater supplies. It is estimated that more than 600,000 rural households are without access to safe drinking water and sanitation services. 
Another environmental issue that thwarts human development is deforestation, caused by logging for timber sales, and the expansion of industry into rural forested regions that are subsequently clear cut. In addition, the growth of the commercial fishing industry as well as the illegal harvesting of fish eggs have triggered profound losses in marine life that had previously sustained rural and coastal communities as a major food and income source (Jamail, 2011).
Unequal wealth distribution in El Salvador means that most of the country’s population lives according to subsistence standards, while a small group of elites and politicians hold most  of the country’s capital assets, and control most of the economy. This has resulted in mass over-exploitation of natural resources, particularly over the past thirty years. From 1979-1992, El Salvador endured a brutal civil war. Peace accords signed in 1992, brokered by the United Nation, provided land grants to poor and indigenous families previously displaced by sugarcane and cotton agri-operations run by the elites.
Since then, basic human needs have yet to be met in these protected grant lands, including access to water and sanitation, health clinics, schools, and roads. The communities living on these lands were never granted titles to their land, either. This has resulted in the trafficking of grant lands to illegal settlers and agri-industrial operations, with little legal recourse for poor and indigenous land grant holders. 
In EL Salvador, it is also no secret that gang violence, political corruption, and corporate interests vying for territorial control play a significant role in forcing the migration of indigenous and rural people to other regions. Considered one of the most murderous countries in the world, EL Salvador today also faces a crisis of famine, drought, and environmental destruction that is simultaneously and increasingly displacing its most vulnerable populations. 
In all of Central America, El Salvador has the highest population, and yet, because of commercial exploitation and depletion, pollution, and the climate crisis, El Salvador possesses the region’s poorest level of accessible water reserves. As the former director of Ecosystems and Wildlife at El Salvador’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) explains, “Marginalized communities struggle day to day to get access to enough water. It’s not a question that this could one day cause social conflict – it already is … the whole country is close to crisis.” 
For those “lucky” enough to have basic access to water at or near their homes, the taps run dry sometimes for weeks. In the region of Nejapa, in Barrio 18, and along the banks of the San Antonio River—an area controlled by the MS-13 gang, locals wash their clothes and sometimes make a living washing the clothes of others. 
However, crossing the gang-controlled territory is a life or death matter. In 2018, the region of Nejapa reported more homicides than nearly any other territory in El Salvador. The term “lucky” is inferred ironically, as municipal water costs typically average out to 10% of low income families’ incomes.
The Nejapa aquifer supplies an estimated 40% of the water for San Salvador, El Salvador’s capital. However, much of this water supply is pumped by commercial interests that export their products throughout the Americas, while local communities have no access to it. Since 2014, the Nejapa Aquifer has endured a drawdown of 20% of its reserves. 
Water rationing is commonplace in both rural and urban regions of El Salvador. Plagued by years of drought, rainfall is a precious commodity. However, because of widespread deforestation and desertification of land, rainwater cannot penetrate the hard land, anymore. In areas that do have public water systems, nearly half (48%) of piped water is lost due to system leaks. 
Moreover, the water of the San Antonio River is unfit for drinking due to the dumping of untreated water pumped into it by commercial companies, and because of few, if any other alternatives for sanitation and hygiene by community members that live nearby. Throughout El Salvador, as much as 90 percent of its surface water is too contaminated for drinking or other household purposes. 
And yet, lack of access to affordable, sufficient, and clean water is not the only environmental issue impacting development in El Salvador. In addition to water issues, El Salvador is considered second only to Haiti as the country with the most deforested land in the world. The resultant competition for resources, land, and livelihoods often result in violence and death in a number of regions within the country. 
In El Salvador, 35-year-old priest Fr. Cecilio Perez Cruz was killed in apparent retaliation for his vocal criticisms of illegal logging and timber trafficking operations near the western community of Juayua. The assassination was discovered on May 19, 2019 by members of Cruz’s San Joes La Majada parish.
In El Salvador’s community of Nahuizalco, José Alfredo Hernandez was shot five times and killed. In defense of his sister-in-law Margot Perez, who is an internationally-renowned indigenous rights activist who helped to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the  Right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent in Indigenous communities. 
According to reports at the time, Alfredo-Hernandez was being blackmailed by military police to reveal the whereabouts of Perez, who had fled the area due to threats against her life. Reports state that Alfredo-Hernandez did not respond to these attempts. He was found dead, from multiple gunshot wounds, on May 3, 2019. 
Mexico and the Baja suffer environmental issues that impact human development, which include deforestation, land degradation, soil erosion, water shortages and poor water quality, and air pollution. These issues prevent the sustainable use of Mexico’s resources, water supplies that could support further green industry growth, the health of its citizens, and the ongoing productivity of business, agriculture, and industrial development.
Unfortunately, for most of its development history, Mexico has promoted extractive agricultural, industrial and business pursuits over and above the sustainability of its natural resources, and its environment. As a result, the country must confront these mounting environmental problems today. 
Water quality is adversely impacted by factory discharges and the dumping of toxic waste into rivers and lakes. As these wastes are dumped, so too are the toxic chemicals and human pathogens they contain that pose hazards to human health and to ecosystems. There are no sanitation services for many settlements, and a large proportion of unlined drainage canals carry both industrial wastewater and untreated domestic sewage downstream to freshwater sources that have become too contaminated to provide potable water. It is estimated that 10% of Mexico’s population—as many as 15 million citizens— lack access to safe drinking water. 
Access to sufficient water is also a major environmental problem that is worsening, particularly for poorer populations throughout Mexico and in rural areas. Overall, access in urban areas is 93%, compared to 74% for rural areas. However, 30% of Mexicans have shortages in terms of both water quality and water quantity, with water available from the tap only intermittently. Due to pipe leaks and infrastructure degradation, it is estimated that 51% of water pumped in Mexico is lost before it reaches consumers (Mexico Water, 2019). 
Due to the depletion and contamination of surface waters, Mexico relies heavily upon its groundwater resources. As a result, by 2019, approximately 103 underground aquifers—more than 15 percent of Mexico's 653 aquifers—remain unable to sufficiently and sustainably recharge the large amounts of water being withdrawn from them. Water scarcity, sanitation services and hygiene are larger issues in Mexico’s northern and central regions, where populations are highest and where the country’s main economic sectors operate (Mexico Water, 2019). 
Those without piped water must often rely upon water delivered to their communities by truck, though it is more expensive in many cases, and water quality is not always guaranteed, and in some cases, even trucked water is unsafe to drink. Residents report spending up to 10% of their household’s annual income on water provide by private contractors. 
Throughout Mexico, air pollution is also a profound problem, particularly in Mexico City. In Mexico City, geography plays a role, inasmuch as Mexico City sits within a valley at high altitude, and temperature inversions trap pollution and smoke from thousands of outdated factories and older model vehicles without sufficient emission controls. 
Forty-percent of Mexico’s entire vehicle fleet and 42% of its urban population reside in Puebla-Tlaxcala, Monterrey, Leon, and the Valley of Mexico. According to the UN Environmental Programme, this creates “a social cost equal to 4% of the total GDP of these cities”(United Nations Environmental Programme, 2018). 
To alleviate air pollution in Mexico City, the government bans driving of automobiles for one day per week, organized by license plate number configurations. It is not enough. Health and life expectancy rates are severely impacted, though migration to Mexico City remains a viable economic option for those seeking stable employment in one of the city’s more than 50,000 factories. 
In the Baja region, where pollution recognizes no political boundaries between communities in the United States and Mexico, but where industrial and commercial operations remain on the Mexico side of the border, air, land, and water are extremely degraded and tainted with toxic chemicals.
As elsewhere in Latin America, rural migrants to already overcrowded cities or across state and national boundaries have been displaced by commercial and illegal activities occurring in their traditional communities. 
As this brief and abridged research has demonstrated, this is particularly acute in the indigenous rural regions of Mexico, where deforestation, land-grabbing agricultural plantation-style operations ,mining, and palm oil production activities occur, and where land and water availability and quality have suffered as a result of these activities that exploit resources and render indigenous and other rural communities less safe and secure. 
Deforestation is considered, perhaps, Mexico’s most profound environmental issue, and it is a force multiplier that ushers in commercial and illegal activities that in turn degrade Mexico’s environment and its human development potential. Approximately 142 million hectares of  land, representing nearly 70% of Mexico’s land cover, is forested. Nearly half of the country’s temperate and tropical forests are commercially owned (Piedra 2004).
 Although Mexico allows only eight to nine million cubic meters of the trees in these properties to be cut for sale, the actual amount of forest cleared more than doubles that due to illegal logging and clear-cutting for open land that is illegally used for legal and illegal agricultural operations, cattle ranching, exotic woods extraction, palm oil production, squatting, and illegal mining. By 2004, about one million hectares of forest were destroyed as a result of these activities. Overall, Mexico has lost more than half of its natural forests (Piedra, 2004). 
Since the early 2000s, Mexico has declared the preservation of its forests to be a national security concern, and has taken steps through its National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) to better regulate deforestation. That said, enforcement of the rule of law in Mexico’s deeply forested and mountainous regions is not strong, and the profound losses of forested land that occurred between the late 1980s-early 2000s will still take years of recovery, which is further hampered by ongoing logging and other activities in these regions. 
An estimated 12 million people live in Mexico’s temperate and rain forests, including approximately 5 million indigenous inhabitants who represent more than 40 different groups and language dialects. (Piedra 2004). 
Oftentimes ignored or displaced, intra-state and indigenous community responses to these problems are more crucial than ever in identifying these problems and linkages, in better defending the environment, and in shaping, improving, and better equalizing human development policy and progress outcomes. In the meanwhile, tensions and confrontations continue between these communities and those encroaching on, polluting and degrading their lands and forests. 
According to Global Witness, in 2019 12 environmental activists were murdered in Mexico, down slightly from 2018’s total of 14 assassinations of environmental defenders, and 2017’s grim tally of 15 murders of environmental activists  (Global Witness, 2019). Global Witness reports that as many as 123 such activists have been  murdered over the past few decades in Mexico. Here are a few of the 2019 cases that epitomize these conflicts, 
In the Mexican department of Chiapas, in the town of Palenque, within the community of Calatraba, environmental activist, howler monkey conservationist, and vocal opponent of illegal mining José  Luis Alvarez Flores was killed on June 2019. The 64-year-old from Tabasco, who had been shot at least five times, had just previously and repeatedly publicized the threats posed by illegal mining of stones and sand from the Usumacinta River, and had asked for police protection, though none was provided. According to one of Flores’ associates from Tabasco, notes left near his body also threatened the lives of other activists, as well as members of Flores’ family. 
Also in Chiapas, near Palenque, at a hostel near the Los Taxistas neighborhood, biologist and environmental activist Nora López León was found dead of multiple stab wounds on August 22, 2019. The 43-year-old Lopez León was the director of the scarlet macaw breeding project at the Ecotourist Park Aluxes in southeastern Mexico. Known for her efforts to protect the scarlet macaw, it remains unknown whether López León’s murder was linked to the assassination of fellow environmentalist José  Luis Alvarez Flores two months earlier. 
At Amilcingo, Morelos, south of Mexico City, indigenous land protector, radio host and producer,  and environmental activist Samir Flores Soberanes was shot to death outside his home on February 20, 2019, one day after speaking out publicly against the government-backed Morelos Protecto Integral Project (MIP),which included the construction of a 93-mile-long interstate gas pipeline and two thermoelectric plants as part of a massive energy development project for the region. He was shot twice in the head. 
A member of the Peoples in Defense of Land and Water Front, Flores Soberanes, along with other activists, had expressed concerns that the project would taint indigenous communities’ water supplies. His murder came just days after he also spoke at a public hearing, in which he confronted and criticized government officials, and just days prior to a public referendum on the project. 

In Mexico’s western state of Michoacán, on January 30, 2020, the body of monarch butterfly activist and illegal logging opponent Homero Gómez González was found floating in a well near the federally protected El Rosario butterfly reserve he managed. Authorities stated that Gonzales suffered a head trauma and also drowned. González had dedicated his life to preserving the butterflies’ wintering grounds, after abandoning logging, himself. 
Fellow activists and community members had been searching for Gonzalez for more than two weeks before his body was found, and speculated that the activist, who had frequent disputes with illegal loggers encroaching on the area, had been murdered, However, prosecutors first ruled the death was accidental, and then maintained that Gómez González’ death was due to organized crime.
In Mexico’s Ciudad Valles in the northern state of San Luis Potosí 27-year-old artist and environmental activist Héctor Domínguez was found shot dead in his home on April 19, 2019. His father and brother were also shot to death in an attack that police say involved several armed men. Domínguez, a renowned muralist in Mexico, used his art to draw attention to the devastating effects of both water pollution and deforestation due to logging and agri-farm over-exploitation. Domínguez had suffered previous death threats, and was under a protective order following an unsuccessful attempt on his life by unknown armed assailants who shot him twice as he was leaving a school where he taught art. According to reports, a minimum of 15 bullets were found at the scene of the triple murder of Dominguez, his father and brother. The attackers also left behind a high caliber weapon (El Universal 2019) 
Throughout Latin America, these represent but a few of the cases of violence and murder associated with efforts to prevent further degradation of the region’s environment, and to protect communities in order that they may live with the quality of life promoted in human development efforts. Though each country, and locations within countries confront unique environmental challenges to varying degrees, there are also considerable similarities, both of which call to the need for a more robust, “greener”  response to human development throughout Latin America. 
Further Reading
Beleño, I.50% of the water in Colombia is of poor quality (2017). unperiodico.unal.edu.co.
Business and Human Rights Resource Center. https://www.business-humanrights.org/en
Al-Hussein, Zeid Ra’ad, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, (2018). Human rights violations and abuses in the context of protests in Nicaragua. https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/sites/oaklandinstitute.org/files/pdfpr…
Enemies of the State?: How governments and business silence land and environmental defenders. (2019, July). Global Witness. 
Fermín, C. (2015).The 10 socio-environmental problems of Latin America,  alainet.org.
Fifty-three police investigated in disappearance of monarch butterfly activist (2020, Jan 22). Mexico News Daily. https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/53-police-investigated-in-disappearanc…
Gallón, N., Sandoval, E., CNN en Español (2017, Feb. 8). Honduras: The Deadliest Place to be an environmental activist, new report says. https://www.cnn.com/2017/02/02/americas/honduras-environmental-activism…
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, World Bank. Environmental Health in Nicaragua: Addressing Key Environmental Challenges. (2013).  http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/618121468276880031/pdf/768940…
Jamail, D. (2011, Feb 21). El Salvador’s environmental crisis: Communities and officials demand that government protect the people from poisonous industries. Al Jazeera. https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2011/02/201122017470922665.h…
Lakhani, N. (2019 Jul 30). Living without water: The crisis pushing people out of El Salvador.” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/jul/30/el-salvador-… 
Mexican environmental activist murdered in Morales (2019, Feb. 21). British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-47318921
Mexico. (2018). United Nations Environmental Programme. https://www.unenvironment.org/explore-topics/transport/what-we-do/share…
Mistry, E.  (2019, May 28). Murdered muralist Héctor Domínguez honoured in Mexico. The Art Newspaper. https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/murdered-muralist-honoured-in-mexi… 
Muralist murdered in Mexico. (2019, Apr 22). El Universal, https://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english/muralist-murdered-mexico
Mittal, A., (2020). Nicaragua’s Failed Revolution. The Oakland Institute. https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/nicaraguas-failed-revolution
    See also for Oakland Institute documentation of Nicaraguan Human Rights issues. https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/nicaraguas-failed-revolution-report-hu…
    Piedra, T. Item 7: The present situation of Mexican forestry (2004). Food and Agricultural Organization, http://www.fao.org/3/Y4829E/y4829e09.htm
    Remembering murdered environmentalists (2020. Environmental History Online. https://environmentalhistory.org/people/environmental-murder/ 
    Shoichet, C., Griffiths, J., Flournoy, D. Berta Cáceres, Honduran activist, killed (2016, Mar 4). CNN World. https://www.cnn.com/2016/03/03/americas/honduras-activist-berta-caceres…
Ten percent of Mexicans lack safe drinking water (2019, Mar 22). Mexico Water. https://www.efe.com/efe/english/technology/10-pct-of-mexicans-lack-safe…
    Volckhausen, T.,     (2019, Sept 17). Indigenous communities, wildlife under threat as farms invade Nicaraguan reserve. Mongabay. https://news.mongabay.com/2019/09/indigenous-communities-wildlife-under…
 

Racha Ramadan

For the past decade, the global South achieved significant progress in reducing poverty and ensuring food security. However, gender gap, decent jobs, climate change present challenges for the international community and particularly to the Global south. The environmental deterioration resulted from the increasing CO2 emission, increasing temperature and the deterioration of water quality were major concerns that required international collaboration to save our planet.

The COVID-19 became as a warning for the humanity. This human crisis that hits every individual in every sector and every country raise several questions concerning the development agenda as it will jeopardize the progress achieved in some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The lockdown and the restrictions imposed by the governments are considered as shocks for all the economies as they affect supply, consumption, employment and growth. As a result, individual lost their jobs, poverty, inequality and hunger increased. Governments need to prioritize public expenditures and reform social policies to include all vulnerable groups, like women and informal employees, who are the most affected.” 

The crisis is expected to widen the gender gap as women are among the most vulnerable groups. The lockdown and mobility restrictions increased the care work burden on women, especially with home schooling, and they become more vulnerable to domestic violence. Women who are mainly employed informally are expected to lose their sources of income.   And with a new work and education environment where access to technology is necessary condition, women, especially those living in remote areas, are not expected to be winners

In addition to these questions, the COVID-19 raises other questions concerning the progress achieved in the health sector. The weakness of the health sector and the inability of some countries to face such health crisis shed the light on the importance of increasing investment in the health sector to achieve the third sustainable goal and be resilient to any similar shock in the future.

A “positive” impact of this crisis and these restrictions on human activities is the improvement of air quality because of the reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions. But the question is, will this last for long time? Or we will return back to the same levels of pollution once the crisis is solved and the human activities return to their previous levels?

Finally, I will conclude by saying that the COVID-19 crisis will reshape the economic thinking and the development agenda worldwide. 
 

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

Important points. For the report, we are also thinking about how the current crisis due to Covid-19 reflects the broader imbalance between people and planet, and what is the best way forward. Thanks for your contribution!

Kathleen O'Halleran

Response to Question 5
What methodologies can be used to facilitate the "Greening of the HDI"? What are the main indicators, and how will they be selected? What are the practical challenges in applying this methodology to the country level? What are some effective methods to advocate for data collection on these indicators, at the country level? (edited for clarification purposes, my apologies, I have replaced my former comment with this one). 
Dear Colleagues, 
In terms of how best to bridge the gap between human development and environmental sustainability, .i.e., the “greening of the HDI”), I think that adding three key components are important to consider, particularly after reviewing various reports, studies, and policy papers, over time, and also in an effort to not simply duplicate the SDGs, but make a relevant contribution to the environmental aspects affecting human development. As a group, I would call these three indicator categories the components of an Environmental Risk to Human Development indicator group, which would act as a deficit calculation to the overall HDI, or another method for calculation (though ironically, perhaps less acutely attuned, could be to simply fold these deficits into each of the current three categories of the HDI as income, education, and life expectancy. 
Toward this end of calculating an Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA), I have included some indicators and sub-indicators listed by the World Health Organization, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the World Bank, the United Nations Environmental Programme, and a few of my own. They are as follows: 
(1) Ill Health and Morbidity Outcomes Attributable to Environmental Risks; (2). Household Environmental Risks; and (3). Financial Losses Attributable to Environmental Risks (with indicators and sub-indicators as follows:
A. Deaths Attributed to Environmental Risks (country wide) 
i. air pollution: indoor and outdoor
ii. water (quality and quantity)
iii. sanitation and hygiene
iv. Natural climate related disasters
B. Disease/Disabilities Attributed to Environmental Risks (country-wide) 
i. air pollution: indoor and outdoor
ii. water (quality and quantity)
iii. sanitation and hygiene
iv. natural climate related disasters
C. Hunger and Under-nourishment Attributable to Environmental Risks (country-wide)
i. access to fuel for cooking
ii water quantity for cooking and drinking
a.) Water quality for cooking and drinking
b.) Water quantity for growing food and livestock
c.) Water quality for growing food and livestock

iii. land for growing food and livestock (country wide) 
a.) quantity of land available divided by population minus exports of food/livestock commodities
b.) quality of land available divided by population (identifying amount and type of loss (desertification, flooding, or polluted land) for growing food and livestock minus exports of those commodities

II. Household Environmental Risks (country-wide) 
A. Water
i Type of access (basic, limited, etc).
ii. Cost of Access as a % of income. (converted to with range O.O0-1.00)
III. Time spent retrieving water (1.00= 8 hours) [countrywide} 
B. Fuel
i. Type of fuel for heating (0.00= green energy, 1.00= wood/coal
ii. type of fuel for heating water for household cleaning and personal hygiene. (See range above)

III. Cost of fuel as a % of household income. (% can be converted to range, as 0.00-1.00) 
i. time spent retrieving fuel (1.00 being 8 hours).

(III.). Financial Loss Attributed to Environmental Risks
A. Lost Income Attributed to Environmental Issues, further assessed by income category (for low income, middle income, high income populations)
i.) air pollution: indoor and outdoor
ii.) water (quality and quantity) 
iii.). sanitation and hygiene
iv. natural climate related disasters

B. Lost Wealth in the Form of Money or Other Assets Attributed to Environmental Risks
i. air pollution: indoor and outdoor
ii. water (quality and quantity) 
iii. sanitation and hygiene
iv. natural climate related disasters

C. Health care costs associated with Environmental Health Risks
i.) air pollution: indoor and outdoor
ii.) water (quality and quantity)
iii.). sanitation and hygiene
iv). natural climate related disasters
These indicators could be ranked on a scale of 0.0 to 1.0, with 0.0 being the best possible outcome, and 1.0 being the worst case. 1.0 for example, if all deaths were caused by environmental health risks, or all diseases were caused by environmental health risks, or all capital was lost due to environmental risks; and 0.0 if none were, for any indicator category or sub0indicator, etc.
Insofar as the methodology to use for folding these indicators into the HDI, alas, let it be known that as of yet, I am not a statistician. I just know it can be done, and have made a cursory stab at that.

The inclusion of these three Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) indicator groups could be calculated as the additions of each sub-indicator within a main indicator (as in all the sub-indicators for A totaled and averaged to provide a calculation for A., same for B, and C, and then the totals for A,B, and C added together and averaged to provide a score for each of the main indicators 1.Ill Health and Morbidity, II. Household Environmental Risks , and III. Financial Loss Attributed to Environmental Risks). Finally, all three of these main indicators are added together and then averaged to arrive at an Environmental Risk to Human Development score, which would then be folded (as a deficit) into the overall calculation of the HDI. 
Demonstrating the specific environmental health risks, the household environmental risks, and the financial loss due to environmental risk factors in this manner, countries and the international community can understand in more concrete terms the scope of the risks and impacts that each (and all) of these variables place on human development, and they will be able to make more precisely targeted and effective policy choices. 
In terms of the practicality of utilizing these indicators, some if not most of these indicators are already tabulated by the SDGs, the FAO, the World Bank, the UN Environmental Programme, and the World Health Organization (WHO) for most countries. 
It is possible that positives to this index could be added as well, including the outcomes of country-level environmental protection programs (removal of hazardous waste; improvements to polluted air, water, and land; ratio of populations in urban slums and substandard rural housing; homes/settlements reconstructed/added to replace homes/settlements destroyed by environmentally/climate-related causes, These positives within the proposed ERA would be calculated in the same fashion as deficits, with an overall score that is then subtracted from the deficit (or if larger than the deficit, the latter would be subtracted from the positive), and the result would then be added to) the HDI calculation for each country. 
In terms of limitations to gathering indicator data, providing the technological know-how and capabilities necessary to include remaining countries could be accomplished through grant funding and knowledge sharing, and as mentioned below, household surveys.
Another benefit to incorporating these indicators into the HDI would be to better isolate the distinctive problems and the intensity of those problems in specific regions, sub-regions and countries. According to the WHO, for example, 26% of all deaths in Afghanistan are attributable to environmental health risks, but to what degree are these occurring in some provinces and not others? How much is rural, or urban, or according to how much income. Added precision would allow for better policy responses that are more effective, and more precisely targeted.

Household surveys may fill in data gaps for some indicators, or for some locales where indicator measurements are not otherwise tracked by a country. Overall, these three categories have both direct and indirect effects as barriers to human development. Poor quality land and land lost to climate-related natural disasters reduces productivity, causes job losses, and slows individual and overall income growth, creates under-nourishment and hunger that impacts students' and workers’ abilities to concentrate and advance in school and in their careers. Lack of basic, affordable water that is clean also limits food production that adversely impacts productivity, particularly for agriculture and business endeavors in rural and smaller communities, employment, educational out ones. 
Indoor water and air pollution also produces diseases and deaths, particularly for children, ranging from asthma and lung disease to cancer, to diarrhea, and parasitic and communicable diseases. Limited access to water and fuel also means additional household labor time and energy is spent retrieving these necessities, which reduces time available for education and employment. Entire communities and the businesses and industries they support may be displaced due to climate-change-related sea level rise or catastrophic weather events. And of course, there are direct costs across economic levels, industry sectors, and small businesses, from income and labor lost, to the loss of assets. Healthcare costs, particularly for catastrophic or chronic, environmentally-based health risks can swiftly or in the long-term siphon away gains made in terms of productivity and income stability and growth. 
These examples represent just some of the ways these indicators affect human development. As we know, the environment and development are intertwined. A healthy environment leads to better, more sustainable human development. And sustainable human development leads to a better, healthier environment. It is in the measurement of such factors that we can begin to understand ad respond to the complexities of this relationship. I hope that the thoughts I’ve offered here on a potential Environmental Risk to Human Development index and the included indicators provide some starting points toward that end. It has been an honor to be a part of this thoughtful discussion process.
Further Reading:
A Region at Risk: The Human Dimensions of Climate Change in Asia and the Pacifics. (2017). Asian Development Bank. file:///D:/UN%20FILES/question%202/region-risk-climate-change.pdf

Data Catalogue: Tables: World Development Indicators. The World Bank. (2020). https://datacatalog.worldbank.org/dataset/world-development-indicators; and http://wdi.worldbank.org/tables
Global Environmental Outlook: Healthy Planet, Healthy People, GEO 6(2019).United Nations Environmental Programme, Cambridge University Press. 
Global Health Observatory Data Repository. https://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.home

FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO. 2019. The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019. Safeguarding against economic slowdowns and downturns. Rome, FAO. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO

Outstanding Environmental Issues for Human Development, (2005). Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency at RIVM

World Health Statistics 2019: Monitoring Health for the SDGs. (2020). World Health Organization. 

Madina Guloba

Dear Colleagues,

My contribution is more country specific. See below:

2.    In different regions of the Global South, what are the regional, sub-regional and country level environmental issues that impact human development?

Indeed, with changing global climate and environment in general, human development impacts will differ depending on the level of readiness, length of disasters (mitigation vs adaptation), social protection systems in place, and the level of policy recognition of the inevitable (climate change impacts). For instance, the recent changes in rain patterns have caused the Lake Victoria banks to bust reclaiming land that was been encroached on for business (big hotels) and Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs).  Further, two small islands in the lake started floated toward the dam that generates electricity due to an increase in water levels and speed. This had significant effects on electricity supply and stability as experts tried to devise means of mitigating the damage that the islands and water levels have caused. Rising water levels  at L. Victoria have affected livelihoods, shops have closed, homes destroyed, businesses destroyed and increased incidences of health related issues-malaria, cholera, diarrhea. Fishing nets and boats were washed away. Access to health facilities and schools has been made difficult due to impassable roads that are submerged. Combined with COVID-19 effects the situation is dire.

The other effect of the environment is that livestock and crop disease epidemics have exacerbated. Uganda had a swam of locusts (referred to as dessert locusts). These have stayed for the last 3 months and have destroyed vegetation cover and crop. Hunger and low agricultural related income in affected areas is likely to ensue. 

Both the rising water levels and locust infestation affected areas will go beyond income as social networks and economic activities are affected which both have an impact on human development.

Government through the Ministry of disaster preparedness released UGX. 15billion to fight the locus invention.

5.    What methodologies can be used to facilitate the “Greening of the HDI”? What are the main indicators, and how will they be selected? What are the practical challenges in applying this methodology to the country level? What are some effective methods to advocate for data collection on these indicators, at the country level?

Todate the multidimensional Index has come in handy. It can incorporate certain elements of weather to come up with a multidimensional HDI that has green elements. Nonetheless for authenticity, clear indicators must be defined. These can be borrowed from the SDG targets on climate change and environment or natural resources. These will ensure that the measurement is in line with the 2030 agenda rather than having new indicators.

The challenge definitely will be data related but over time if these are well established, national statistical offices can embed indicators in their national household surveys. This will provide a direct link with the households that have other related HDI indicators on education, health, gender, inequality etc.

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

Thank you for your contribution, and highlighting the particular challenges faced because of the change in rain patterns in Lake Victoria region, and from the locust infestation. Many ecosystems are being pushed beyond their limits by human activity. This has to be countered, also keeping in mind development priorities. What is clear is that without healthy ecosystems, jobs and lives will not be sustained in any case. 

Ameena Al Rasheed

Dear colleagues

Thank you for the vibrant discussion and rich thoughts and ideas. I would like to contribute with final remarks on the overall sustainable human development pathways, of course within the context of South-South and triangular Cooperation. It’s inevitable that our focus from this time onwards, will witness a complete transformation on the way we perceive human development approach. I would like to highlight just few aspects that impact the sustainability of the approaches we may pursue. 1- At the beginning the political context under which we would like to see an emerging new paradigm that focuses on human development. 2- Issues of ecosystem, climate change have been discussed at length, yet a very important issue of vulnerabilities might take a center stage.
Now, covid19 in these few weeks has taught us a lot, and left many questions unanswered as well, questions as; Which political context will be more conducive to our sustainable human development pathways? Covid19 has not only manifested its impact on one sector ‘health’ but rather all sectors, services as well as policies seem to fall short, or in another word to collectively collapse.
The ecosystem, issues of climate change, environment and vulnerabilities, all can better be addressed within a robust human development approach, where the people’s wellbeing will be at the centre of our concern.
We can not shy away anymore, from the fact that policies at all levels must be human development centred, I-guess our discussion will lead us to unpack and investigate the very issue of entitlement, what forms of development can guarantee the enjoyment of what we are entitled to?
At this time SStC seems the appropriate way to go about our complete transformation, and change, and to tackle climate change, environment, sustainable development and other aspects of development through collective thinking and sharing of knowledge, experiences and may be brining about new era of thought and focus.
 

Hebatallah Adam

Ques (1) How can the human development approach bring new light to the sustainability debate? 

Answer: 
To understand the inclusion of Human Development in the Sustainability Debate, we shall start by defining sustainable development. Sustainable development is attaining economic development and simultaneously making sure that the ecological systems are sustainable enough to provide natural resources for the current and future generations. That perspective of sustainable development takes into account only the economic conditions of the society where people are living in and how it is affecting the ecosystem. Whereas in the case of the human development approach, it pays more attention to the quality of human life than the economic conditions of society. The purpose of sustainable development is not solely to preserve the environment but to provide a holistic concept to integrate human wellness, economic development, and environment preservation. This is where the Human Development Approach comes into play; it achieves development through human wellness. It helps incorporate all factors to create a plan that is best suited for the given conditions. To be very honest, I believe there is no point focusing on economic growth if we do not bring development for human resources. The focus on income growth versus sustainability would not give the developing countries any desired result unless its population is physically and mentally developed. 

To reach sustainability it is important to look into basic human wellness/development and therefore there would be a need for more people-centered policies. 

Michel Zhou

As for revision of HDI, some new indicators should address resilience on public health, ecological environment, and technology innovation. Especially in education and heath care aspects, cloud teaching and online care are increasing, an indicator on access to online education, health or modern information technology would be useful in the future. 
 

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

Thank you for your ideas, and especially the suggestions for indicators.

Michel Zhou

The COVID-19 pandemic presents Governments with unprecedented challenges. Addressing COVID-19 related issues in both existing and new operations starts with recognizing that this is not business as usual and that circumstances require a highly adaptive responsive management design to avoid, minimize and manage what may be a rapidly evolving situation. It requires medical infrastructure, public health, environmental pollution prevention and management in order to sustain development. 
HDR could highlight more consolidated measures for climate smart and jobful growth, people-centred development strategy and policies, more investment in and coordinated management of public health as well as environmental pollution, more cross-country cooperation for sustainable development. Economic growth is critical for development and jobs, but growth shall be people-centred and environment-friendly.  
 

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

Agree with you that hopefully this crisis brings the realization that we cannot continue with business as usual. Humanity has to come together and find solutions that work for the planet and for people. 

Xiuli Xu

The Covid-19 pandemic is changing the world and will change how our world operates. Some say its damages are far beyond those brought by the two world wars in the 20th century. If we look at the two world wars we can see how they influenced international cooperation. The first world war devastated the fast-developing European countries and for the purpose of a lasting peace the league of nations was initiated and established at the end of the World War I. one important lesson people learned from the war was that the fundamental cause of conflicts was the imbalance of economic development among nations, in this sense one central task of the League of Nations was to promote economic development. The set-up of an economic committee under the framework of the League called for stronger focus on economic development in international cooperation. The second world war brought by even greater change to international cooperation in that the thoughts of economic development was upgraded to the thoughts of international development, thus ushering in a real development century. The United Nations took place of the League of Nations, while economic issues topped the agenda of international cooperation. World Bank and IMF are typical examples.

Today, ever-increasing non-economic issues are emerging, climate change is a very obvious one. However, economic issues still dominate global agenda and cooperation. The ranging Covid-19 pandemic has caught the whole world off guard and exposed some tremendous risks hidden in the fast globalization process. Though the world has never seen a stronger pursuit of economic development in history than in today, it has never seen wider and deeper divides either. In face of the pandemic, collective actions of countries are rare, much we see is countries employing different approaches, one accusing another, sometimes neglecting the fact each falls victim of a joint enemy-the virus. I am not going to say nobody is doing good, but this presents a weakness of our global cooperation system which neglects non-economic agendas, especially those related to basic human securities, like public health that may affect every one or climate change that has an invisible yet huge impact our future generations; and it lacks consensus in how to respond to these collective non-traditional risks.

To address today’s global crisis, we need closer and deeper global collaborations more than ever. The pandemic reveals some important underpinning divides among countries and societies, reflected on how people look at and handle relations between liberty and security, between individual and state, between right and duty, which are critical to human development. The pandemic is making today’s global cooperation even more fragmented and piece-meal. In this case I think we need to seek more inclusive cooperation, either among Southern countries, or between the North and South. Technically innovative solutions are great, but political commitment, ideological common ground are more important.

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

Thanks for your input. Agree with you that international cooperation is more vital than ever, in the face of the global challenges that are emerging, whether it is Covid-19 or climate change. Unfortunately at the same time, international cooperation is increasingly threatened by rising nationalism in many countries and greater divisions. One hopes that the current crisis will show people that moving together is the best way forward. Collective problems can be solved only through collective action. Without this realization, the climate crisis can be impossible to address.

Ouedraogo Sayouba

An additional 
1) Humanity faces threats of various kinds:
- Economic: the crisis which tends to lead the world to depression with the bankruptcy of governments, the bankruptcy of companies, mass unemployment and even a new global conflagration and possibility of a new world economic order;
- Environmental: the depletion of the planet's natural resources, pollution and scarcity of water, the disorderly growth of cities and the catastrophic global climate change during the 21st century resulting from the chaotic mode of production and the increase excessive global population which tends to have serious repercussions on economic activities and the worsening of social problems, as well as the advent of international conflicts;
- Conflict, resulting from major international conflicts. Also, there are pressures and the plundering of resources with the proliferation of illicit trade in poor countries. 
- Unpredictable with the emergence of new pandemics such as the one currently occurring, that of the Coronavirus; 
The human development approach would constitute comprehensive strategies capable of eliminating or neutralizing threats to humanity. Thus, this approach must provide solutions to the threats of depletion of the planet's natural resources, catastrophic climate change, escalation of conflicts which could lead to war of all against all at national and international levels, as well as pandemics viruses similar to Coronavirus. The survival of humanity depends on the capacity of human beings to find rational management solutions for the recycling of natural resources, the use of water to avoid its pollution and its misuse and for the development of cities in order prevent their disorderly growth, as well as scientific and technological solutions to deal with threats linked to the environmental nature represented by climate change with the adoption of clean technologies for industrial production, transport and energy, to prevent water, soil and air pollution such as greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere and those linked to the development of drugs and vaccines capable of fighting against current and new viruses. So the approach to human development is in sustainability and sustainable development is about living things than inert matter.
It would be limited to conceive of sustainability as a single factor of income as well as its sustainable growth. Indeed, victory over threats is to the extent that humanity acquires the capacity to enjoy life and coordinate its actions in the management of the economy, national and international relations with the establishment of good governance capable of preventing the emergence of new conflicts and unknown pandemics. Sustainability goes beyond income to integrate social, psychological, cultural, health, educational and environmental factors.
In the paradigm of green growth, we need a new model of society in all countries of the world, capable of promoting the universal provision of fundamental human rights and the stabilization of the economy, gender equality, the reduction of social inequalities, the redistribution of wealth to the population, the protection and development of the environment, growth the level of education and, above all, the responsibility shared between national and international development actors. This model would be more focused on the development of the human being in coherence with environmental development. Thus, the model aims to improve individual autonomy, promote social mobility and guarantee the universal provision of basic human rights and stabilize the economy. Emphasis is placed on participation in the labor market, promotion of gender equality, reduction of social inequalities, wide levels of benefits to the population and the great extent of the redistribution of wealth and education. The construction of this new model of society allows civilized coexistence between all human beings. 

4) The prospects for climate change are discussed here at the private sector and societal levels.
- In the private sector, technical solutions, business models and activities compatible with the climate should be developed.
i) Innovations and investments to optimize the energy performance of industrial processes massively insulate buildings at low cost, produce clean and competitive electricity and store it on a large scale, etc.
ii) decarbonization of the economy at the technological level and other levers, such as changes in behavior and uses, energy efficiency measures;
iii) Construction, then generalization of business models compatible with the limited nature of planetary resources;
iv) Implementation of models that strongly integrate the circular economy;
v) Use business models that integrate sobriety and efficiency into cost structures and potentially make economic growth and carbon neutrality compatible.
- Mobilize all stakeholders
i) Orient consumer behavior, by developing new positive imaginaries that make the evolution towards a sober society and combating climate change attractive to the greatest number;
ii) Highlighting the opportunities, rather than focusing on the risks of climate change, it is better to highlight”.
iii) Mobilize populations by demonstrating exemplarity, reducing the footprint, raising awareness among citizens, intensifying training, generalizing education, especially environmental, setting up carbon accounting in order to immediately identify the strong and weak points of the business model as well as priority investments, etc.
iv) Citizens and consumers have an essential role to play, in order to make choices consistent with the objective of carbon neutrality;
The stakeholders must work in synergy, in logic of constant dialogue and shared responsibility.
 

Kathleen O'Halleran

HDI AND SUSTAINABILITY
Question 2.) In different regions of the developing South, what are the regional, sub-regional and country level environmental issues that impact human development

Dear Colleagues , this is a question whose response deserves and involves great depth and breadth to do it justice. I will do my best to offer here an overview of key, critical environmental issues and problems that are impeding human development. Overall, there are common concerns in the Global South, with differing intensities, as well as some environmental issues and barriers to  human development that are highly concentrated in some regions over others, and in some sub-regions, and some countries, more than others. I will attempt to not over-generalize, and my sincere apologies if I do here.
 I will begin with an initial post on the impact of climate change and extreme weather events in various countries within the Global South, as I believe it is the biggest challenge to both environment and human development. Subsequent postings will involve synopses of other regional, sub-regional, and country level environmental issues that also impact human development,. 
The Global South, Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events:: 
In terms of its impact on both environmental and human systems, climate change, and the disasters and catastrophes associated with it, is a profound multiplier. Clearly, the Global South suffers more frequent and more severe impacts from climate change and severe weather disasters with each passing year amidst climate change, though some regions, sub-regions and countries clearly suffer more than others.
It is pertinent to point out that such regions, sub-regions and country impacts can vary, year by year in terms of number and severity of events, due to changing weather patterns. These can and do include cyclones and typhoons, drought, heat waves, wildfires, floods, and so forth. Ensuing environmental damage from such events include freshwater loss and contamination of freshwater resources by seawater, coastal erosion, mudslides, desertification, deforestation, chemical pollution due to industrial damage (including endocrine-altering chemicals found in plastics and organic compounds leaked through storm damage that can impact humans and wildlife for generations, loss of livestock and pastoral grazing lands, eradication of fisheries, biodiversity loss, loss of crops, loss of businesses, hospitals, and industries, loss of homes and schools, and loss of life. Sea-level rise over time will negatively impact communities and the environments upon which they depend, as well as freshwater quality. 
The 2014 Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) observed that such extreme catastrophes would continue to increase alongside ongoing rises in global mean temperature. These events affect human health and mortality rates due to losses in crops and livestock, as well as the tainting of water supplies, degradation of sanitation services, the ability to engage in work and go to school, and the capacity for economic development.
    German Watch calculates a Global Climate Risk Index (CRI) of all countries, based upon the relative and absolute indicator categories of death toll, deaths per 100,00 people, absolute losses in purchase power parity (PPP) per $ US million, losses per unit of GDP (as a %), and HDI (Human Development Index) ranking.  
         The lower the CRI index, the higher the ranking, globally, in terms of level of climate risk. 
          Here’s an example of how the CRI is calculated: 
In the study of 1999-2018 Climate Risk Assessment (CRI), 
           “'Bangladesh ranks 9th in fatalities among all countries analyzed in this study, 37th in Fatalities per 100 000 inhabitants, 17th in absolute losses in PPP per $ US million losses and 40th in losses per unit GDP. 
            Hence, its CRI Score is calculated as follows: 
CRI Score = 9 x 1/6 + 37 x 1/3 + 17 x 1/6 + 40 x 1/3 = 30.00. (See the methodology section in this study for more details). 
Only six countries have a lower CRI Score for 1999-2018, thus, Bangladesh ranks 7th in this index category” (German Watch). 
            Data for this study are derived from the Munich Re NatCatSERVICE, which is respected globally for its accuracy and reliability. Moreover, the study details the specific event types and difficulties overcoming such events for each country in its annual reports.
             The ongoing, and annually updated German Watch study may therefore be an overall indicator ranking system that the HDI determines important to include as it considers what variables to include in a”greener,” overall index. 
            Throughout the Global South, the German Watch studies demonstrates that the poorest countries have been impacted the most, both in terms of the profound nature and type of severe events, and the coping capacity of predominantly poor countries to regroup and rebuild across environmental and human development sectors. 
               Overall listings for 2018 (latest figures available) of less and least developed Global South countries within the top 10 countries worldwide (those impacted the most) in 2018, alone, from severe climate-change related weather events are ranked as follows: 
Philippines #2, CRI: 11.17; 
Madagascar #4, CRI: 15.83; 
India #5, CRI: 18.17; 
Sri Lanka#6, CRI: 19.00; 
Kenya #7, CRI: 19.76; 
Rwanda #8, CRI: 21.17; and 
Fiji #10. CRI: 22.50 
               However, when one considers the period from 1999-2018, the number of countries in the top 10 globally (most affected by severe climate change related weather events) that are located in the Global South is startling and complete. They are listed as follows: ranking, country, and Global Climate Risk Index (CRI): 
1) Puerto Rico 6.67; 
(2)Myanmar 10.33; 
(3) Haiti 13.83; 
(4) Philippines 17.67; 
(5) Pakistan 28.83; 
(6) Vietnam 29.83; 
(7) Bangladesh 30.00; 
(8) Thailand 31.00; 
(9) Nepal 31.50; 
(10) Dominica 32.33
For each of these countries in this study, the particular events and their scope of damage was unique, and I would encourage further reading into those individual characteristics so that specific, and ongoing problems can be met with effective policy considerations. 
The German Watch study further refines rankings according to those countries that perpetually confront extreme climate-related weather events, and those that rank high because of exceptionally extreme climate related weather events. Such research and calculations would greatly assist in the development of policies and mitigation strategies related to the differentiation (when and if there is one) between such types of catastrophes and how they impact human development.. 
Overall, the connection between climate change, extreme weather, and human development impacts could not be more clear, We are facing an emergency, and an existential crisis in the Global South from climate change. There will be no meaningful human development without consideration of this profound problem already underway in the Global South.
          
    Moving beyond overall country rankings for climate-related weather events, there are problems and challenges related to specific regions, sub-regions and countries that bear consideration, in terms of how environmental issues—human caused or naturally occurring—impact human development. I will post my thoughts and considerations of those, as best as I can, in subsequent postings. 

For Further Reading:
A Region at Risk: The Human Dimensions of Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific, (2017), 2017 Asian Development Bank
Burck, J., Hagen, U., Höhne., Nascimento, Christoph Bals, L. The Climate Change Performance Index: Results 2020. (2020), GermanWatch
Carter, T., Giorgi, F., (Italy), Jones, R.G., Kwon, W., Mearns, L.Schipper, L., (Sweden), van Aalst, M.(2014). Regional context. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part B: Regional Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 
Kreft, S. D. Eckstein, D., Junghans, L., Kerestan, C. and Hagen, U. Global Climate Risk Index 2015 (2015): Who Suffers Most From Extreme Weather Events? Weather-related Loss Events in 2013 and 1994 to 2013. GermanWatch. 
Linking poverty reduction and environmental management: policy challenges and opportunities. Washington, D.C., UK Department for International Development (DFID)/ European Commission/United Nations Development Programme/World Bank, 2002.
 

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

Thanks again. Will make sure the Climate Risk Index is covered in our analysis. Thank you.

Mr. Rodulio Perdomo

Estimados Colegas:
El IDH ha venido marcando muchas agendas a nivel de políticas públicas; pero en la realidad, la que constatamos día a día, los bosques están desapareciendo, los ríos pierden su caudal y son entregados a manos privadas para generar energía eléctrica, los incendios forestales cada vez son más extensos para ampliar la frontera agrícola y; además, se ha agregado un problema nuevo: el control de espacio centroamericano para propiciar el traslado de Drogas desde Sur América hasta Estados Unidos de N.A..Se ha perdido la calidad de la gobernanza y se ha aumentado la violencia y la inseguridad y los flujos de migración se han incrementado de una manera nunca antes observada. Igualmente, la presión de los OFI´s es para hacer desaparecer los bienes públicos y que sea exacerbado el modelo neoliberal. Precisamente este modelo no tiene ninguna consideración especial sobre el desarrollo sostenible. Le interesa más el crecimiento y que los países "ordenen" su macroeconomía para seguir siendo sujetos de crédito. Estos organismos están financiando las peores formas de extracción mineral....y todo ello configura un verdadero "Olvido Ontológico": es más importante la ganancia que el SER HUMANO....que los pobladores autóctonos no tengan ni agua ni energía ni ingresos no es un "gran problema" pues se espera que exista pronto un "derrame" de riqueza. El IDH, los ODS, está orientado, bien orientado, pero las acciones reales continúan lacerando, hiriendo, lo más profundo del ser humano: su necesidad de arraigo y vivir en el mismo sitio de sus ancestros. Por eso, el gravísimo olvido del SER es cubierto con campañas mediáticas de protección de los loros, monos y colibríes....dando por sentado que los seres humanos siguen siendo prioridad. No es así, las compañías transnacionales siguen extrayendo los recursos naturales y aquellos que se oponen son asesinados. El Estado Centroamericano, exceptuando un poco Costa Rica, también calla y no persigue estos delitos de Lesa Humanidad. Centrar el IDH en el ser Humano parece ser una tautología pero no lo es ….ya que nominalmente se siguen los ODS pero en las políticas y acciones realmente existentes prevalece el enfoque de la avidez por ganar, ganar, ganar....sin importar que sea arrasado el principal recurso de la Creación y de la Naturaleza. Hay una brecha ética muy grande entre lo que se acuerda y lo que se hace.

Carolina Rivera Moderator

Muchas gracias por tu comentario Rodulio, efectivamente el IDH ha marcado agendas y guiado políticas públicas a nivel mundial. En este contexto, la naturaleza y el medio ambiente ocupan un lugar central para el desarrollo humano. La preservación de los recursos naturales y la biodiversidad son factores clave para que los seres humanos cuenten con capacidades y oportunidades. El enfoque de capacidades nos habla de cómo es importante que la forma en que se utilizan los recursos naturales el día de hoy no comprometa a las capacidades y oportunidades de futuras generaciones. Sin embargo, es importante ir más allá y analizar y entender las relaciones entre los seres humanos y el planeta, para reconocer y respetar los valores intrínsecos de la biodiversidad y los procesos de la naturaleza. El Informe de Desarrollo Humano de 2020 estará profundizando en este tema. Además de profundizar en el entendimiento de estas relaciones, es importante como destacas en tu comentario, crear puentes entre los resultados de datos e investigación con las políticas públicas y acciones que se llevan a cabo en los ámbitos nacional y local. Estos puentes y enlaces con las políticas y programas son los que se tratan de construir a través de consultas como está tomando en cuenta lo que ocurre a nivel nacional y local. Adicionalmente, en la oficina estamos trabajando en mirar como los impactos y consecuencias potenciales de la crisis medio ambiental se pueden comprender como riesgos, y no como restricciones. Riesgos que dependen de toma de decisiones basadas en normas sociales y valores o acuerdos internacionales, este análisis puede tener importantes repercusiones al momento de tomar decisiones de política pública. ¡Muchas gracias por tus comentarios!

KAAN NAMLI

Dear Colleagues,

I hope everyone is safe and healthy during these challenging times. 

I would like to thank the organizers for such an important and timely discussion on the intersection of human development and sustainable practices. I have read the various discussions which have pointed out the distinct aspects and issues related to human development, sustainable practices and a number indicators to measure and monitor these occurrences. All of the discussions have been very informing and have shed light on important facets of human development. 

As an academic and professional in the field of social development in the South, I would like to center my discussion on three aspects which I believe are relevant to the debate on “Sustainable Human Development Pathways”. Until recently human development and sustainability were two separate fields of study. However, after 2015, human development and environmental goals were firmly placed on the agenda of the new set of global priorities. The High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons endorsed this new approach in the Monrovia communiqué, outlining a vision for a new development agenda that is “people centered and planet sensitive”. Many of the discussions of our colleagues in the forum have already touched upon economic, environmental, educational, poverty and political elements of sustainable human development. Thus, I would like to try and bring other dimensions that have not been fully explored. 

Within this new framework, the first aspect to consider is that most often we speak about human development without paying enough attention to the diverse contexts and realities on the ground across the South. What I mean by this is that there needs to be synchronized efforts to understand the economic development desires of developing countries, which is pertinent to human development,  and the extent to which developing countries are knowledgeable, willing and capable of employing sustainable development practices without risking or jeopardizing their economic growth. Having said that, I am aware that the human development index aims to measure less by economic factors and more by social goals. 

However, the reality for many governments, communities and individuals on the ground in less developed countries is more about the classical economic growth model, which is seen as the basis for human development from their perspective, than about utilizing sustainable development practices to achieve human development. Therefore, the first aspect to consider when thinking about sustainable human development and what it should include or exclude as it is being reassessed is the reality on the ground. Policies and measures need to take into consideration feasible and realistic aims for countries that are more worried about economic growth and incapsulated in poverty. Here, I would like to mention a personal discussion I had with a government official from one of the least developed countries regarding human development and sustainability. When I asked about such issues, the official’s response was “we have communities struggling to meet their most basic needs, our first and foremost goal is to develop and I mean develop in any way we can”. I believe this quote is unfortunately a depiction of reality for many countries in the Global South. To summarize my first point then, there needs to be a sustainable human development approach that rigidly takes into consideration the imperative to meet the basic needs and rights of poorest people of the world while also reshaping production and consumption patterns in the global South and North to be inline with the planets sustainable boundaries. This requires South-South as well as North-South cooperation. 

The second aspect I want to touch upon is related to the link between culture, human development, and sustainable practices. This element plays a significant role in “greening” the human development index. A 2012 quantitative study by Edvard Konrad finds that HDI is “definitely related to some configurations of cultural practices and value”. Although an older study, it is an important one in terms of building the relationship between culture and HDI. However, the question of how to identify and utilize the role of these cultural manifestations in the context of broader determinants of societal prosperity remains open. Culture amongst other factors is an important intermediary that shapes the way in which individuals, societies and nations perceive their surroundings and reality, and the relationship they have with the environment. For example, some cultures may view the exploitation of the environment as permissible if it is for the short-term benefit of humans. Moreover, natural disasters might be viewed in some cutlures as the manifestation of God, mother nature etc. They may see this as a natural process outside of their actions and decisions. 

Other cultural traits may allow practices that are damaging to human development such as child marriages, female genital mutilation and amongst other violence against women. The salient point to take here is that the greening human development requires attention to particular cultural codes in the Global South that is composed of an extremely heterogenous group. Greening in one context might be welcomed and cherished while in other contexts it may be viewed as an obstacle to the wellbeing of individuals. This is where norm setting and change in basic assumptions becomes extremely important. Without having the public support for such major shifts, policy makers will be reluctant to fully indulge in sustainable human development and may resort to simply human and economic development at the cost of the environment. Therefore, the second element to consider in this reassessment is the role of culture. Its measurement and inclusion is a challenging endeavor in front of us but from my own experiences in working and travelling in many countries of the South, it is definitely an element that requires serious and dire attention. 

The final element I want to discuss briefly here is related knowledge, capacity and technology. Setting goals for countries is of course an ideal way to motivate, incentivize and ultimately monitor and evaluate progress. However, in regard to countries in the Global South,  there is a need to understand that some of them are lacking the proper capacity, technological resources and knowledge regarding sustainable development. Many ministries in these countries require capacity building trainings and resources to implement such policies. Here, cooperation between the North and South, and between the countries in the South become vital. South-South and North-South cooperation in terms of knowledge exchange, best practices and lesson learnt can be an effective way to get the ball rolling. In this respect, partnership targets that are measurable may be an important addition into sustainable human development. 

Overall, I have tried to provide some initial thoughts on some elements we need to consider while reassessing sustainable human development to position it in a framework that is realistic to the conditions on the ground, to the cultural elements impacting norms and paradigms around sustainability and human development and to the knowledge, capacity and technological resources of countries. I have offered partnership targets as an indicator that may be serve as a starting point for the realization of such a novel approach to sustainable human development. 

Before concluding, I would like to pose some questions to my valuable colleagues in this e-discussion.

Can there be an effective and measurable way to include culture as an indicator of sustainable human development?

HDI pays no attention to ecology, and retains an emphasis on high levels of income that – given strong correlations between income and ecological impact – violates sustainability principles. Would it be better to include human development index into the Sustainable Development Index instead of the vice versa?

Finally, in very high human development countries renewable energy technologies include solar, wind and hydro. On the other hand, in low human development countries the use of clean renewable energy technologies is only at the beginning. Can developing countries move away from the classical development model (oil, industrial etc.) to catch up to developed countries in terms of renewable energies? 

Dr. Jacob Assa Moderator

Dear KAAN NAMLI,
Many thanks for your detailed and thoughtful intervention. You have raised three very important points that are very relevant to this e-discussion in particular, and to our efforts to link human development and sustainability in this year’s Human Development Report in general. 

Your first point is extremely important. Indeed there is a need to balance the basic needs of the poorest people and countries to develop and eradicate poverty in the present, with the need to protect the planet and ensure a more sustainable future. One cannot expect people to put aside their very survival in the name of sustainability. If anything, a complete definition of sustainability would include meeting the needs of today without compromising the needs of future generations (as in the Brundtland Commission report). 

Your second point about culture is also crucial to keep in mind. Different cultures and regions have different notions of what development, nature and sustainability imply, and there is a need to respect this heterogeneity rather than impose a one-size-fits-all on it.

Your final point about the need for partnership and capability building is very pragmatic, and indeed one cannot except the poorest countries to implement either human development or sustainable development without support. In fact this is one of the reasons we are holding this e-consultation in cooperation with the UNDP Office of South-South Cooperation, as a platform to share ideas from different regions, backgrounds and points of view. 

We have also noted your three questions – regarding measuring culture as a component of sustainable human development, integrating human development in the SDG index, and the differential routes developing countries can take regarding renewable energy. We will attempt to address these in the summary of this consultation.
 

Kathleen O'Halleran

Dear Colleagues,
         My name is Kathleen O'Halleran, and my areas of interest and academic expertise are in the areas of Sustainability Education, and International Affairs, with specialties in Latin America and the Middle East. I am finding all of the postings to be so informative and insightful. It is an honor to be included in this group, for this purpose. Here is a my full response to question 1, primarily because I don't see my previous postings, and also because they were posted as separate entries to each sub-question. Hopefully, this is a more coordinated response, It is also my hope that, despite its length,  it spurs further consideration and discussion of the areas that I mention in my response. 

1. a)     How can the human development approach bring new light to the sustainability debate?
The human development approach provides a means for measuring the major and complexly intertwined aspects of what I would refer to as social sustainability, although there are a number of social factors enumerated in the SDGs, beyond the current HDI’s (Human Development Index) inclusion of GDP (income growth), life expectancy, and education that should also be included, and which are likewise intertwined into aspects of environmental sustainability. 

For example, access to clean drinking water, access to safe sanitation services; access to food; and access to clean air are just some variables that should be considered for inclusion in a robust measurement of HDI that also includes environmental sustainability factors. Moreover, access to and type of shelter, access to adequate healthcare services; meaningful, just and sustainable employment (employment rate, type of employment; skilled or unskilled labor ratios, and percentage of labor force involved in informal and/or migratory labor); and access to political processes such as voting, freedom of movement and community participation are other variables that are measurable, that integrate social and environmental factors that impact human development; and which should be considered in a robust HDI index.

Assuredly, the HDI provides a general snapshot of the level of well-being that people within a given country experience, with the overarching framework suggesting the degree of which those people can achieve, actualize and hopefully sustain a desirable life.  However, such achievement, actualization and sustainability of a desirable life involves much more than the present HDI can adequately measure. This becomes particularly noticeable in the Global South, where even basic human needs are not being met, such as nourishment, sanitation and water, health and sustainable jobs.
 Consider for example, the lack of adequate sanitation services and privacy for sanitation purposes at a school in sub-Saharan Africa. A young, adolescent girl may stop attending school upon the onset of her period, primarily because such privacy and sanitation services are unavailable, particularly given some cultural taboos surrounding the issue. The environmental concern of “lack of adequate sanitation” in this case has a direct impact on the human development index for years of schooling/education that in turn impacts her life chances and income growth. 
In addition, consideration by environmental sustainability policymakers as to how the human development approach reveals much more than merely environmental outcomes is critical to a robust, overall index capable of measuring these human impacts. For example, in the Global South, deforestation, land degradation, biodiversity loss, urban expansion, pollution (air, soil and water), water availability, lack of economic diversification (over-reliance on extractive activities for export), and poaching are examples of measurable environmental sustainability losses that impact such human/socio-economic variables as health and healthcare, shelter, employment and income, access to education, and potential for social mobility. 

There is also a distinct disconnect between GDP, which measures the production of all goods and services within a country, and the consumption of goods and services within a country. (More on this in my upcoming response to [1.b. and [1.c.].
Moreover, in the Global South, where agricultural products, livestock and fisheries, timber, and mineral extractions are largely targeted for low-priced export, and where finished products are largely imported from the Global North , less-developed countries bear an unfair burden when it comes to inadequate human development, as well as environmental degradation.  

A human development approach that incorporates the robust measurements suggested here, in addition to those already in place, can add substantially to what we mean when we consider “environmental sustainability.” For what is a human environment if not a complex interaction between social, economic, and environmental variables? It is in the consideration of this that the human development approach brings a new and much more enlightened and complete approach to the sustainability debate and the paradigm.

1. (b) and (c). Are dominant sustainability debates focusing narrowly only on income growth versus sustainability? In the paradigms of green growth, and de-growth, is there recognition of the need for people-centered policies?
    These are questions with many complexities embedded within in, particularly for the Global South. 

It is a fact that absent better green technology— and perhaps even accompanying green technology— consumption must be reduced, if the world is to achieve even a modicum of success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the planet is to  avert global warming that produces devastating climate change impacts over just the next two to three decades. We must slow the carbon emissions responsible for such impacts. Yet, in the name of sustainability, are we doing so, fairly, by making such blanket statements and of prescriptions? No. 

The Global South, which remains less developed and far more impoverished than the Global North, has advanced little in the industrial and post-industrial world. Indeed, one could say that in many countries, colonialism economies prevail, with the extraction of resources bound for consumption elsewhere, recompense to developing nations a mere pittance of the actual value of the goods and labor involved, and a resulting degradation and diminishment of land, water, and resources. 

Moreover, those in the Global South must pay much more than the pittances they receive from the trade of raw materials and other basic commodity products, for the finished products that they, themselves, largely require be imported from the Global North, primarily because they cannot muster the needed income to advance development and diversify their economies.. Obviously, if there ever was a need for and a right to income growth, it is in the Global South.

Developing nations have a just and proper right to improve their own economies beyond the exportation of primary products and subsistence-level incomes, and clearly, income growth is vital to the improvement of the lives of people in these developing countries. Yet, it is the proper measurement of consumption and offsets for it, and the type of income growth possible for developing countries that needs to refine this debate and ensuing discussion. To begin with, it is estimated that approximately 22 percent of all the planet’s CO2 emissions are the result of the production of goods and services in one country that are ultimately consumed by another country. 

This means that the extraction of raw materials such as timber and minerals, agricultural goods, fish, and so forth that are exported by developing countries either directly to large, industrialized nations or to intermediate-level countries for parts and derivatives manufacturing (i.e., lumber and paper from wood, textiles from cotton, coltan into cell phones, etc) result in (a). cheap payouts by developed nations to developing nations for basic commodities. (b). environmental degradation, health costs from air and water pollution, and resource depletion within developing nations, and (c). a constant, captive demand for cheap, unskilled labor in less developed countries that perpetually limits income growth and development,  It also means that the Global South absorbs and confronts the direct and indirect CO2 emissions costs and environmental impacts that developed countries do not. 

Adding insult to injury is the fact that because of their location in the Global South, most of these less developed countries suffer and will continue to suffer the most profound effects of climate change, from lack of water, to heat that kills both people and livestock, to soil degradation, and rising sea levels. Such impacts will further limit already paltry incomes, create health crises, and through loss of resources such as water, cause dehydration and death, reduce sanitation and escalate the spread of disease, and accelerate starvation through the devastation of crops and livestock.

No one wants that. However, sustainability debates demanding a limit to subsistence-level income activities in the Global South that harm the environment, or debates that call for future limits on income growth in developing countries in the diversification of their economies and increased consumption due to the building of their own sectors of industrialization, manufacturing and resulting urbanization are misguided, incomplete, or outright disingenuous. How so? In answering this question, I am also responding to 1(c) in terms of whether there is a need for a more people-centered perspective and policies in the paradigms of green growth, and de-growth.

Yes. A Resounding “yes” is in order, as explained in my discussion of two critical factors, below. There is tremendous need for a shift toward a more people-center framework and policy directives. 

    First of all, let’s consider two aspects of this complex problem: CO2 emissions that impact global warming, and consumption, which creates more CO2 emissions. It appears than the Global North is improving when it comes to produced, CO2 emissions, and that the Global South is doing worse. But, that is not truly the case when one squarely confronts the issue of consumption. Research and mapping projects demonstrate this by considering the importation of goods consumed by developed nations. Initiatives such as Carbon Brief, Our World in Data, and the Global Carbon Atlas have developed on the heels of studies that began in 2009 to consider the issue of outsourced carbon emissions, and what’s referred to most recently as the “carbon loophole.” 

This loophole can make an industrialized nation appear to be doing much better than it actually is, because reductions in emissions domestically look good (production of CO2). It would logically follow to conclude that developed nations are doing their part to consume less. Yet these reductions in CO2 and apparent domestic consumption are offset by an increase in goods produced elsewhere for that nation (imported CO2). It seems this ought to be where sustainability discussions and sustainability considerations relating to growth should best focus their attention.
    
To understand a country’s true impact, one must consider the following equation: Consumed CO2 emissions = CO2production + imported CO2 emissions - exported CO2 emissions. Only then can a country’s true CO2 emission standard be considered accurate. (There exist databases that measure the CO2 emissions of virtually all raw materials, commodities, and minerals, etc, by the way) A recent article in Carbon Brief (references are at the end), point to the cases of both Great Britain, and the United States. 

This study finds that “though domestic emissions have fallen 27% in the UK between 1990 and 2014, once CO2 imports from trade are considered, this drops to only an 11% reduction.” For the United States, emissions persistently rise, yet the level of that increase has seemingly decreased over that same time frame. Not so, actually. Once imports from trade are included, the 9% rise in domestic US consumption from 1990-2014 jumps to a 17% increase in CO2 emissions.

So, if consumption is the missing loophole, how does this impact the Global South, particularly amid a sustainability debate focused on limiting income growth? By changing the paradigm. Specifically, by measuring consumption, instead of income growth, as the canary in the coal mine of carbon emissions and global warming. Yes, in general, consumption will rise as incomes rise. But believe me, it will take some doing for the Global South to get to a place where its consumption represents a danger to global warming, whereas the richest developed nations have lived beyond their own resource capacities since the 1930s, and have borrowed resources from and transferred their own CO2 emissions to developing nations.
 
I am sure three questions emerge from this idea: First, won’t less and least developed nations be penalized for the CO2 emissions created by the finished products imported to them? We return to the equation mentioned above, in which actual, consumed CO2 emissions = CO2production + imported CO2 emissions - exported CO2 emissions.
I would suspect that developing countries will not show a demonstrable increase at all. Studies have been also done which demonstrate the supply chain share of CO2 emissions from start (raw products and commodities) through the processes of intermediate work to finished product. Therefore, emissions calculations are properly assigned to those countries involved in extraction, production, and finishing. 

As a result, by using this method, developing countries would not be charged the entire CO2 emission “cost” of a final product, and as mentioned above, would also deduct its CO2 emission cost if it actually exported the material used to make that product, as well. 

The two remaining, obvious questions are as follows: If the Global North cuts consumption, won’t that harm markets for the basic goods and raw materials exported by the Global South? And, how can a focus on consumption help the development of the Global South, anyway? I have an idea as to how best to respond, and as to how consumption, income growth and development as objectives can be better met in the Global South, overall.

 That is, the development of carbon tax levied against those countries that import CO2 emissions via raw materials, commodities and basic products from less and least developed countries. Such a carbon tax would be on a product-specific basis. The monies derived from such a tax could be spent on the development of beyond-subsistence endeavors such as manufacturing, technology, health services, educational sector growth, subsidized jobs training, and so forth, which would have the capacity to lift all boats in terms of income growth, life expectancy, and educational levels attained—even within sectors such as farming and  pastoral activities that, due to longstanding traditions, need, and familial/clan considerations, remain important to the individual, to communities, the nation, and the world as a whole. For, people everywhere have to eat. Finally, reducing consumption in the Global North will be a process that takes time, allowing countries in the Global South to collect sufficient funds as to help develop their economies, to produce more sustainable economic practices, and to have meaningful impacts on human development. 

These suggestions and considerations are people-centered approaches that I hope can merit more consideration at the policy level, though I do realize that calls for a carbon tax, and the consideration of a consumption-based approach to sustainability may be opposed by the richest nations to be impacted by them. One must sometimes do the unpopular thing. I dislike the burn of antiseptic, though I know it heals a wound, and therefore, I do it. Here’s to some healing, ahead. 

For Further Reading
“CO2 Emissions Embedded in Trade 2016.” Our World in Data. https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/co-emissions-in-imported-goods-as-a-…
“Emission Data,” History Database of the Global Environment. PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. https://themasites.pbl.nl/tridion/en/themasites/hyde/emissiondata/index…
    Frankel, J. “Environmental Effects of International Trade.” EXPERT REPORT NO. 31 TO SWEDEN’S GLOBALISATION COUNCIL. 
Global Carbon Atlas. http://www.globalcarbonatlas.org/en/CO2-emissions 
“Green Growth Indicators: 2017.” OECD Green Growth Studies, OECD. . https://www.oecd.org/greengrowth/green-growth-indicators-2017-978926426…
G. P. Peters1, S. J. Davis2, 3, and R. Andrew1 1Center for International and Environmental Research Oslo – CICERO, PB 1129 Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway 2Department
 “Mapped: The world’s largest CO2 importers and exporters.” Carbon Brief. https://www.car, bonbrief.org/mapped-worlds-largest-co2-importers-exporters/amp 
“Measuring Environmental Action and Economic Performance in Developing Countries.” May 2015, Green Growth Knowledge Platform, United Nations Environmental Program, 
Moran, D., KGM & Associates, Hasanbeigi, A. and Springer, C., Global Efficiency Intelligence. August 2018. The Carbon Loophole in Climate Policy: Quantifying the Embodied Carbon in Traded Products. 
“Production vs. consumption-based CO₂ emissions per capita, United States, 1990 to 2016.” Our World in Data. https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/prod-cons-co2-per-capita
Ritchie, H., M. Roser. CO₂ and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Our World in Data. https://ourworldindata.org/co2-and-other-greenhouse-gas-emissions    
    “Share of global cumulative CO₂ emissions, 2017.” Our World in Data. https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/share-of-cumulative-co2
    “Trade Statistics by Country/Region.” World Integrated Trade Solution. World Bank. https://wits.worldbank.org/countrystats.aspx?lang=en
 

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

Dear Kathleen, thank you so much for your inputs. You touch upon a number of very important themes. Thanks also for the references, which I can see will be really useful. Completely agree with you about the interplay between economic, social and environmental variables, and the need to take into account complexity.
The climate justice issues that you raise are very important. And you are right, this has to be approached from a consumption viewpoint, accounting for exports and imports and the emissions therein.
Glad to see you share our passion for people-centered analysis and policy making, It is not enough to just rely on climate technologies. The impacts of the climate crisis and global changes on the Global South, on people's lives and livelihoods, is something we hope to highlight. Thank you.

Carlos Milani

Dear colleagues,

This E-discussion has been very rich in inputs addressed to policy makers and deeply vibrant in pointing out new research areas. I thank you for inviting me to take part in it.
As an academic in the field of international development in the South, I agree with the assumption that environmental problems in general and climate change in particular must be considered as central issues in both North-South and South-South cooperation programs. However, acknowledging this assumption does not solve many policy and political issues associated with negative spillover effects and externalities generated by economic growth and environmentally unsound practices and models of development. I will come back to externalities later on, but let me give you one simple policy/political issue in the field of climate change: the basic international architecture to deal with it, such as the 1992 UNFCCC, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the 2015 Paris Agreement, are based on voluntary arrangements, allowing for the emergence of free riders within the developed and the developing worlds. In the current context where major nations unfortunately tend to build nationalistic responses to global collective action problems (including within today’s critical juncture related to Covid-19), what contribution can multilateral organizations such as the UNDP give to an environmentally-sound and a more socially inclusive human development?
Bearing this broad challenge put forward to human development in mind, I would like to react to some comments and contribute with some original suggestions, reflecting on some of the four sets of questions proposed by Dr. Naveeda Nazir. I have organized my comments around three general points.
First, on the issue on “how can the human development approach bring new light to the sustainability debate?”, I tend to agree with proposals to include indicators of resilience and environmental conservation.  However, I believe that mapping out quantitatively and qualitatively the vulnerabilities and the existing socioenvironmental conflicts in different regions and subregions may also be a relevant contribution coming from UNDP’s HD team. There are variations in vulnerabilities across countries and regions (deforestation, desertification, river and ocean pollution, access to water and basic sewage systems, urban-rural unbalances, etc.), but there might be common typologies of socioenvironmental conflicts that could inform policy making both locally and globally.  Mapping out such vulnerabilities would allow us to know what different types of environmental problems impact human development in different regions of the developing South. This typology could result in future policy lines of action.
Second, most scholars and policy makers agree that economic growth can be socially unbalanced and result in higher inequalities, and in this respect Latin America gives us far-reaching lessons. That’s the reason why in the early nineties it was so relevant to build HDI, disseminating a world-wide indicator that reflects the disconnection between purely economic growth and socioeconomic development. Until the end of the eighties or even at the beginning of the nineties, many policy makers already agreed with the general common sense that “development should be broader than growth” (I still recall James Wolfensohn saying that in a Paris ABCDE conference in 1999). However, before the HDI became a world-wide legitimate measure for comparing development, global policy-making communities still tended to use the per capita income as the sole indicator to showcase economic results and compare them across regions. Since the first publication of the HDR, UNDP has been able to streamline human development as a more complex and encompassing measure in the field of development. Now, it seems that the UNDP team has decided to raise the challenge to a much higher level: will the greening of HDI imply a change in the actual meaning and the conception of development as a goal and as a policy reality? It has become widespread wisdom to tell development and growth apart, but still today not all development practices, strategies and policies are necessarily environmentally sound. HDI has contributed to undermine the relevance of growth, but time has perhaps come to bolster “the sustainable human development index”, thus revisiting the original concept of human development. Herewith I tend to agree with Pablo Hurtado, in the sense that greening HDI may indeed represent a greater challenge, mainly because today’s dominant sustainability debates tend at the end of the day to focus too narrowly on income growth versus socioenvironmental sustainability. Some economic activities may very difficultly turn out to be sustainable, but there must be bridges for rendering the majority of them more sustainable. Thinking of sustainable development transitions (i.e. in technology, consumption patterns, agriculture practices, etc.), both in terms of adaptation and mitigation, may be a hint in this regard.
Third and final remark, many questions remain open when it comes to “how to operate this greening of the HDI”. In fact, what are the main indicators, and how can they be selected? This is indeed a complex task, but undoubtedly a major one. One of the challenges relates to the fact that the HDI measures national patterns (and sometimes regional or local patterns), always reflecting country’s behavior and comparing realities lived by different countries (or regions and localities). Nevertheless, states (at the national level, but also provincial governors and city mayors) are not the only stakeholders responsible for generating “public bads” (or “public evils”, as opposite to “public goods”) at the global and local levels. For instance, global “public bads” include globalization’s negative environmental externalities, but also the negative effects of economic and spatial interdependence that, once produced, no one can be excluded from. In the field of climate change, once again, CO2 and methane emissions could be a proxy for such “global public bads”. As a potential response to this challenge, indicators could try to capture responsible behavior and sound policies aiming at coordination and reciprocity in the production of global public goods: for example, indicators in the field of sustainable technologies, protection of carbon sinks, education and capacity-building to promote cultural changes in consumption patterns and lifestyles, ratification of international environmental agreements (as an indicator for international responsibility of nation-states), etc. The composition of the national energy matrix could yet be another indicator of how states and businesses adapt to sustainable development needs or make efforts to mitigate climate change.
Thank you all for sharing your ideas and keep safe during the pandemic! Carlos R. S. Milani, Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ), 19 April 2020.

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

Dear Professor Milani, thank you for your thoughtful contribution. Some great ideas in there. Participation and compliance in international climate agreements, volunteerism versus other mechanisms, is something we have also been working on. It is very interesting that you suggest some of the indicators based on this, such as ratification, as candidates for a sustainable HDI. That is something we should consider for sure. Thank you for being part of this conversation. We do rely on 
 continuing engagement with scholars such as yourself.

Adedeji Adeniran

Thanks to the organizers for this wonderful forum. I will like to touch on two issues relating to climate change and human development with the West African region where I came from and briefly on ways of greening the HDI. The primary environmental issue in the region has been the drying up of the Lake Chad Basin. The Basin, which is relied on for livelihood by about 30 million people, has shrunk by 90% since 1960s. Climate change among other factors plays a significant role in this deterioration. The environmental disruption has affected economic development in communities around the basin, fueling a number of conflicts like the Boko Haram insurgency and farmers-herder crisis. The recent statistics show that more than 2.5 million people have been displaced and more 11 million people living around the Lake Chad Basin require humanitarian assistance. 

The encroaching desert is another regional environmental challenge for West Africa. The Sahara Desert has been advancing southward at a 0.6 kilometre per year, turn many arable lands into the desert and shortened raining season. Again, this development has implications for food security and human development especially for vulnerable groups like women and children that bear the major brunt of the changing climatic conditions. The resulting conflicts and food security have touched every dimension of human development including education (more children are out of school and dearth of quality teachers), health (psycho-social effect of conflict) and income (loss of livelihood). 

A number of regional initiatives have been proposed to tackle these challenges, as the ramifications cut across countries. The four countries surrounding Lake Chad have established the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to coordinate activities and resources around the water. There is an ambitious plan to refill the lake through channelling water from bigger rivers in Africa, however, financial requirement and environmental issues it raises have been a major constraint. 

2. The most basic step in the process of “Greening of the HDI” is to replace per capita (as presently used for the HDI) with adjusted net national income per capita. This new indicator captures environmental degradation and other externalities from climate change. However, this is still not comprehensive enough. It will be crucial to include economic damages (output and job losses) from climate change across countries and down to the local communities, as this will draw more attention to climate change issues. Tracking government commitment and responses to climate change will also provide a way to identify regional solutions and best practices to climate change.

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

Truly the environmental challenges are daunting and unfolding at many levels - national, sub-regional, regional etc. Thank you for your input. The plan is that the report will aim to use new kinds of data - to cover some of the underlying dynamics  and 'tipping points' for ecosystems, and to get a measure of the extent of environmental damage. 

Hany Besada

I would like to congratulate the organizers and moderators of this very important and timely e-discussion. I have prepared some responses to the 5 guiding questions. I hope they are useful in spurring some useful ideas and further debate

Firstly, a side comment on the HDR 2020. It could be interesting to look at the impacts (short- and long-term impacts) of COVID-19 on human development endeavours. 

Last month, the United Nations issued a dire multiagency report warning that the world is “way off track” on its commitments to cut emissions under the Paris Agreement. Without dramatic and sustained emissions reductions, higher atmospheric and marine temperatures will bring more deadly heat waves, catastrophic storms, rising seas, food insecurity, health crises and mass displacement. 

Prior to COVID-19, 2020 was poised to be the year of the environment. The disease is a challenge for climate change action on multiple fronts. COVID-19 has already disrupted crucial negotiations ahead of a November conference in Glasgow that could determine the Paris Agreement’s success in reducing emissions. The outbreak may supplant climate concerns in the minds of the public, weakening political will at a key moment. And it may encourage burning fossil fuels in hopes of restarting the global economy.

Response to Question 1

Discussions and policy actions on development have a long tradition of not giving environmental constraints due attention. Only recently that tendency started to change with the universal adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet environmental constraints have always had and will always have significant impacts on the very concept of human development. Not only have they become an impediment to the traditional conception of progress (linear development/progress), environmental constraints are actually increasingly threatening to undo the progress that has been achieved over the years. 

Yet the issues of development and environmental sustainability need not be a question of ‘either or’, for it is perfectly possible to implement development policies that are also mindful of the impacts such policies might have on the environment. Bhattacharjee & Iftikhar (2011)’s concept of ‘greening’ human development could prove particularly insightful. For Bhattacharjee & Iftikhar (2011) and Messerli, Murniningtyas, Eloundou-Enyegue, Foli, Furman, Glassman & Richardson (2019), ‘greening’ human development should be understood as the simultaneous pursuit of enhancing human wellbeing and reducing inequalities, while also minimizing the exposure of current and future generations to significant climate and environmental catastrophes. Thus, ‘greening’ human development also means using resources in responsible and sustainable manners so as to prevent environmental and resource scarcities over the long run. 

However, this conceptual revision requires a critical re-examination of the underlining principles of human development to integrate the environmental dimension. That is, if human development is about expanding the freedoms and capabilities people have to lead lives that they value such as living a long and healthy life, acquiring knowledge, and having resources for a decent standard of living, sustainable human development calls for the recognition of environmental and ecological constraints to these human capabilities. It is a conceptual breakthrough from 'development as freedom' and 'sustainable development as freedom', as Khoday (2018) suggests. 

The paradigm shift is, therefore, to make development both people and environment-centered. As such, while income and productive employment provide primary means for having a decent standard of living, the expansion of these fundamental human needs should be in way that improves both equity and sustainability (Bhattacharjee & Iftikhar, 2011). As Khoday (2018) points out, the cumulative implications of climate and environmental constraints are threatening to derail and reverse the achievements SDGs. Unaddressed, these ecological fragilities could act as a decelerator to slow or even reverse the rate of progress on the SDGs, which would certainly erode the very fundamental freedoms and choices leading human development efforts. 

Additional Responses

1a) How Can the Human Development Approach Bring New Light to the Sustainability Debate?
The human development approach has been a powerful framework in the past for advancing the measurement of human progress (Pineda, 2012).  Human development is not merely about health and education. It is also about enhancing substantive freedoms including ‘freedom from want’ and ‘freedom from fear’. Environmental changes increase the nature of risks faced by many ordinary people. Environmental vulnerability can slow down further progress in human development and cancel out some of the recent gains. The challenge now is to continue the trajectory of progress in achieving human development without compromising on sustainability and environmental conservation goals (UNDP, 2011). 

Today, this approach can help us make more explicit the profound connections between current and future generations’ choices by offering a framework for understanding sustainability that connects inter- and intra-generational equity with global justice. Pineda, (2012) proposed a Sustainable Human Development Index which doesn’t try to add more dimensions to the Human Development Index (HDI) or to use monetary valuations to adjust one of its components (mainly income). This has important practical and conceptual limitations, however, since it does not look at the broader set of capabilities that is captured by the HDI. This approach combines a series of sustainability indicators whose implications can be interpreted separately but can also be aggregated in a way that gives a relevant perspective for a discussion on global sustainability and is more coherent with human development approach.

The Human Development Index can be linked with measures dealing both weak and strong sustainability. While weak sustainability is built on the assumption that different forms of capital are substitutable, strong sustainability rejects the notion of substitutability for certain critical forms of natural capital. Empirical results show that many of the lowest performing countries on the HDI also face problems of weak unsustainability, as measured by genuine savings. Countries with high to very high HDI performance, on the other hand, typically appear to be strongly unsustainable, as measured by ecological footprints, mostly due to unsustainably large carbon dioxide emissions. Two of the biggest challenges facing human beings this century will be to break the link between high human development and strongly unsustainable damage to natural capital on the one hand, requiring a very significant and rapid decarburization of their economies, and assisting countries with very low human development to overcome weak unsustainability by raising their investment levels into all forms (Neumayer, 2010).

The integration of the various ideological views around the enormous problems facing the planet has been linked to practical and theoretical relationships between human beings and nature, generating a strong connection between sustainable development and human development, and conferring greater prominence to the role of human beings, according to their powers, liberties and actions for achieving and maximizing their individual and collective well-being. However, strategies promoted to achieve them encourage sustainable growth path approaches; overlooking the much more important concept of distribution from the same classical economist view. At the same time, the vision of strong sustainability is framed almost to the level of a utopia and cannot be carried out because we place ourselves in an economy with budgets of unlimited growth. However, it is possible to start designing economies guided by principles derived from strong sustainability (Vásquez & Henao, 2017). 

Sustainable development has the potential to address fundamental challenges for humanity, now and into the future. However, to do this, it needs more clarity of meaning, concentrating on sustainable livelihoods and well-being rather than well-having, and long term environmental sustainability, which requires a strong basis in principles that link the social and environmental to human equity. In most of the world, the issues of sustainable development are not at the top of the world’s policy agenda. The emerging challenge is dealing with growth in inequality and consistent mounting of environmental problems (Hopwood, Mellor & O’Brien, 2005)

Mensah & Camargo (2004) identify two debatable ideologies;
1)    The earth cannot forever support the demand for oil and other resources.
2)    The earth helped by market incentives, appropriate policies, material distribution, recycling and new technology can satisfy the world’s needs indefinitely.

This implies that the community has to be a driving force for sustainable quality of life now and for future generations. Sustainability is dynamic, so decision makers need to be willing to modify their approaches to changes in human needs, desires, and technology. Costantini & Monni S. (2008) proposed measuring the sustainability of human development by integrating the Environmental Kuznets Curve with the Resource Curse Hypothesis. Hence the human development paradigm and the role of institutions are used as the main linkages between the two apparently de-linked approaches.

1b) Are Dominant Sustainability Debates Focusing Narrowly Only on Income Growth Versus Sustainability?

Hopwood, Mellor & O’Brien, 2005 argue that the sustainability debate has been narrowly limited to a few areas of sustainable development. They note that challenges at the core of sustainable development namely; the environment and equity, are not adequately addressed. Thus, the emerging challenge is dealing with growth in inequality and consistent mounting of environmental problems. Hedlund-de Witt (2014) adds that sustainable development does not articulate what needs to be sustained, developed, or how, and is consequently intersubjective and intercultural. It is essential to consider different worldviews when discussing sustainable development. This reflexivity is highly relevant in terms of environmental policy-making in the broadest sense, as notions of development and quality of life will inform which solutions to sustainability-issues are proposed as well as how sustainability-policies and initiatives are shaped, implemented, and communicated. Green Jobs Initiative (2012) added the concern for decent work and social inclusion in a green economy.

1c) In the Paradigms of Green Growth, and De-Growth, Is There Recognition of the Need for People-Centered Policies?

The concepts of ‘Green Growth’ and ‘Degrowth’ occupy central positions in the public debate on the relationship between economic growth and the environment. While proponents of the former approach claim that environmental measures can promote growth by more efficient use of natural resources, proponents of the latter maintain that environmental integrity can only be upheld by slowing down growth (Jakob & Edenhofer, 2013). In the context of a greener economy, Green Jobs Initiative (2012) notes the importance of transformation among a number of key sectors. The eight key sectors will undergo major changes: agriculture, forestry, fishing, energy, resource-intensive manufacturing, recycling, buildings and transport. A greener economy can be mutually reinforcing, with good labor market and social development outcomes, but this is not automatic. It will hinge on the right people-centered policies and on institutions capable of implementing them. Some of the policies suggested include the introduction of environmental tax reform, in particular an eco-tax, which shifts the burden to resource use and pollution and away from labor and promoting investments in a greener economy. These provide targeted support to enterprises, notably SMEs, and improvement of employment and social outcomes.

In view of Green growth, and (UNDP 2012) proposed to ensure that sustainable development debates and practices clearly reflect a gender analysis and gender equality considerations. As such, it is critical to ensure women’s full participation in social, economic and political life, and to improve the design and implementation of sustainable development policies and programmes. In doing so, it is critically important to enhance partnerships among government institutions, gender-specific ministries, organizations and agencies, and gender experts in order to promote gender mainstreaming in developing and implementing environmental and sustainable development policies, programmes and projects (UNDP 2012). UNESCO (2011) proposed policies on culture, mobilizing science for green transformations, education and information as accelerators to green societies.

However, Jakob & Edenhofer (2013) observe that both approaches constitute inadequate foundations for public policy as they fail to appropriately conceptualize social welfare. They both fail to make explicit which objectives are ultimately to be achieved, it remains unclear whether these objectives are better served by promoting or curtailing economic growth. That is, by focusing on economic growth instead of welfare both concepts ultimately confuse means and ends. Jakob & Edenhofer (2013) suggested that the discourse on economic growth and the environment should be firmly based on the concept of social welfare instead of economic growth. They propose a program of ‘welfare diagnostics’, which aims at establishing minimum thresholds for capital stocks essential to welfare as a guide for real-world policy formulation. Appropriation of natural resource rents can be made for its practical implementation. 

A policy aimed at social welfare can be understood as managing a portfolio of capital stocks, some of which exhibit the characteristics of ‘commons’ (i.e. common pool resources and public goods).  The ‘welfare diagnostics’ approach takes into account the broad spectrum of normative positions and the multi-dimensional nature social welfare, in order to correct the most serious constraints to human wellbeing. As such, welfare diagnostics would be used to address over-use of natural capital as well as under-provision of public goods (such as public infrastructure). Jakob & Edenhofer (2013) argue that appropriating natural resource rents to finance public investment creates a close relationship between managing natural capital and investing in public infrastructure. Successfully carrying out welfare diagnostics in practice would arguably to a large degree depend on public deliberation, as it requires an assessment of what a society values, and in particular what can be understood as ‘basic needs’ and ‘minimal thresholds’.

There is a scope for studying their institutional dynamics, as well as for understanding how core institutions of the market economy pose obstacles to the emergence of such alternatives. Van den Bergh & Kallis (2012) suggest a need to apply insights of institutional economics on the ways institutions work, change, and become locked-in along path-dependent trajectories to the history of GDP growth as a policy goal, in economics, politics, and society at large, as well as to the evolution of alternative economic practices. The debate about the merits and the feasibility of alternatives to GDP and the growth paradigm, and the actual design of such alternatives, might benefit a lot from the insights and approaches of institutional economics.

Responses to Question 2

If for any issue good policy response starts with good understanding and accurate measurements, ‘greening’ human development requires even more innovative approaches and robust methodologies (Messerli, Murniningtyas, Eloundou-Enyegue, Foli, Furman, Glassman & Richardson, 2019). A way forward will be to allow human development theories to evolve by integrating the environmental and ecological dimensions to the concept of development and progress. Under this framework, the concept of human capability, therefore, needs to be connected with the capability of the planet’s ecosystems to support development, recognizing of both human and ecosystems agencies in development discussions and policies (Khoday, 2018). 

Greening human development might not necessarily require dramatic changes to the HDI, the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI) and the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) (see Klasen, 2018 a full analysis of these indices). However, as a way of ‘greening’ HDI, for instance, it would be commendable to isolate and gauge the impact of each of the indices comprising the current HDI on environmental and ecological sustainability. Above all, however, a new and broader approach to greening human development could generate. In line with Klasen (2018), there might be some need to propose some changes, but also encourage two new measures to track sustainability and commitment to sustainable development. While the former captures the use and preservation of the ecosystems and the economy’s resource to not only meet current but also future human needs, the latter would measure the contribution countries are making to further global sustainable development (Klasen, 2018). Also, while global coordination and constant collaboration are critical, applying the subsidiarity principle to these endeavours would not only facilitate contextual adaptation in each region and locality but also facilitate monitoring and data collection. 

Additional Responses

2a) What Methodologies Can be Used to Facilitate the “Greening of the HDI”?

Greening’ human development is defined as the simultaneous pursuit of enhancing human well-being and reducing inequalities and minimizing the exposure of current and future generations to significant climate and environmental risks or environmental scarcities over the long run. Desai (1995), developed an ‘index of intensity of environmental exploitation’. It ranks countries similar to the HDI methodology according to a composite index comprising greenhouse gas emissions per capita, water withdrawal as per cent of annual internal renewable water resources and energy consumption per unit of GNP. However, Desai does not integrate this index into the HDI itself.

José P. (2012) also suggested a sustainability adjusted HDI (SHDI) which incorporates environmental and resource-consumption dimensions. It extends HDI to take sustainability and environmental aspects into account. Constantini (2005) proposes to calculate a composite Sustainable Human Development Index as the simple average of the four development components: education attainment, social stability, sustainable access to resources (Green Net National Product), and environmental quality.

Other efforts include Dewan (2009) Sustainable Human Development (SHD) – in which the developmental goal is to achieve higher human development for the maximum number of people in present and future generations. Dahme et al. (1998)’s Sustainable Human Development Index -an extension for the HDI which is produced by using total material requirement- sums all material inputs (abiotic raw materials, biotic raw materials, moved soils, water and air) required to produce a country’s national output. Ramathan (1999)’s Environment Sensitive HDI -a product of HDI and Environment Endangerment Index (EEI)- is computed with data on deforestation, number of rare, endangered or threatened species, a greenhouse gas emissions index and a chlorofluorocarbon emissions index.

A fuller picture of human development may require not only going beyond GDP but also adjusting the current HDI and the family of human development indices. The family of indices produced by the HDRO provides information on three different but interrelated aspects of human development: the average condition of people; levels of inequality (including gender issues); and levels of absolute deprivation. However, they do not take into account issues of unsustainable production and consumption patterns, among other factors that are important for enhancing human development.

2b) What Are the Main Indicators, and How Will They be Selected? 

Bhattacharjee and Iftikhar (2010) suggest that the essential conditions for equitable and sustainable progress on human development include those in table 1 and Table 2:

Table 1: Selection of Indicators for HDI
Dimension    Ideal and Available indicator(s)    Methodological choices, strengths and weaknesses
Status Indicators        
Long and Healthy life    Life expectancy at birth    Standard HDI indicator
Knowledge    Mean Years of Schooling
Expected Years of Schooling    Standard HDI indicator
A Decent Standard of Living    GNI per capita (USD PPP)    Standard HDI indicator
Clean and Balanced
Environment        
Water    Ideal: Quality of water/ Sustainability of water resource use
Available: Water pollution: Access to improved water source    •    Water pollution data are available in a number of observation points, which does not provide overall picture of water pollution in country.
•    Access to improved water source is a good proxy, as it shows access of population to reliable and safe source of water.
•    Cross-border consequences should be carefully considered, as countries could share same pool of water and nationally sustainable water withdrawal could be regionally non-sustainable.
Air    Ideal: Quality of air/Purification of air emissions
Available: Not available    •    Best available data, which, however, could miss a lot of other components of air pollution. In addition, it averages exposure over the year and do not capture peaks in pollution. It should be treated with caution, as in some cases pollution could be caused by nearby countries.
•    Data is not available for many countries on regular basis.
Soil    Ideal: Share of degraded soils
Available: Not available    Share of degraded soils indicator is not available in most countries on regular basis.
Forest    Ideal and available: Loss of forestation relative to base year: Forest area, % relative to reference year 
    Biodiversity data are scattered and limited.
Biodiversity    Ideal: Loss of biodiversity
Ideal: Measures to protect biodiversity

Available: Data Not available    •    Biodiversity data are scattered and highly country specific – some countries have initially large biodiversity, some have small. 
•    Index and similar indicators do not provide basis for quantitative comparability.
Habitat    Ideal: Quality of habitat
Available: Share of population covered by waste collection and processing: Access to improved sanitation facilities
Ideal: Share of waste processed or recycled
Available: Share of renewable and sustainable
energy    •    Best available data. Waste management data are available for some countries, but not available for other countries. 
•    Access to improved sanitation facilities is a good proxy for ability to keep habitat clean and balanced

Source: Ivanov & Peleah (2017).

Table 2. Ideal Environmental Indicators
Area    Environmental Status Indicator    Environmental Sustainability Indicator
Water    Water pollution     Sustainability of water resource use
Air     Air pollution    Purification of air emissions
Soil     Share of degraded soils    Rate of soil degradation
Forest     Loss of forestation relative to base year    Rate of forestation loss relative to base year
Biodiversity     Loss of biodiversity relative to base year    Measures to protect biodiversity
Habitat     Share of population covered by waste collection and processing    Share of waste processed or recycled
Source: Ivanov & Peleah (2017).

2c) What are the Practical Challenges in Applying This Methodology to the Country Level? 

The challenges Sustainable Human Development Index faces are related both to the selection of indicators and to the way the concept of sustainable development is applied. Apart from preserving the environment, ‘sustainability’ also entails both economic and social aspects: the ability to sustain an achieved level of wellbeing over time without depleting the available stocks of natural, human-made and social capital). This is the logic behind the Brundt land Commission’s original definition of sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. However, it is not easy to define what is to be sustained today and what needs are to be met in the future (Ivanov & Peleah, 2017).

Ivanov & Peleah (2017) have suggested some of the challenges in the table 1 and 2. They point to non-availability of data and consequences of sharing resources between countries for example water, air. Some of the effects of these may be from neighbouring country activities. So, there are fundamental challenges in measuring and monitoring the Sustainable Human Development.  For instance; while today  genetic engineering is seen as an integral part of humanity’s response package to the challenges of climate change and growing populations,  it’s not clear what progress in would lead to in the future.

2d) What are Some Effective Methods to Advocate for Data Collection on These Indicators, at the Country Level?

Neumayer E. (2012) proposed using panel data from the World Bank. However, the coverage of countries in the World Bank database has to be extended and needs to be matched with the HDI database so as to include all countries that are covered by the HDI. A lot of work still needs to be done especially with regard to improving the data base and the coverage of resources and pollutants. Sustainable HDI relies on national statistical data collection systems. This inevitably leads to a discovery of major data gaps and data quality issues. For example, learning from Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), which is the principal data collecting, processing, analyzing and disseminating agency responsible for coordinating and supervising the National Statistical System in Uganda; UBOS collects data using questionnaire in national household surveys.

Response to Question 3

Environmental degradation, climate change, deforestation, ecological haphazard, eroding biodiversity, land, and food security, etc. are some of the daunting issues the Global South faces and that directly and indirectly impact their already fragility human development efforts. Unfortunately, many countries in the South lack the sufficient capabilities to successfully deal with these issues. Daily survival is usually the driving objective, and this means the need to secure a prosperous, peaceful and livable planet through a harness sustainable economic growth and development to social solidarity across and between generations are luxuries they are unable to afford. Southern countries are hit hardest, yet they are also the least equipped to cope with environmental and ecological ‘revenge’. 

The Sahel Region of Africa is a palpable and depressing example. The region is engulfed by surging violence, and there is little doubt that climate change, food insecurity, extremists, state fragility, etc. are largely to blame (Muggah and Cabrera, 2019), as they make an explosive mix in the Sahel with devastatingly far-reaching consequences for the whole region and the wider continent due to spill-overs in violence, migration, crime, instability, and so on. 

In addition to the billions of desert locusts in East Africa that are swarming at unprecedented numbers and posing an immense threat to the region's food security (Colarossi, 2020) and the now chronic occurrence of floods/droughts throughout the African continent, the seemingly intractable dispute between Ethiopia and Egypt over the Nile River is directly linked to environmental and ecological fragilities. At the heart of the dispute is Ethiopia’s desire to construct the Grand Renaissance Dam to produce energy and help lift millions of its population out of extreme poverty and famine, while Egypt fears that the Dam would disrupt water flows and potentially cause drought downstream—and the ‘death’ of Egypt along with it. 

Additional Responses

3.    In Different Regions of the Developing South, what are the Regional, Sub-Regional and Country Level Environmental Issues that Impact Human Development?

Asia, the Pacific, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa are experiencing the urgency of addressing the many comingled economic, social and environmental issues standing in the way of sustainable development, the greening of economies and improvements in human well-being, quality of life and happiness. There are a range of issues related to environmental governance issues, such as ecosystem conservation and environmental protection (Urama, Ozor & Acheampong (2014). Asia-Pacific region comprised of 40 countries have three major environmental issues; water and marine pollution; air pollution and climate change; and deforestation. As a result, there is now a multitude of cooperative environmental programmes and action plans in the Asia-Pacific region. Yet, the effectiveness of such cooperative efforts remains uncertain, and the outlook for accomplishing their tasks is unclear in many cases. (Huggins, Chenje & Mohamed-Katerere, 2018).

On the hand, Africa has challenges of mobilizing political and technical support to address diverse environmental issues, such as land degradation and desertification, chemicals management, access to safe water and sanitation, and integrated water resource management (IWRM). Other critical environmental issues are energy use, the phase-out of lead fuel, and chemicals. In Africa, land issues may also be “embedded” within other environment struggles, including those related to control over mining rights, protected areas, or hunting concessions. In several countries, control over natural resources defines the opportunities individuals and communities have. Conflict may be manifested at many levels, including over the individualization of rights previously held communally, which results in the loss of access, and opportunity, for some. Water and waste management issues; Deforestation is also a cause of conflict. Whereas much attention is paid to demographic issues related to high population growth rates and overcrowding in Africa, many in the Global South feel that such issues do not represent their key concerns, and that the “environmental security concept was “a rich country agenda serving rich-country interests of access and control (Urama, Ozor & Acheampong, 2014).

Griesel H. (2017) observes that global environmental change encompasses the interlinked issues of social, economic, political and technological change their consequences for the land surface and its water systems, the oceans, and the atmosphere; the resultant changes in the climate; and the impact of all the above on plant and animal biodiversity and human well-being. Africa is particularly vulnerable to global environmental change (GEC), partly due to its location, and also because of its limited adaptive capacity (Boko, et. al, 2007). 

The continent has significant capacity to conduct environmental change research but is not reaching its full and necessary potential in this arena. The following areas are of significant challenge in Africa; (a) Land degradation, biodiversity loss, and human well-being; (b) The impact of climate on rainfall water resources; (c) Air pollution and the impact on health in urban areas. Mueller (2008) gives an example of Ethiopia like most countries in the Global South with challenges of access to bioenergy, sustainable livelihoods and rural poor.  He presents the challenges regarding increasing populations and increasing scarcity of food, natural resources and energy, and biofuels and poor people’s access to land.

Response to Question 4

The African block of the Global South established the continental African Union’s Agenda 2063 of ‘The Africa We Want’, aligning itself with and adapting the SDGs to its contextual realities at the regional, national, and locality levels. The Agenda aims to address key systemic barriers to sustainable development, including inequalities and exclusions, unsustainable production and consumption patterns, weak institutional capacities, climate change, environmental degradation, etc. (Africa and UNDP, 2017). In that regard, the African Union’s Agenda 2063, Africa’s own development agenda, provides the regional context to the SDGs. The Agenda-SDGs framework ensures close alignment with regional priorities, on the one hand, and the global development framework on the other. For instance, in the African context, the 2063 Agenda proposes a considerable transformation across all three dimensions of sustainability (the governance, peace and security pillars) as important and enabling dimensions articulated in the continental framework’s seven aspirations the continent is pushing to realize by 2063. 

The driving aim for linking (AU, 2020) Agenda 2063 and the SDGs is the overarching goal of promoting inclusive development and green growth in Africa; that is, achieving twin objectives of inclusive growth and transitioning to green growth (Africa and UNDP, 2017). It also addresses the three interconnected elements of sustainable development, namely economic and social developments and environmental sustainability. As a product of the African Union, Agenda 2063 calls for pan-Africanism and Africa’s resilience through cultural renaissance and cultural expression. A lesson to learn from this is that SDGs must be contextualized and localized (adapted to local realities) to avoid the pitfalls of one-size-fits-all, generally characterizing international development efforts. 

Additional Responses

4a)  What Initiatives are Being Implemented to Mitigate and Adapt to These Harms? 
I)    Implementation of the Science Plan

There are several global programs and initiatives involving a conglomerate of institutions, scientific organization, funding agencies, and other actors engaged in the science of global environmental (including climate) change.

The implementation of this Science Plan is therefore not expected to happen in isolation. It is envisaged to tap into and complement these initiatives with a special focus on the Future Earth initiative. For this Science Plan to be realised, significant financial support is required and, importantly, which should be supported with commensurate coordination and focus. The Plan is scheduled to be implemented in two principal ways: 1) International networks for conceptual and methodological research on environmental change, that would include ecological systems, vulnerability analysis, scenario construction and decision support; and 2) Regional projects for research on a range of global environmental change issues (Griesel, 2017).

ii) National Governments Across East Africa Are in the Process of Formulating and Implementing Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies: to assist farmers cope with climate change. These include formulating actions, frameworks and programs to address climate change and embedding these within the long-term national development plans. In the majority of countries, the Ministry of Agriculture is the focal point for all climate change initiatives related to agriculture. Agricultural Sector Development Plans that provide strategies to boost agricultural productivity and spur economic growth have been prepared either as standalone plans or as part of National Development Plans (NDP). Irrigation, capacity building, enhancing private-public partnership for market development, and creating legal and regulatory environment that can attract investments are some of the priority areas identified for attention in agriculture to enhance climate resilience. All countries have submitted draft National Adaptation Plan of Actions (NAPAs) and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), indicating priority interventions. Government research institutions are equally actively involved.

iii) Mainstreaming of Climate Change and Adaptation in Development Plans and Programs.
These involve individual and local strategies; investments with a long lifetime (e.g., in infrastructure, irrigation systems, water systems, and energy conversion). This is given special attention in climate-proofing efforts, because large investments are at stake and climate change is expected to develop further over their lifetimes. Flexibility in choice of seed and farming location if droughts (or floods) become more frequent.

iv) Science-Based UNESCO Climate Change Adaptation Forum
The objective of the Forum was to inform public and private sector stakeholders (national policy-makers, vulnerable communities and women, the local media, social, cultural and scientific networks and local, regional and international scientific organizations) in agriculture, fisheries (including aquaculture), forestry, alternative energy, fresh water, oceanography, environmental sciences, and coastal services of the longer-term climate projections and their potential impacts, as well as strengthen capacity for appropriate response strategies.

v) Climate Centre and Network.
The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) promotes the development and transfer of environmentally friendly technologies for energy-efficient, low-carbon and climate-resilient development. The CTCN matches developing country needs for technology equipment, techniques, practical knowledge and skills with the world-class expertise of its global network of over 500 academic, civil society, finance, private sector and research institutions to deliver tailored technical assistance, capacity building, and knowledge sharing. The CTCN is delivering technology assistance in 93 countries on a broad range of sectors, including agriculture, energy, industry, transport, water and waste management. The CTCN is the implementation arm of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Technology Mechanism and is co-hosted by the UN Environment Programme and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

4b) How do These Efforts Tie in With the Achievement of SDGs? 

Research, capacity building, formulating and implementing adaptation and mitigation plans and strategies by governments,  technological advance and transfer support the achievement of SDGs. Climate technology and innovation play an important role in accelerating climate action and sustainable development. Technology is already changing the foundation on which to build healthy societies – from cheaper, cleaner energy to sustainable transportation to smart agriculture. It helps people adapt to impacts that are almost certain to appear due to the emissions already released into the climate system. Technological progress assists in addressing big global challenges such as creating jobs and becoming more energy efficient.

The target to achieve sustainable water, energy and food security and these are recognized as SDGs in their own right. Yet the fact that progress towards most of the SDGs is directly related to the sustainable use of resources such as land, food, water and energy has not been given adequate consideration in SDGs implementation.

4c) What are the Main Trade-offs and the Main Synergies with SDGs?

Synergy is interaction among two or more actions, which will lead to an impact greater or less than the sum of individual effects. Therefore, synergy can be positive or negative (trade-off). Regarding synergy, ending poverty can only be achieved if progress on the targets associated with access to clean energy (SDG7), access to clean water and sanitation (SDG6) and food security and nutrition (SDG2) are achieved.  Access to modern and sustainable energy and increased energy efficiency are fundamental for eliminating poverty (ICSU/ISSC, 2015). 
Meeting the target of ensuring universal access to nutritious and sufficient food and increasing agriculture productivity could increase energy demand along the food supply chain, and this could stress the energy system. Agriculture residues and animal dung can be used for energy production, viz. biogas, which can help in promoting renewable energy and increasing the energy efficiency of traditional biomass utilization (Mainali et al., 2018).
On the other hand, climate change education in the overall context of education for sustainable development can be useful to:
•    Strengthen the capacity of Member States to provide quality climate change education for sustainable development at primary and secondary school levels.
•    Encourage and enhance innovative teaching approaches to integrate quality climate change education for sustainable development in schools.
•    Raise awareness about climate change and enhance non-formal education programmes through media, networking and partnerships.
•    
The Advanced Sustainability Analysis (ASA) developed under the European framework programme has been used for quantifying the synergies and trade-offs among sustainability indicators. The analysis showed strong synergy among various SDG targets. Interestingly, the potential synergy differs from country to country and over time. Ghana and Sri Lanka had relatively higher potential synergy, whereas Rwanda and Nepal had relatively lower potential synergy among the various targets. Higher synergy values were evidenced in those cases where the policy have recognized and emphasized on linkages among cross-sectoral targets.  Lack of proper understanding and accounting of trade-offs and synergies across different sectors has resulted in (i) incoherent policies; (ii) adverse impacts of development policies of one specific sector on the other; (iii) loss of opportunity for positive synergy effects; and (iv) delayed outcomes leading to sustainable development (Mainali et al., 2018). 

Some of the trade- offs include giving priority to fund climate change research and technology instead of funding other development projects like infrastructure. The challenge is to allocate the total permissible “budget” over the next 100 years in such a way as to cause minimum ecological disruption and ensure sustainable development. This necessitates working together, sharing of budgets to put up big projects. There is need to provide land for placement of climate-smart technology other than farming. 

4d)  What are the Lessons Learnt?

Initiatives aiming at pursuing sustainable development and achieving environmental justice in regions of developing economies demands government activity to propel social change and redistribution of goods and harms, as well as inducing responsibilities and care for nature and human beings, fixing limits on social behaviours, and leaving rooms for pluralism in which individuals and communities would possibly defining their own projects of life, ideas of happiness and welfare (Xiaohui et al., 2019)

The effectiveness of these initiatives is hampered by lack of a clearly defined strategy and national policy. In addition, there is lack of documentation of completed and on-going projects thus making it difficult to coordinate initiatives and avoid duplications. There is need for documentation of the current and planned initiatives to facilitate coordination, avoid duplication, and inform future projects and sharing of lessons (both successes and failures) (Nyasimi, Radeny, Kinyangi, 2013). There is need for wide dissemination of best practices, lessons learned from local, country, regional and global cases; for up scaling opportunities. Developing research and administrative capacity to increase climate change preparedness could have positive impacts on environmental management in general and might increase income from Clean Development Mechanism projects. (Mertz et.al., 2009)

Technological advance will depend on individual initiatives and competition, but important aspects require global coordination to pool risks and rewards, exploit economies of scale, and avoid duplication. Early action to develop and deploy technologies can enhance the gains from learning and experience, thereby promoting cost reductions through induced innovation. In addition to progressively tougher targets and a global cap & trade regime, any global policy framework should also aim to expand the market for low-carbon technology. Integrated standards and coordinated public procurement policies could play an important role (Mueller, 2008).

Lessons demonstrate the need for collaborative approaches that take account of all interests including those of states and communities. The balanced integration of the sustainable development dimensions should be the basis of future development strategies — strategies that foster an allocation of resources and investments that maximizes synergies and minimizes trade-offs among the objectives of economic growth, inclusive social progress and environmental protection for all stakeholders of society, current and future. A development trajectory that continues to allow trade-offs between the objectives of social progress, economic growth and environmental protection is  increasingly inappropriate to a context in which challenges are interrelated and their solutions interdependent. 

A critical challenge for the countries of Asia and the Pacific is how to pursue a more integrated approach to development; one in which there is “dignity for all, leaving no one behind” with the full realization of human rights, equality, social justice and protection of the natural environment. The Advanced Sustainability Analysis framework is helpful in the quantitative evaluation of synergies and/or trade-offs among various targets, which is also useful in the strategic Nexus analyses. These evaluations could help to analyze if applied sectoral and cross-sectoral policies result in synergetic development of the different sustainability goals. The lessons learnt can be reflected in the policy improvements and coherency (Mainali, et al., 2018).

Response to Question 5

While China has been at full force driving concepts such as ‘Chinese Dream’, ‘Community of Shared Future’, and the BRI (EBRD, 2020) under the framework of ‘Ecological Civilization’, many African countries have adopted national and local levels initiatives under the continental banner of Agenda 2063. Some of the leading initiatives and blueprints include Kenya’s ‘Vision 2030’ (GoK, 2020), Rwanda’s ‘Vision 2050’ (Gatete, 2016), Uganda’s ‘Vision 2040’ (GoU, 2020), South Africa’s ‘National Development Plan 2030’ (GoSA, 2020), etc. More specifically, the Kenya Vision 2030 is a long-term development blueprint for the country and is motivated by a collective aspiration for a better society by the year 2030. It aims to create “a globally competitive and prosperous country with a high quality of life by 2030”, and transform Kenya into “a newly-industrializing, middle income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens in a clean and secure environment" (GoK, 2020). One important element about the Vision is that it is a product of a highly participatory, consultative, and inclusive process. 

Similarly, the Rwanda ‘Vision 2050’ is about ensuring high standards of living for all Rwandans. Some of its main areas of focus are ‘quality of life’ (sustained food security and nutrition, universal, sustainable and reliable access to water and sanitation, environmentally friendly and climate resilient surroundings, etc.); ‘modern infrastructure and livelihoods’; and ‘transformation for prosperity’ (increased productivity and competitiveness while providing jobs for Rwandans). 

Meanwhile, the Uganda ‘Vision 2040’ provides development paths and strategies to transform Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country by 2040. It aims at transforming Uganda from a predominantly peasant and low-income country to a competitive upper middle income country. As for South Africa’s ‘National Development Plan 2030’, it offers a long-term perspective, defines a desired destination, and identifies the role different sectors of the society need to play in reaching those goals.  The NDP aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030 through sustainable and inclusive development. But to realize these goals, the country will need to draw on the energies of its people, grow an inclusive and sustainable economy, build capabilities, enhance the capacity of the state, and promote leadership and partnerships throughout society. 

Additional Responses

5a) How are Different Countries Leading on Mitigation Policies, Norm Setting and Paradigm Shifting? 

China’s potential role in climate change mitigation is critical. Since 2008, the Chinese government has switched to a proactive stance on climate governance and low-carbon development. Due to significant improvements in CO2 efficiency and a clear slow-down in the rise of its annual total CO2 emissions, China is increasingly perceived as a new low-carbon champion and appears to be in a position to take over global climate mitigation leadership. China’s state-led non-participatory policies has provided a solution to the global climate problems (Engels, 2018).

With respect to Mongolia, the GCF Country Programme was elaborated as part of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) funded - Mongolian Readiness and Preparatory Support Program entitled “Strengthening the country coordination and National Designated Authority (NDA)/ National Focal Point (NFP) of Mongolia for efficient engagement with the GCF”. This was implemented by the Environment and Climate Fund (ECF) of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) of Mongolia. The country program aims to establish a Strategic Framework with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to realize a paradigm shift in achieving low-emission and climate-resilient development and identifies and proposes short-term and long-term projects/programmes and investment priorities within the current strategic framework.

Priority areas for mitigation are mainly the energy and agriculture sectors. Within these sectors, there is an especially large need for technology assessments within the context of economic feasibility and paradigm shift. Paradigm shift involves the contribution to sustainable climate-resilient development; the degree of knowledge exchange and learning; the extent to which enabling environment is created or enhanced; and the extent to which regulatory frameworks and policies are strengthened (GCF, 2019).

As for Gabon, the country submitted its Intended nationally determined contributions (INDC) as early as April 1, 2014, a remarkable move in that only five parties had submitted their contribution by then. With 88 percent of its territory covered by forests, Gabon represents a significant potential for mitigation. According to its INDC, the country intends to reduce its cumulative emissions by 65 percent in the period from 2010 to 2025. This goal requires not only developing renewable energies but also policies and tools for sustainable land use management. Importantly, Gabon, an oil producer, will have to forego important revenues from exports and invest in equipment to reduce gas flaring. These intentions are all the more ambitious in that they do not take into consideration absorption of carbon dioxide by its forests, which is actually estimated at four times the level of the country’s emissions. While results-based payment schemes for the conservation of forests could have compensated for this opportunity cost, the INDC clearly affirms that the country will not base its development strategy on rents but rather on the climate-friendly management of its lands and forests (Nakoulima, 2015).

The case of Ethiopia is another example of tone setting. Though a least-developed country with the ambition of becoming a middle-income country by 2025, in its INDC, Ethiopia sets out to reduce annual emissions by 64 percent in 2030. Beyond this target, Ethiopia has made significant progress mainstreaming climate change consideration into its economy. For example, the government prepared a climate resilient and green economy strategy integrated into its Second Growth and Transformation Plan. (Nakoulima, 2015).

Progress in integrating adaptation into development policies, programmes and activities has been positive, particularly regarding establishing new institutional arrangements and national regulatory frameworks to lead and direct government efforts on National Adaptation Plans (NAPs); including adaptation responsibilities in existing government institutional arrangements; considering climate change adaptation in government and sectoral development plans; and establishing national trust funds for climate change (FCCC, 2019).

5b) What are Some National and Regional Perspectives Being Brought to Global Negotiations and Processes on Climate Change and Sustainability?

Climate finance has become an important agenda for discussion in the Conference of Parties (COP) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process. Nepal supports the arguments presented by the Southern countries in the international lobbying and negotiating tables. Through Mountain Initiative or submission to Rio+20, or attempts to influence the UNFCCC process, Nepal has always defended the right of (Least) developing countries to get support from Northern countries for climate finance, capacity development, and technology transfer (Nepal, 2012).

African consists of 53 members to the UNFCCC. They have various common concerns, including the lack of resources and vulnerability to extreme weather. The group often makes common statements on various issues, such as capacity-building and technology transfer. Meanwhile, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) is an alliance of 43 small island states and low-lying coastal countries that share similar development challenges and environmental concerns, especially their vulnerability to the adverse effects of global climate change. This group was established in November 1990 during the Second World Climate Conference. The AOSIS countries, united by the threat that climate change poses to their survival, frequently adopt a common stance in negotiations. They were the first to propose a draft text, during the Kyoto Protocol negotiations, calling for cuts in carbon dioxide emissions of 20 per cent from 1990 levels by 2005 (UNFCCC, 2006).

There is need for uniform carbon pricing across countries, for verification, and for a governance process to which countries would commit. Each country would enjoy subsidiarity in its allocation of efforts within the country. An enforcement scheme is suggested based on financial and trade penalties to induce all countries to participate and comply with the agreement. There is need to agree on a single-carbon-price principle and on the measurement infrastructure so to allow for an independent monitoring of countries’ overall pollution. Agreement is also necessary on a governance and enforcement mechanism (there is a proposal that non-participating countries be imposed penalties through punitive border taxes administered by the WTO and that participating countries recognize a “climate debt” accounting for the uncovered emissions of the non-abiding countries and administered by the IMF) (Golliera & Tirole, 2015).

International negotiations under the UNFCC aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. The debate on multilateral action on climate change between Northern and Southern countries has been sharply polarized for a long-time. India has been in the eye of this storm since 1980s when this debate started. This is because India forcefully, and rightfully, made development and poverty eradication key issues within the climate change negotiation. India has refused to conform to the argument of Northern countries that the concern for the planet’s present climate must supersede the historical guilt of the formers as the major polluters or that the Southern countries should adjust their growth prospect in consideration of climate change mitigation.

International efforts are needed for policy negotiations on how to integrate gender in the climate change mechanisms. International treaties such as the UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, CDM and Marakesh Accords have impact on women. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also has a role in assessing latest scientific, technical and socio-economic literature produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of the risk of human induced climate change and its observed and projected impacts and options for women (Narain et.al, 2009).

With respect to Pacific Island state of Vanuatu, this island state’s perspective is that climate-vulnerable states can effectively use the law to force action in order to address loss and damage from climate change. The issue of compensation for climate loss and damage is best addressed at the multilateral level. Action against states under international law, and action against fossil fuel companies under domestic law inspires more far-reaching action to address loss and damage from climate change. This calls for a climate damages tax (CDT) on fossil fuel companies seems a particularly promising option for mobilizing loss and damage finance. Such a CDT could be one revenue stream for a relevant loss and damage facility. This perspective equally aims at Legal action, including cases against foreign states or fossil fuel companies  could bolster the position of climate-vulnerable states in multilateral negotiations on loss and damage finance (Wewerinke-Singh & Salili, 2019).

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Dr. Christina Lengfelder Moderator

Thanks so much for your input Hany! Much of this will be very useful as we are working on background research around the global South's role as a social norms leader on sustainability.

Moritz Weigel

What methodologies can be used to facilitate the “Greening of the HDI”? 

The term "greening" has many interpretations, but mostly it refers to reducing the environmental footprint of economic activities. The HDI may not only need a "greening", but also an adjustment that reflects today's reality of human development in times of an unfolding climate crisis. The revised HDI should therefore include indicators on resilience and environmental conservation. 

The HDI was developed by economists from the Global South. A revision of the HDI should also draw on Southern insights. For example, the Kingdom of Bhutan's Gross National Happiness index prominently includes indicators on sustainable and equitable socio-economic development, environmental conservation, and ecological diversity and resilience among others. This index has inspired the development of the World Happiness Report, published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network since 2012. A revision of the HDI should further consider the people-centered approach that the Gross National Happiness index and World Happiness Report are taking by including peoples' ratings of their own life, e.g. through the use of data collected through the Gallup World Poll. 

If only minor adjustments to the HDI are sought, a qualitative aspect on education could be included. Instead of only focussing on expected years of schooling/mean years of schooling, a revised index could look at whether/to what extent education for sustainable development is part of the national curriculum. Many countries from the Global South have been undertaking tremendous efforts in this area throughout the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) and the subsequent Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development (2015-2019). Possible indicators on education for sustainable development, including on education for resilience and environmental conservation, could be drawn from UNESCO's leading work in this area.

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

Great inputs! Was not aware of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and the Global Action Programme etc. The Report is looking at links between sustainability and education (for sustainable development). Will look into all of these suggestions. We hope you don't mind if we reach out for more information eventually. Thank you so much.

Moritz Weigel

[~360] I will be glad to provide further information as needed. 

Shams Banihani

Contributions received by Prof. Mustafizur Rahman, Center of Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh (https://www.ssc-globalthinkers.org/user/156648/stream)


In the discourse on greening of HDI there is sometimes a temptation to consider the concept as combining one set of issues that is short term in nature (enhancing income, reducing inequalities, expanding economic well-being and opportunities) with another set of issues that is medium to long term in nature (mitigating adverse climate change impacts, environment- friendly policies, sustainable development praxis). I would like to argue that as we enter the new, third decade in the 21st century, and as we continue implementing the SDGs over the second one-third period, these two strands are getting entwined and interdependent, and instead of phasing and sequencing, we need to think of how best to draw the synergies between the two sets of issues. May I also emphasise, that these should be looked as also mutually reinforcing.

The argument here is that the emerging scenario of developmental praxis is adding an urgency to deal with human development issues by taking care of issues of ecology and climate change in tandem and in conjunction. Because climate change impacts are no longer a matter of future. It is here end now. We are seeing it everywhere and they are adversely impacting on our lives, livelihoods and on work and incomes of common people- rising air pollution means people are suffering more from diseases that compel them to spend more on out of pocket expenditure on health and forego work that reduce their income, in developing countries, because public health services in developing countries are so weak; environment-impacted dying rivers mean livelihood opportunities of common fisherfolks are getting narrowed; deforestation means shrinking the opportunities of those marginalised people who live out of forest: children belonging to the marginalised groups are having to leave school to support families that are losing livelihood opportunities. The examples are long and heartbreaking. The interdependence between HDI and environmental sustainability, and embedding environmental care in human development practices is a consideration of now because the danger of inaction it is so clear and so present.

The kicking the ladder argument (developed countries have done the damage, now they are asking developing countries to pursue costly environment -friendly policies; they are kicking the ladder for poor countries once they themselves have climbed the development tree) has become irrelevant as we face and deal with the dire realities of today. We are in it together. It is the enlightened self-interest of rich countries to come up with more aid to help developing countries to raise HDI score by helping tackle environmental issues. It is for us to embed environmental concerns in HD areas.

A legacy of the 20th century that 21st century development praxis has to be informed is that the boundaries of nation-states are not demarcated along environment-ecology lines. Consequently, dealing with HD issues will call for cross-country collaboration at various levels. For example, to address water-related challenges will call for basin-wide management of water resources. If this is not done, then concerned conflicts will result in environmental degradation which will not only have detrimental implications for efforts to address HD issues but also end up with costly second/third best solutions that will divert scarce resources from being invested in health and education.

The upshot of the above is that we will need to take targetted steps at global, regional and national levels if we really want to green the HDI. If the 'HDI only' approach called primarily for national efforts, the 'greening of HDI approach' will call for a more comprehensive global -regional -national understanding and efforts that are comprehensive and mutually reinforcing. I feel that 'greening of HDI' is to be seen as a nationally implemented global-regional compact, rather than something that is only to be nationally implemented, measured and ranked, for success or failure.

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

Prof. Rahman, thank you for your insightful comments. Have to agree with you that short term and long terms development concerns, is a false dichotomy. All the examples you mention make that clear. This also means that the concept of human development, now, must also include sustainability issues more explicitly. How can it not?
On the other hand, trying to 'green' the HDI is challenging. Like you said, a lot of issues are beyond national boundaries. How to reflect regional impacts, global responsibilities, and cross-border issues in the HDI? These are the issues we are grappling with.
Good to have your thoughts. Hopefully we will find a good way forward to capture all these aspects in the Human Development Report.
 

Shams Banihani

Contributions received by @Christophe SALUMU MALABA LULU (https://www.ssc-globalthinkers.org/user/354183/stream)

The paths of sustainable human development for HDR 2020: the case of the Democratic Republic of the Congo / Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Constitution of February 18, 2006, as amended by Law No. 11/002 of January 20, 2011 revising certain articles, enshrines its second chapter which deals with matters, through 16 articles (namely: articles 34 to 49) , on economic, social and cultural rights. These 16 articles stipulate on the following themes:

- Right to individual or collective property acquired in accordance with law or custom.
- Right to private initiative for both nationals and foreigners.
- Right to work, protection against unemployment and fair and satisfactory remuneration.
- The State guarantees freedom of association: the public authorities collaborate with associations which contribute to the social, economic, intellectual, moral and spiritual development of the populations and to the education of citizens.
- Freedom of association, recognized and guaranteed.
- The right to strike and is recognized and guaranteed.
- Everyone has the right to marry the person of their choice, of the opposite sex, and to found a family.
- All minor children have the right to know the names of their father and mother.
- Public authorities have an obligation to protect young people from any damage to their health, education and integral development.
- Everyone has the right to education, the national education of which includes public establishments and approved private establishments.
- The eradication of illiteracy is a national duty for the achievement of which the Government must draw up a specific program.
- Education is free: it is, however, subject to the supervision of the public authorities, under the conditions laid down by law.
- The right to culture, the freedom of intellectual and artistic creation, and that of scientific and technological research are guaranteed subject to respect for the law, public order and morality.
- The right to health and food security is guaranteed.
- The right to decent housing, the right of access to drinking water and electrical energy are guaranteed.
- The senior citizen and the disabled person have the right to specific protection measures related to their physical, intellectual and moral needs.

In fact, in the preface to the National Report of Contextualization and Prioritization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of October 2016 which was published by the Ministry of Planning and Modernity Monitoring of the Central Government, and by which the Democratic Republic of Congo had subscribed to the process of implementing the SDGs in its territory, a series of major challenges related to the paths of human development were raised in these terms: “Despite the note of hope retained at the end of the period of implementation of the MDGs, the country remains beset by certain burdens, among which are poverty, inequalities in all their political, economic, social and environmental dimensions. These burdens have a definite negative impact on the functioning of the economy and the quality of life of the populations ".

Three years after this deplorable observation by the Contextualization and Prioritization Report of the SDGs in the DRC, several other challenges were identified by the joint preparatory activity (Likasi City Hall and ONGD CEPROPHOT) of October 2019 on the valid participation of the City of the Urban City of Likasi at the 2019 Summit of the World Parliament of Mayors from 9 to 11 November 2019 in Durban / South Africa. The representatives of the populations of 4 Communes had identified 35 types of problems and unmet needs relating to human development, among others: lack of water with untimely power cut, poverty and unemployment, unsanitary conditions, insufficient Health Centers and hospitals as well as training centers for the supervision and apprenticeship of trades including for the reinforcement of the capacities of the civil servants of the State, in particular the insufficiency of the markets and cemeteries.

Faced with this series of problems, and while recognizing that, despite the potentialities of the wealth of its natural resources, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we recommend, in order to align our country on the paths of sustainable development within the framework of the realization Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) around HDR 2020, the following suggestions:

• That the UNOSSC Office of the United Nations as well as the world community of Development Agencies and Bodies get involved in the accompaniment and multifaceted supports of the process of implementation of DECENTRALIZATION on all 26 Provinces of our country by the establishment of multi-state and non-state multi-stakeholder committees at various levels: local (chiefdoms, sectors, municipalities and cities), provincial and national.
• That the bilateral cooperation protocols between the United Nations Institutions and other international Organizations accompanying the Democratic Republic of the Congo be revisited, because there are many cases of bad governance on the part of state managers that hinder the access of Organizations of Civil Society to this funding, including the diversion of funding for human development projects carried by Civil Society Organizations (with available and verifiable evidence).
• That Congolese Civil Society Organizations be integrated into the mechanisms developed by South-South and Triangular Cooperation in the areas of: "Economic structural transformation", "Trade and investment", "Cooperation in basic infrastructure and connectivity" and “Multipartite engagement in South-South and Triangular Cooperation” is one of the very reliable solutions in favor of the human development of the populations of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Maha Abusamra

currently there is a focus in advancing gender equality through behavior change, using some innovative tools such as the positive deviance approach. we tried here in Palestine, and I can see positive indicators 

Maha Abusamra

Sustainable development is a process of change in which exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations. Thus, sustainable development should address the past, present and future. 
The 2030 Agenda and the SDGs have inspired a broad and versatile dynamic. Policymakers, civil society, private sector, universities and many others are all actively working to achieve the goals. Globally and here in the State of Palestine, achieving the SDGs will not be easy. As we all know, long-term development in the Palestinian state means something different than in the rest of the world.
When the governments of the world signed on to the SDGs, they also signed on to the guiding principle of national ownership. That means sustainable development formulated and guided by nations themselves, in government, the private sector, and civil society. The Millennium Development Goals have already shown that when Palestinians are given control of development, they can accomplish amazing things. To be able to implement the national strategies, then need to take account of the main tools, which are the institutions, infrastructure and capacity building. 
 

André de Mello e Souza

Dear colleagues,

I hope you are all well and healthy while facing the COVID-19 pandemic.  Many thanks for the invitation to participate in this timely and important discussion.

As previously pointed out, sustainability indicators are lacking in the HDI and I think we can all agree that one of such indicators should be incorporated in the measurement of human development.  

Yet, environmental sustainability differs from the other indicators which compose the HDI in a crucial way.  The HDI is mostly applied to nation states, though sometimes also to subnational units and regions.  Accordingly, GDP, health and education indicators are largely -- though not exclusively -- determined by national public policies.  In contrast, achieving greater sustainability inevitably involves international coordination if not collaboration.  For this reason, measuring sustainability in a national setting makes far less sense then measuring GDP, health or education.  Surely we can measure how much different nation states are contributing to global sustainability, as, for instance, through their CO2 emissions.  But the fact remains that sustainability is essentially a global goal,   CO2 emissions in particular countries say very little about the extent to which we are achieving the goal of fighting global warming. In contrast, economic growth. health and education can be promoted successfully by nation states independently of each other.

In addition, I think there is something to be said about the desirability of inflating indexes.  As we include more indicators, the HDI certainly becomes more comprehensive and sensitive to important dimensions of development.  However, it also becomes harder to interpret.  In an extreme case where we include tens of indicators, the index risks becoming meaningless as a guide for policy, since its evolution and level are difficult to attribute to particular dimensions of human development. 

We already have a plethora of indicators in the ambit of the 17 SDGs and their related targets.  Part of the problem with these is that most of them are Tier III, meaning they lack data and methodologies.  Moreover, the SDGs are numerous and include virtually all dimensions of development.  But the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda fails to prioritize among these SDGs, with the result that UN country members may pursue whichever policies and goals they prefer and still demonstrably claim to pursue the fulfillment of the Agenda.  

Including an additional indicator in the HDI involves precisely prioritizing one aspect of this highly complex goal of environmental sustainability over others.  Supposedly, countries and other political units will try to perform well in terms of this indicator so as to boost their HDI, which is a highly visible and widely adopted index.  Hence, expanding the HDI is perhaps more a political than a technical task.


 

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

You are very perceptive in saying that modifying the HDI is a political task. It is also very attractive to leave the HDI unchanged, given, as you say, the ease of understanding it and communicating it. At the same time, here at the Human Development Report Office, there has been a growing realization that the sustainability dimension is missing. For one, a country can have very high HDI with a very poor sustainability record. Given this, we are making a humble attempt to try to incorporate the sustainability element.
Thank you for your input. Please stay safe as well.

Xiaolin Wang

Based on the five leading questions, my comments are as follows:

1. Why we should Reaffirm the ideal of people centered development?

The 1990 Human Development Report is the most outstanding report so far. It had a profound effect on the way policy-makers, public officials and international society, as well as economists and other social scientists, view societal advancement. The Human Development Index (HDI), which includes key human capital indicators for education and health, goes beyond just measuring development in terms of GNI per capita. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the HDR, I think we need to reaffirm the people-centred development concept. Human Development Index should measure how human beings in each society live and what substantive freedoms they enjoy. The development as freedoms that people-centred enjoy includes not only economic welfare but also the social and environmental dimensions.

2. In different regions of the developing South, what are the regional, sub-regional and country level environmental issues that impact human development?
  
Humanity is facing many environmental problems, but we need to give priority to the improvement of human settlements. Ideal human settlement environment is the harmonious habitation between human being and nature from the viewpoint of sustainable development. Micro-living environment is connected with macro-environmental problems, which is also easy to be perceived by policymakers and social practitioners. In the Global South, especially in South Asia, people often suffer from natural disasters such as floods, mudslides, and landslides, etc. Micro-living environment is facing problems such as difficulty in drinking water, lack of access to improved sanitation facilities, lack of access to clean energy, and lack of harmless disposal of household waste. Sub-Saharan Africa, on the other hand, often suffers from drought, which has led to widespread crop losses. These micro problems are closely related to macro-environmental issues. HDI should reflect the progress of human development by starting from the index of micro-habitat environment, and the solution of micro problems and macro problems should be combined.

3.What initiatives are being implemented to mitigate and adapt to these harms? How do these efforts tie in with the achievement of SDGs? What are the main tradeoffs and the main synergies with SDGs? What are the lessons learnt?

Satellite remote sensing, artificial intelligence, data from data, GIS and other digital technologies are flourishing in the Global South and are widely used in the environment, agriculture, disaster management and other aspects. New technology-driven and business model innovation provide unique opportunities to solve environmental problems. We need to strengthen south-south and triangular cooperation in digital technology to offer new solutions to environmental and sustainable development issues. China and ASEAN countries have carried out good practices in disaster prevention and mitigation by using high-definition satellite remote sensing and GIS technology. China advocates and practices green development. The earth is our "only home" and must be protected. 

4. How are different countries leading on mitigation policies, norm setting and paradigm shifting? What are some national and regional perspectives being brought to global negotiations and processes on climate change and sustainability?

The Chinese government has put forward a clear plan for energy conservation and emission reduction, and has made prevention and mitigation of major risks, poverty alleviation, and pollution prevention and control the three major tasks to prevent air and water pollution and promote sustainable development. In the outline of the 13th five-year plan (2016-2020), China has made ecological protection and poverty alleviation an important poverty alleviation measure, developing afforestation cooperatives, ecological compensation, ecological public welfare jobs in rural areas, and developing green poverty alleviation industries.

5.What methodologies can be used to facilitate the “Greening of the HDI”? What are the main indicators, and how will they be selected? What are the practical challenges in applying this methodology to the country level? What are some effective methods to advocate for data collection on these indicators, at the country level.

Since collecting environmental data in developing countries is facing many challenges of missing data, the best way to solve macro-environmental data problem, from the perspective of feasibility, is to use satellite remote sensing technology. Microdata on the households and communities level, on the other hand, selects feasible indicators from existing household survey data.

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

Your points are well taken. We will include examinations of frontier technologies, technological cooperation among countries, and the potential for satellite remote sensing, GIS and big data in solving these problems. 
Thank you for your contribution. 

Ricardo Fort

Dear Jacob, thank you very much for your prompt response. I am very glad that we agree on the importance of this issue for understanding and tackling environmental sustainability in the South. However, I think we might have a different perspective regarding SDG11 and what its specific goals and indicators can do to solve this problem. 

Traditional north-south international cooperation has being promoting a variety of policy measures traditionally used to deal with the challenges of rapid urban expansion: urban planning, housing projects, slum upgrading, and the like (most SDG11 indicators are based on these). Unfortunately, evidence shows that such approaches have failed to curtail, or at least adequately manage, the informal nature of current urban sprawl, because governments lack either the massive resources required to implement such programs, the authority to enforce planning norms, or the political will to regulate urban expansion. Indeed, it seems like the economic and political incentives across the global south favor the current trend of fast, horizontal and disorderly urban growth.

That is why we think we need more South-South debate and academic exchange among national experts in order to standardize measurements and typologies of urban growth; compare circumstances, policies, and policy outcomes on the issue; identify lessons learned and best practices, and set a common agenda on urban expansion that would trigger a public debate with policy makers on this mostly overlooked but critical subject.
 

Dr. Jacob Assa Moderator

Dear Ricardo,

Many thanks for clarifying that point and providing examples of policy measures which are inadequate for dealing with the problem, as well as the critical issues governments face. 

Pablo Hurtado

I want to add some reflections to contribute to the discussion (sorry, they're in Spanish). 

Sobre la pregunta 1. La huella ecológica por persona suele disminuir cuando la región experimenta una crisis económica o financiera. También se ha notado que la huella ecológica es mayor en los países con mayor IDH. El principal problema en esta aparente discrepancia es el uso del PIB per cápita como indicador. Es necesario encontrar nuevas formas de medir la calidad de vida de los habitantes. Si bien el ingreso es una buena medida, no necesariamente mayor ingreso implica que las personas estén viviendo mejor. Al contrario, si todos los países tuvieran un GDP muy alto, eso implicaría un uso excesivo de los recursos del planeta. Las políticas ya no deben centrarse en el incremento del PIB, sino en la mejora en la calidad de vida de las personas. Además del trabajo, los seres humanos necesitan tiempo para compartir con su familia y seres queridos, para invertir en sus hobbies y para alcanzar un crecimiento personal. Hay estudios que han encontrado que hay casos donde el incremento salarial que da trabajar horas extra no compensa la falta de tiempo para relacionarse con sus seres queridos. Es por esto que aunque el PIB per cápita es una buen indicador de los países con recursos económicos insuficientes, no funciona como indicador de buena calidad de vida.

Pregunta 3. En Guatemala, actualmente se está implementando el proyecto “Paisajes Productivos Resilientes al Cambio Climático y Redes Socioeconómicas Fortalecidas en Guatemala”, el cual busca enseñar a las comunidades cercanas a una cuenca, una forma de sostenerse económicamente, aprovechando los recursos naturales de una forma sostenible. Este programa está enfocado en poblaciones de escasos recursos y en situaciones de mala calidad de vida, por lo que este tipo de proyectos tendrán un impacto ambiental positivo a la vez que busca un mejor nivel de vida para los seres humanos. Debido al enfoque multitemático de los ODS, los programas como están fuertemente relacionados con los mismos. Por ejemplo, ayuda a que se reduzcan el hambre (ODS 2), la pobreza (ODS 1) y mejora el acceso a trabajo (ODS 8), a la vez promueve la producción sostenible (ODS 12) y el mantenimiento de los ecosistemas alrededor de la cuenca (ODS 15). También se puede trabajar en los ODS 5 y 10, ya que, al incluir a hombres y mujeres, indígenas y no indígenas en estos talleres se puede trabajar con un enfoque de equidad que promueva la no discriminación. El enfoque de los ODS es importante para las iniciativas que busquen mejorar la calidad de vida con un enfoque de sostenibilidad.

Pregunta 5. Actualmente el IDH se mide en tres dimensiones: Vida larga y saludable, acceso a conocimiento y calidad de vida decente. En ninguna de las tres se toma en cuentan el impacto ecológico. Al contrario, hay una contradicción en la medición del IDH y el impacto ecológico. Por ejemplo, la huella ecológica los países con IDH alto y muy alto es más alta. Esto se debe a que el tercer componente del IDH, “vida decente”, se mide utilizando el PIB per cápita. El problema está en que será muy difícil que un país con ingreso de $75,000 per cápita no esté aprovechando más recursos de lo que es sostenible para la tierra. Esto lleva a considerar si realmente el PIB per cápita mide la calidad de vida decente de una persona o si se podrá considerar otro indicador para esta dimensión. 

El objetivo de usar el PIB per cápita como indicador, es que se espera que, si el país tiene suficiente dinero, sus habitantes tendrán seguridad económica y acceso a los bienes necesarios para tener una buena calidad de vida. El problema con este indicador es que quienes tienen más dinero, también tendrán más posibilidades de consumir y utilizar recursos que no necesitan. 

Una metodología existente y bastante adecuada para modificar el IDH es la de Jason Hickel (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.05.011) que hace dos modificaciones:
1-    Agregar el impacto ecológico: Para medir el impacto ambiental se sugiere el uso de la huella ecológica por persona (la cual se enfoca en dos dimensiones: Los recursos naturales disponibles y la demanda actual) y la emisión de CO2 por persona.
2-    Modificar el “máximo” en PIB per cápita de $75,000 a $20,000.

Esta medición tiene sentido, ya que modifica muy levemente el IDH, manteniendo dos de los tres componentes iguales y le agrega el enfoque ecológico. Otro aspecto positivo son los indicadores que se utilizan, ya que son mediciones que actualmente ya se calculan. Entre los desafíos, habría que destacar que las mediciones de CO2 y huella climática deben de estandarizarse y tener clara la metodología, además se requiere verificación de que los datos reportados correspondan a los datos reales ya que puede ocurrir que se sub reporten datos para mejorar los índices. pero para evitar esto se puede implementar la metodología de medición anual por un organismo internacional a un grupo aleatorio de países, como verificación.

Dr. Christina Lengfelder Moderator

Muchísimas gracias, Pablo, por estos comentarios tan pertinentes! Está muy bien que escribes en español, pues es justamente lo que queremos lograr al implementar ese foro de forma bilingüe. Con respecto a tu primer comentario, estamos muy de acuerdos con la importancia de pasar tiempo en familia y con actividades recreativas. Esta forma de pensar es muy alineada con el paradigma del desarrollo humano, y de hecho, incluimos bastante información y análisis de datos sobre este tema en nuestro informe del año 2015 ‘El mundo del trabajo’ que ampliaba el concepto del trabajo para incluir el trabajo creativo y el trabajo no pagado que se realiza en casa. 
También estamos viendo el tema que mencionas de que con mayor PIB hay más probabilidad de consumo excesivo innecesario. Los autores Wilkinson and Picket analizaron este tema a través del ángulo de la desigualdad en su reciente libro del 2018 que usamos bastante para la elaboración de nuestro informe del 2019 sobre las desigualdades en el desarrollo humano.
El trabajo de Jason Hickel es muy importante para nosotros y estamos trabajando junto a él en la revisión de nuestros índices, o sea, el está directamente involucrado en este trabajo. Con respecto a tu sugerencia de cambiar el máximo del PIB per cápita a $20,000, veo la complicación que de esta manera no hay mucha varianza entre los países como para tener una comparación interesante. No me queda muy claro tampoco como esto incluiría al componente del medioambiente. De repente puedas elaborar un poco más. ¿O será mejor quitar el indicador del PIB per cápita completamente del IDH, reemplazándolo por uno que mida el capital natural de los países? Es que aparte de las emisiones CO2, también nos interesa incluir el papel de la naturaleza en un sentido más amplio al desarrollo humano. Nuevamente, muchas gracias por tus comentarios! 
 

Wang Xiaolin

I used translator to convert your comments from Spanish to English. I hope I got your ideal right. I agree totally people with high GDP per capita are not necessarily happy. We should develop some services for improving the subjective well-being by virtual digital technology and reducing the resource consumption but improve the quality of life.

Dr. Christina Lengfelder Moderator

Great idea, [~371]. Thanks for taking the initiative with the translator. I completely agree with your comment! 

Zhang Chuanhong

Hi Nice to be part of the discussion. I am sorry that I will not strictly follow the questions for discussion. I just want to share some of my crude ideas on issues related to human development and the index to measure it. 1) Development should be based on security or we can say the security is the precondition for security. I don't think I need to elaborate this based on current situation but I do want to pay tribute to the foresighted UNDP's 1994 Human Development Report which defined the scope of human security. Four among the 7 areas are economic, food, health and environmental securities. More than 25 years past, we had witnessed some progress in these areas but the progress has been threatened/reversed due to some man-made or natural disasters recently and the global community shows little solidarity to address this downward spiral which definitely threatens sustainable human development.  Nowadays, under many circumstances, individual capacity building cannot gain these securities as they are structural, or just caused by the wave of globalization and this is not about developing or developed countries. People in the developed countries are facing these types of security threat as well. 2) I do like the notion of "development as freedom". But freedom comes from sense of security. I want to share one of my informants' life story I got from my  fieldwork in rural Tanzania. She's a muslim lady and she's the second wife of her husband. She has three children and most time lives alone in a village. She had married once as the first wife of a man but she divorced because that man always cheated her.   She chose to be the second wife of her current husband and she's happy with her choice because she's loved and respected by him. The reason she could make that choice is because she's a very good sesame grower, has her own housing and enjoys economic independence. However, most rural women in the same village couldn't make that choice even they were suffering from GBV at home. 3) "Greening HDI" is a advanced notion but need to be accompanied by government capacity. Economic growth is still the key factor of development for most developing countries, To reduce carbon emissions in many cases means losing jobs if the government investment in green technology cannot create enough jobs. If those jobless people couldn't get compensation, their life will be deteriorated. How to balance the jobs and environmental protection is always a dilemma faced by policy-makers and we cannot rely on private sectors to be responsible for this issue. More responsible investment from public sectors with stricter standards are definitely needed to achieve the goal. I just stop here and hope to hear more insightful comments from friends and colleagues.

Dr. Jacob Assa Moderator

Dear Zhang Chuanhong,

Many thanks for your comment and for highlighting the importance link between human development and human security. In addition to the 1994 Human Development Report, human security was also discussed in the context of inequality in the most recent Human Development Report 2019 (chapters 1 and 4).

HDRO is also working with other partners to further analyze the links between these two domains both conceptually and in terms of implications for measurement. 

Thanks again for your thoughtful comment.

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

Just to reiterate, thanks for your comments. Agree that in moving towards green growth, there are going to be winners and also losers. Ideas of Just Transition are central to our thinking - job creation, compensation and other policies, will be included in our analysis. It is good to have confirmation of the importance of these ideas.

Zhang Chuanhong

[~360], thank you for your comments. Nice to know that job creations and compensation issues will be discussed and taken into consideration. A good measuring and evaluation system may help to urge the policy-makers to invest more in green technology and the role of public sectors also needs to be emphasized at the beginning. 

Prof. Milindo Chakrabarti

HDI includes three components -- income, health and education indices to capture the extent of human development across nations, and even sub-national entities at different levels. importantly, all these measures capture the status of an average representative citizen of the region. they, unfortunately, do not capture the environmental status of a region, which also influences the real state of human development of a citizen. the extent of environmental degradation is not captured by the estimate of per capita income at PPP. Education and health indices are also not capable of capturing the green perspective of human life. 
SDG 12 -- responsible production and consumption -- though enumerated, has not received much attention from the policy makers, academics and activists, compared to the interests shown in respect of the other goals. the targets and indicators identified also appear a little vague.  

A candidate indicator in HDI  to capture the greening process may be to replace per capita GDP by per capita Green GDP that takes care of the extent of environmental degradation to a considerable index. It is also true that green GDP fails to capture meaningfully  the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss and its ecological consequences. Per Capita Green GDP may be used as a second best solution in constructing the green HDI that will also tangentially cover the objectives of SDG 12.

Dr. Jacob Assa Moderator

Dear Professor Milindo Chakrabarti,

Many thanks for your comment. Green GDP has in fact been used in several countries, and it accounts for environmental costs by monetizing the effects of the loss of biodiversity and the costs of climate change. Other indicators that have been proposed so far are adjusted net savings, ecological footprint, and CO2 emissions (total or per capita). HDRO is currently looking at the various proposals and analyzing their strengths and weaknesses.

You are absolutely right that as it stands, the HDI does not capture the state of nature or the environment, and we are working towards filling this gap soon.

Ricardo Fort

Dear colleagues, thanks for the invitation to this interesting discussion. I will like to focus my contribution in tackling questions 2 and 3. 

Environmental sustainability issues are a top priority for the international community but they have distinct features pertaining the Global South. Indeed, if the ultimate goal of sustainable development in the South is to be achieved, much will have to change in the way southern societies relate to their environment, which could have disruptive effects on it, at a global scale. 

Understanding the drivers of environmental sustainability in the south should include a deeper look at the socioeconomic and political dynamics that shape them. In particular, as it has being mentioned before in this discussion, we believe in the need for a territorial approach to tackle the issue of environmental sustainability, specifically focusing the attention on the tensions and imbalances between the urban and rural realms, and how they affect de drivers of environmental sustainability.

The tensions between an ever-expanding, all-consuming urban realm and an ever-shrinking, overexploited rural domain are at the heart of environmental concerns, with measurable global consequences. Over the past three decades, cities in developing countries have expanded their residential area by a median rate of almost 200%. Around one third of this newly urbanized land corresponds to residential areas that had not been laid out before development, meaning that lots were occupied and houses built before basic services (electricity, water, sanitation) and urban infrastructure (paved roads and sidewalks, parks) were in place, and certainly without regard to critical urban planning guidelines.


Odds are that residents of unplanned informal settlements will ever have access to adequate public spaces or services within their neighborhoods, and that costs for basic services will be considerably higher for them than for the rest of the city. Moreover, insufficient and narrower streets, combined with bigger block sizes and longer distances to arterial roads, not only impose physical and economic restrictions to their mobility, but create pervasive unsafe, vulnerable environments. 

The land occupied by cities in the developing word will triple by 2050. There are a number of social and economic processes that foster widespread, chaotic urban sprawl all across the Global South (e.g. migration form the countryside to cities, lack of urban planning and affordable housing markets). This urban expansion affects the rural areas and environmental resources around growing cities, including water sources, air quality, forests and biodiversity. On the other hand, bigger, inefficient cities require more resources, which exerts more and more pressure over natural resources elsewhere. Many of these problems are the consequence of weak, underfinanced local governments which, in the end, are the ones responsible for implementing the policies that would create a sustainable environment.

Regrettably, local and national authorities have proven time and again their lack of capacity—or willingness—to adequately guide processes of urban expansion that have been going on for decades all over the developing world. Moreover, public and international agencies tend to focus their efforts on policies that attempt to remedy the problems created by the unplanned occupation of land, not to prevent those troubles from arising in the first place—despite the fact that informal settlements are, and will most certainly remain as, the main drivers of urban expansion in the developing world. Thus, as long as the original problem—pervasive unplanned urban expansion—does not receive the attention it deserves, these policy efforts are doomed to be out of step with reality.
 

Dr. Jacob Assa Moderator

Dear Ricardo,

Many thanks of your detailed discussion of this very important issue. Urbanization, especially when unplanned and not accompanied by putting in place infrastructure and services, can be harmful not just for the new resident of expanding cities but also to the environment in both cities and rural areas. In fact the growing encroachment of the built human environment into previously rural areas has been also linked with increased exposure to some diseases previously not affecting humans.

I believe this background is why the SDGs have a special focus on sustainable cities. Given the seemingly unstoppable drive towards urbanization, our best strategy is to make this transition sustainable, more planned, and carried out while taking into account the human development needs of both urban and rural residents, as well as any environmental impacts.

Ouedraogo Sayouba

“Sustainable Human Development Pathways”
1. How can the human development approach bring new light to the sustainability debate? Are dominant sustainability debates focusing narrowly only on income growth versus sustainability? In the paradigms of green growth, and de-growth, is there recognition of the need for people-centered policies?
Is sustainability static or dynamic or static-dynamic. Sustainability ignores time in the minds of ordinary people. However, aspirations are a function of time, context, history and above all the availability and accessibility of the means that can be used with regard to human capacities.
The human development approach should be dynamic chronologically with fuzzy variables. Thus, in addition to adjustment over time, this approach should integrate the main development emergencies of concern to the world community. The instability of forecasts or the uncertainty or changing nature of measurement variables contributing to well-being is immutable. This reminds us that sustainable human development is an ongoing quest. Taking this fact into account induces another vision of the human development approach. The new approach must integrate the essential variables improving the well-being of populations and their future hope.
Income is certainly an important variable for development. It would help promote sustainability. However, the problem of the contribution of income to sustainability lies in its use to obtain the desired positive effects. Does-it  growing and / or increasing income improve men's living conditions? Is this improvement permanent or is it ad hoc?
The relationship to be established between income and sustainability is to have a growing, permanent, sustained and well-allocated income to carry out sustainability activities that meet the aspirations of populations in an environment which future generations could flourish.
The paradigms of green growth and degrowth implicitly take into account policies that integrate people. Green growth promotes economic growth and development, while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the environmental resources and services on which people's well-being is based. Otherwise, nature is still the main source of well-being. However, technological progress, the prowess of research tends to distance human beings from nature. Also, the production techniques and the demographic growth of the countries of the South, constituting the lung of the world, exhaust the non-renewable natural assets. Environmental resources and services must be renewed at a faster growth rate than the rate of population growth. Technologies for exploiting environmental services would be accessible to the population of the south in line with their income.
The consideration of the person would not be limited to green growth. Indeed, human aspirations and needs go beyond the material. Nature must allow people to flourish and have well-being, to be happy.
2. In different regions of the developing South, what are the regional, sub-regional and country level environmental issues that impact human development?
The exponential growth of the population of the countries of the south and the productivism are factors of emission of the Greenhouse gases (GES), responsible for the fragmentation, the destruction of the habitats and the exchanges. Natural assets allow humans to benefit from the resources and services of the environment for their existence. Climate change is one of the challenges of sustainable development. Understanding the issues, the anthropic role in these changes, but above all going in search of the solutions adopted are the issues. So, how can plans, development projects and policies take into account the issue of climate change as a risk in planning? What model of planning or development of the space to cope with it? How can we reduce the causes and the impact of these climate changes on the economy, health and natural resources? In short, how can we turn climate change into assets while keeping in mind the need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions? What, finally, is the contribution of law in solving this problem? And how can we pool efforts while keeping identity differences in a diversity of approach?
The management and exploitation of air and climate, international rivers and lakes, soil and desertification, biodiversity, international responsibility in environmental matters, waste, international trade, etc. are the problems of our regional environment with consequences for human development.
Communities are exposed to several risks. These are the risks of conflicts (inter-community, inter-family, land, etc.), insecurity (food, road, civil, etc.), expropriation, social exclusion, spoliation, land grabbing , unemployment, education, health… and finally, the environmental one (natural disasters, destruction of biodiversity, drought, etc.).
In addition, it is necessary to determine the regulatory framework for risks (different legal texts existing for the resolution of risk), the mapping of stakeholders (the different areas of expertise, the structures involved in management), the definition of roles and responsibilities ( in risk management, the role of each actor must be clearly defined for the achievement of results), collaboration opportunities (by not obscuring the new methods and techniques offered by technology), the definition of obstacles to be tackled in collaboration with the other actors, capacity building (train the actors if necessary), the definition of a timing.
Sustainable land management is also a challenge. Due to the fragile economic profile of developing countries and inappropriate farming practices, the large area of land is degraded. The causes are anthropogenic, socio-economic (low level of intensification of farming systems, low household income and poverty), security, climatic (aggressiveness of rains, high temperatures), etc.
3. What initiatives are being implemented to mitigate and adapt to these harms? How do these efforts tie in with the achievement of SDGs? What are the main tradeoffs and the main synergies with SDGs? What are the lessons learnt?
Solutions to environmental problems must generally be in the logic of managing a common good. How do States transcend their political borders within the framework of cooperation requiring recourse to International and Comparative Law? This right must call for inter and transdisciplinarity in the design and execution of the transversal activities of development projects and programs.
  Social and environmental risk management is important for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) insofar as it contributes to peace and social justice, conflict prevention, acceptance and ownership of projects and their sustainability, the proper execution of projects, the social and economic well-being of populations, benefits from the confidence of partners, harmonious development, etc.
This risk management for communities helps preserve cohesion and social peace, inclusive and participatory development, taking into account their expectations and needs, taking advantage of programs and ensuring the sustainability of investments. For the private sector, risk management makes it possible to avoid blockages in carrying out activities, to secure investments, to preserve the business climate, to achieve objectives, to avoid losses (unnecessary expenditure) and to reassure private investors. For local authorities, risk management contributes to preserving social cohesion, avoids the impoverishment of populations, maintaining the confidence of the electorate, mobilizing technical and financial partners (TFP);
In addition, food security and community capacity building initiatives are also common quest synergies for achieving the SDGs. Also, the importance of areas classified as an instrument for safeguarding biological diversity and resilience to climate change would require support for protection, creation of ranches in order to benefit the services of the animal species in the context of food security. . Who says deterioration of the environment, speaks suddenly of the loss of animal and plant species. Reducing the harmful effects of climate change and carbon sequestration enables job creation and the satisfaction of the basic needs of growing populations. The fight for a better life, the fight to bequeath to our heirs what we have received from our ancestors remains the real fight for human existence. The "after me, the flood" logic should be avoided.
The initiatives draw lessons on research and the implementation of development strategies, programs and projects integrating the legal and political aspects of the environment, the promotion and popularization of research on the environment and climate change, technical support to public and private institutions, training of local communities and civil society organizations in environmental protection, local risk management methods, research on endogenous knowledge and technologies evidence of resolution of the adverse effects of climate change.
Examples of actions and strategies in Burkina Faso:
-    the creation of a ranch;
-    the role of music in protecting the environment;
-    the fight against terrorism;
-    land use and environmental protection;
-     industrial operations and environmental protection;
-    protection of biodiversity;
-    the Environment Code;
-    the Forest Code;
-    the General Code of Local Authorities;
-    the law on Agrarian and Land Reorganization (RAF);
-    the Decree on the classification, decommissioning and change of status procedure for state and local government forests;
-    the Decree on conditions and procedures for carrying out and validating the strategic environmental assessment;
-    the environmental and social impact study and notice;
-    fertilizer control in Burkina Faso;
-    the law instituting pesticide control;
-    Law No. 010-2006 / AN regulating plant seeds and their implementing decrees;
-    spatial planning (creation of protected areas, the decree establishing wildlife conservation units in Burkina Faso; the Decree regulating landscaping in Burkina Faso, etc.) and controlling the use of pesticides;
-    the study on the situation of classified forests in Burkina and the rehabilitation plan;
-     the programs implemented: “8000 villages, 8000 forests”, “Land front”, “villages wood”, “A department, a forest”, “operation 65/15” REDD + and international days (from environment, tree show) and national (reforestation) dedicated to this cause;
-    etc.
4. How are different countries leading on mitigation policies, norm setting and paradigm shifting? What are some national and regional perspectives being brought to global negotiations and processes on climate change and sustainability?
The issue of social facts such as institutional capacity building, "Effective management of social and environmental risks", and resilience, protection and preservation of the environment and biodiversity remain a concern in our region. Indeed, how public policies should take into account the issue of social and environmental risks in the development of their policies and programs. Thus, it would be necessary to develop a common understanding of social and environmental risks; second, the creation of a vision for an integral approach to the institutionalization of social and environmental risk management that transcends institutional boundaries; and finally, concrete actions to support the institutionalization of social and risk management capacity of environmental. The greenhouse gas (GHG) emission responsible for climate change cannot be fully controlled. Spatial planning (creation of protected areas) and controlling the use of pesticides are also solutions to environmental problems. Several actions or strategies are implemented in the West African Economic Monetary Union (UEMOA), the Economic Committee of West African States (ECOWAS) and several intercommunity organizations (CILSS, Liptako Gourma, etc.). ).
Concerted action, engagement and participation of stakeholders while favoring the harmony of national, regional and global interests would seem to be an acceptable strategy for taking climate change into account in development policies. The common solutions will be those with long effects in the logic that the environment is a loan granted by the previous generations to the current one to transmit it to the future generation. Taking into account the intra and intergenerational link of the environment is an optimality of strategies for sustainable management of the effects of climate change.
5. What methodologies can be used to facilitate the “Greening of the HDI”? What are the main indicators, and how will they be selected? What are the practical challenges in applying this methodology to the country level? What are some effective methods to advocate for data collection on these indicators, at the country level?
The HDI takes into account longevity and health, education and access and, standard of living. it is difficult to explicitly integrate natural assets specific to environmental resources and services beneficial to humans . However, the human being is a product of nature.
Greening the HDI requires an alternative holistic approach. The integration of environmental resources and their degradation linked to human activity and climate change as well as resilience is options for greening the HDI.
The main indicators would relate to longevity and health; education (it is not only a question of the level of education, it would also be necessary to integrate the measurement of happiness because the state of mind, the appreciation of the joy of living, is above all a determining element of a sustainable life), standard of living (per capita income deducted from the costs of development actions on the environment) and finally, the indicator of availability of non-renewable natural assets, taking into account demographic dynamics by the 50 years to come.
Statistical and methodological challenges will of course be present. The availability of data with regard to the statistical culture of developing countries, the methodological acceptability due to the difficulties of the impact of human activity in nature and above all, the approach techniques and the limits of suitable models with the diverse realities to be used, etc. are all challenges.
The effective methods which plead in favor of the collection of data for these indicators are varied and range from consultation and negotiation, participation and accountability according to the logic of subsidiarity, the use of autonomous technologies for the collection of quantitative data, analyzes comparative, etc. evidence of the positive effects of the data collected for the benefit of the populations. The strategy used and the credibility of the national institutions or the national governments of the countries in the conduct of development actions for the benefit of the positively appreciated populations are favorable favors.

Dr. Sayouba OUEDRAOGO,
CREF-VEP and CEDRES
University Ouaga II
E-mail: sayoubaoued@yhaoo.fr
Phone: +22670191512
+22676645703
BURKINA FASO, West Africa

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

Dear Dr.  Ouedraogo,

Completely agree that the human development approach should be dynamic, taking into account how aspirations are a function of time, context and history. In HDR 2019, we tried to tackle exactly this notion, by introducing the concept of enhanced capabilities. Also agree that a dynamic human development approach should account for the main development emergencies, such as the climate crisis.
Thank you for mentioning the risk management approach. It seems like a very useful way to frame the issues we are looking at. How you point out its synergies with SDGs, through the actions of communities, local authorities, and the private sector, is very insightful. The examples from Burkina Faso are appreciated.
Your ideas for greening the HDI are useful. You are absolutely right about the challenges, and that greening the HDI requires a holistic approach.

Thanks so much for your contribution.

Dr. Christina Lengfelder Moderator

Muchas gracias, Carolina! Yo creo que hay un ángulo especialmente interesante para la región de Latinoamérica que es la participación en los proyectos de cooperación triangular. Dichos proyectos consisten en cooperación técnica que generalmente involucra tres actores: un donante tradicional, un donante emergente y los beneficiarios de los proyectos (aunque en realidad todos los involucrados se vuelven beneficiarios ya que todos aprenden de este tipo de cooperación). La idea es que los donantes tradicionales siguen proveyendo la mayor parte de los recursos para los proyectos, mientras que los donantes emergentes toman el protagonismo en la ejecución de los proyectos de cooperación técnica, apoyando con sus conocimiento local o regional y con su experiencia en el camino hacia un desarrollo sostenible. Actualmente, muchos países latinoamericanos están tomando el papel del donante emergente en los proyectos de cooperación triangular. Un ejemplo puede ser un proyecto de reciclaje de basura financiado por Inglaterra y ejecutado por México y Guatemala. Una ventaja de esta constelación vis a vis los proyectos de cooperación técnica tradicionales puede ser el idioma que los países cooperantes tienen en común. Pero por supuesto, también puede haber retos desafíos con estos arreglos. ¡Nos interesa escuchar de sus experiencias con esta forma de cooperación técnica!

Carolina Rivera Moderator

Estimados colegas,
Bienvenidos al debate virtual sobre los “Caminos hacia el Desarrollo Sostenible” que incluye una consulta para el próximo Informe sobre Desarrollo Humano 2020 del PNUD.
Actualmente, estamos llevando a cabo investigaciones y consultas sobre la vinculación entre el desarrollo humano y la sostenibilidad. Una de las cosas que hemos aprendido hasta ahora es que la agricultura y la gestión de los recursos naturales en muchos países en desarrollo constituye un importante nexo entre el desarrollo humano y la sostenibilidad, en la medida que proporcionan medios de vida a muchas personas, pero también afectan al medio ambiente. Un ejemplo de política medioambiental con consecuencias negativas para el desarrollo humano fue la introducción de Nile Perch en el lago Victoria. El objetivo era mejorar la adaptación medioambiental pero el resultado de su aplicación fue la industrialización del sector pesquero en la región y la pérdida de sus empleos para muchos pescadores locales.
Otro aspecto importante relacionado con el desarrollo humano y la sostenibilidad es la urbanización. Por ejemplo, se estima que en 2030 más de la mitad de la población de África vivirá en ciudades. Esto no es solo debido a la migración desde las zonas rurales; de hecho, en su mayoría (dos terceras partes) este crecimiento se explica por el alto crecimiento de la población en las propias zonas urbanas. ¿Cómo van a gestionar sosteniblemente este crecimiento los estados, las ciudades y las comunidades y, al mismo tiempo, respetar las libertades de las personas, además de proporcionarles oportunidades para que puedan desarrollar al máximo sus posibilidades?
Los países del Sur son algunos de los que más están sufriendo los efectos del cambio climático y la degradación de los recursos naturales. En Asia, muchas subregiones se enfrentan a una crisis de agua, con consecuencias para la agricultura y la seguridad alimentaria. La contaminación atmosférica se ha convertido en una gran amenaza para la salud y la expectativa de vida. Al mismo tiempo, los países en desarrollo están trabajando para encontrar soluciones a los desafíos que presenta lograr un desarrollo sostenible. Esperamos con gran interés sus valiosas aportaciones basadas en sus investigaciones y su experiencia.
Uno de los objetivos este año es incluir la sostenibilidad en el Índice de Desarrollo Humano (IDH). En especial, buscamos aportaciones sobre este tema. Asimismo, estamos buscando fórmulas innovadoras para medir y hacer seguimiento a las diversas dimensiones que tiene la desigualdad, las cuales van más allá de la desigualdad económica y tienen consecuencias sobre las oportunidades de vida y las perspectivas a futuro de las personas y los países. 
Esperamos disfrutar de una discusión virtual dinámica que ofrezca nuevas perspectivas que permitan evolucionar nuestra manera de entender y conceptualizar el desafío que supone la sostenibilidad. 
Saludos cordiales, 
Christina y Carolina

Amanda Lucey

A people-centred approach to development is certainly needed, and as we have seen, it is not sufficient to only consider economic growth, but inequalities in general. In South Africa, civil society has seen that there is a potential to influence the workings of the New Development Bank (NDB) through the recently established Africa Regional Centre. The NDB claims it will be different in its ways of working, including an accountable and transparent relationship with civil society, and that its focus will be on sustainable infrastructure. What exactly this means is left open to interpretation.

To date, the NDB has financed/in the process of financing the Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase II, the  Environmental Protection Project For Medupi Thermal Power Plant (Eskom Holdings SOC, Ltd); Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction and Energy Sector Development Project (Development Bank of Southern Africa); Durban Container Terminal Berth Reconstruction Project (Transnet); Project Finance Facility (Eskom); and the Battery Energy Storage Project (Eskom). At face value, this appears to go against the promises of going green, and the funding of state parastatals who have been implicated in corruption and state capture is extremely worrying. 

Oxfam South Africa and African Monitor have therefore set up a CSO working group to interact with the bank. Several meetings have already been held and civil society has organised to provide a concrete set of recommendations. The bank relies on country systems, and has assured the group that the projects fall in line with the ‘country-systems’ approach, focussing on limiting the damage from current systems (such as the retrofitting systems to address sulphur etc), while there is a general transition to cleaner energies. The NDB-CSO working group sees opportunities to engage with the bank through formalised civil society mechanisms, and has also requested to be able to work with the monitoring and evaluation officer to see the oversight processes for projects, which would include an overview of environmental and social oversight studies, project design, implementation, the oversight role of the NDB and evidence of participatory processes/community engagement. The group has been pushing for proactive disclosure and adequate outreach. Beyond this, key issues are that the bank adopts a gender transformation agenda and that it focuses on social infrastructure housing. So far, the ARC has been receptive to requests and civil society efforts will continue. The bank is exploring the idea of support to student housing, but we need to go beyond this to make sure that infrastructure is truly inclusive and sustainable.

It is clear that civil society can play a major role in promoting people-centred approaches to development as noted above, but it requires adequate support. We have been told in no uncertain terms by the SA government that there is no funding for civil society, or anything for that matter (as revealed in our recent budget speech). Therefore, empowering the work of civil society in the Global South requires flexible and adaptable funding. It is not sufficient to pay lip-service to engaging civil society from the South. 
 

Dr. Jacob Assa Moderator

Many thanks for this very important and useful example. It illustrates clearly how civil society is very often a key to linking sustainability and human development, by representing the voice of people in projects run by the state, banks or the private sector. It is the heart of the Third Pillar as recently discussed in Raghuram Rajan's book. And of course, funding is critical for civil society's engagement to become truly influential.

Amanda Lucey

[~359], agreed! The role of inclusive and multi-stakeholder processes was a key point in the BAPA+40 outcome document as well, but implementation will be key.

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

Great to have your input. Commendable efforts by civil society to engage with NDB, despite difficulties. Are there efforts to coordinate with CSOs in other countries, and expand into a sub-regional or regional effort? It may be that other countries are facing similar development related tradeoffs.

Amanda Lucey

[~360], yes there have been a number of efforts, both on the NDB and with colleagues from BRICS countries where we have tried to push for a formalisation of a civil-BRICS mechanism. What we hear from colleagues is that, given South Africa's openness to engaging civil society, there is an opportunity to take the agenda forward while political contexts in other countries are more constrained. But there are lessons learned from our experiences, which can be shared! Here is a link to a quick video on some of the work that has been done on BRICS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuUht9zk8EU

Poondla Karthik

Hi everyone,

I would like to bring two sources to everyone's attention -

1. Project Drawdown has found that educating women and girls, and providing them with family planning tools is one of the more effective ways of reducing carbon emissions (Link: https://drawdown.org/solutions/health-and-education).

2. 'What we're fighting for now is each other'  by Journalist Wen Stephenson - While written from an activist viewpoint, it illustrates how indigenous and marginal groups have already paid a price for mainstream carbon-intensive "development". A central idea in the book is that the world has been so slow to take action on Climate change and sustainability because the populations most impacted are usually the most voiceless - island nations, indigenous groups, small fishermen, etc. 

Climate Change is already affecting vulnerable groups in the global south, especially in the form of floods, heatwaves and droughts, but this is being disguised by rising aggregate standard of living.

The most vulnerable populations are the future generations which have yet to be born. As I understand it, the IPCC has several climate models, which can give a good idea of the economic and environmental impact of climate change decades in advance. Would it not be possible to integrate some of these models with the Human Development Index to provide a climate change adjusted HDI?

Dr. Jacob Assa Moderator

Many thanks for sharing these two very interesting resources! As for the climate modeling, we are looking into similar work done at the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital which has projections based on alternative assumptions about fertility, mortality, migration and educational transitions. These correspond to five shared socioeconomic pathways (SSP) and we are looking at how such metrics could potentially inform the HDI (either directly or as a supplementary index). However, this work is still at an early stage. 

Serigne Bassirou

Dear colleagues,
thank you for inviting us to participate in this important discussion on human development in the South.
It is important today to move away from the conception of development as expressed by the UNDP Human Development Index. Referring to the literature, it is possible to group criticisms of the HDI into three categories:
- those showing the limitations of the indicator as an effective measure of development because of the quality and availability of the data needed for its construction (MURRAY, 1993; SRINIVASAN, 1994),
-those that highlight the technical limitations of the tool (MCGILLIVRAY, 1991; GORMLEY, 1995; NOORBAKHSH, 1998; SAGAR and NAJAM, 1998; MAZUMDAR, 2003),
- and those that stress the need to incorporate additional crucial information into the indicator, particularly in terms of inequalities in the distribution of dimensions within the same population (UNDP, 1995; HICKS, 1997; SAGAR and NAJAM, 1998).

Our contributions fall into this last category.  The measurement of development should take into account the vulnerability of certain countries in the South. Vulnerability to climate change, in relation to public health (the current coronavirus pandemic is a perfect example). Measuring development should consider the robustness of health systems in Southern countries (number of doctors per 100 people, resources allocated to the health system, etc.).
The issue of inequalities should not be forgotten either, as the countries of the South are characterised by economic duality, which generates extraordinary inequalities in living conditions in these countries. 

Taking these aspects of development into consideration should make it possible to direct economic policy priorities towards sectors that allow for sustainable development in the countries of the South.
 

Dr. Jacob Assa Moderator

Many thanks for your detailed and thoughtful reply. The issue of inequalities has been addressed in the Inequality-Adjusted Human Development Index - IHDI. http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/inequality-adjusted-human-development-in…

As for vulnerabilities, that is an excellent point. Among the many available indicators, one interesting candidate is the EVI - measuring environmental and economic vulnerability - used by the UN Committee on Development Policy in the evaluation of Least Developed Countries (LDCs). https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/least-developed-country-catego…

vaqar.ahmed

This link provides recent thoughts on global systemic concerns connected to the SDGs. 
http://southernvoice.org/global-systemic-concerns-connected-to-the-sust…

The post invites to think towards those GSCs which developing countries need to consider and these will impact the pursuit of SDGs at a national and sub-national level. The ideas here have relevance to the concept note for this e-discussion. Will be happy to provide any further information in the coming days.  

Dr. Jacob Assa Moderator

Thank you for the link to this very interesting post. It correctly points out that some challenges - arms trafficking, trade and climate negotiations, and food security, for example - exist across borders, and thus require a global rather than just a national response. 

It also raised the important security dimensions of such challenges. Echoing SDG 16 on peaceful societies, it  highlighted the link between development and security, e.g. refugees movement and medical infrastructure.

Could you share with us more findings from this research program?

Ameena Al Rasheed

Dear Colleagues
This is a very important discussion on Sustainable human development pathways, it is equally significant that we note that countries around the globe have many to share, in terms of knowledge, good practices, success stories, challenges and opportunities ahead etc. Having said that, i believe it is always vital to learn from previous experiences and encounters, in building a development pathway that is humane and more focusing on people's welfare, such pathways when it comes to environmental policy, natural resource management, and overall path of development, must integrate robust policy with planned and directed structure that looks carefully into benefits generated from following it, We recall many great examples from the South, for example projects of solar energy in Eritrea and how it impacted lives and transformed communities, environmental degradation and polices adopted in many other African countries, helped in advancing and raising standards of living to wider community members. We can not address issues of sustainable human development pathways, without highlighting segments of our societies that have been marginalised and sidelined, we live in societies that are intrinsically patriarchal, and that limit women's opportunities, and subjected them to harsh living environment because of their gender. to measure the level of sustainability in human development paths, we must consider these groups of women, girls and, youth,
Without challenging the exclusionary discourses dominant in our societies it is impossible to plan paths for sustainable human development. Thus to build such sustainability, inclusiveness is a prerequisite, where we must adopt approaches and policies that takes into consideration issues of women, girls and youth and the impact sustainable human development paths can bring to their lives. In this instance we can highlight: the economic policies, legislations and socio economic structure, political decision making, how all impact women, girls and youth. There many examples out there, that all can benefit from, as cases of how women and youth managed to mobilise communities to advance youth and women participation in politics and to combat harmful practices and to combat diseases, etc. , 

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

Thank you for these insights. Sustainable development pathways cannot be designed in a vacuum. It is important to align them with other development priorities, keeping in mind the impact on people, especially the marginalized. This cannot be overemphasized. 
Can we request you to share some more information about some successful policies that you mention? Thank you in advance.

Dr. Shivani Nayyar Moderator

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the e-discussion on the topic of "Sustainable Human Development Pathways", which features a consultation for the upcoming global Human Development Report 2020 from UNDP. 

We are currently conducting research and consultations on the link between human development, on the one hand, and sustainability, on the other. One insight we’ve gained so far is that agriculture and natural resource management in many developing countries constitute an important link between human development and sustainability, as they provide livelihood for many people but also impacts on the environment. An example of an environmental policy with negative HD consequences was the introduction of Nile Perch in Lake Victoria. While the goal was to improve environmental adaptation, the result was industrialization of the fishing industry there and loss of employment for many local fishers.

Another major issue for both human development and sustainability is urbanization. For example, by 2030, over half of Africa’s population is expected to live in cities. This is not just a result of migration from rural areas, but in fact mostly (two-thirds) explained by higher population growth in urban areas. How do states, cities and communities manage this urban growth sustainably while respecting people’s freedoms and providing them with opportunities to achieve their full potential?

Countries in the South are some of the most impacted by climate change and natural resource degradation. In Asia, many sub-regions are facing water crises, with implications for agriculture and food security. Air pollution has become a major threat to health and life expectancy. At the same time, developing countries are working to find solutions to the challenges in achieving sustainable development. We are looking forward to your valuable inputs based on your research and experience.

One of the objectives this year is to bring sustainability into the Human Development Index (HDI). We particularly seek inputs on this. We are also looking to find innovative ways of measuring and tracking various dimensions of inequalities, which go beyond income inequality alone, and which have an impact on life chances and future prospects for individuals and countries. 

We look forward to an engaging e-discussion and to gaining insights that can help us evolve our thinking and conceptualization of the challenge posed by inequality. 

Best regards, Jacob and Shivani
 

Ameena Al Rasheed

Dear Shivani, Let me share these cases in brief:  from Eritrea's MDGs efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and early marriage, and infant high mortality rate : : Combating HIV/AIDS, The path adopted was facilitated by the fact that the mobilisation of communities to combat HIV/AIDS has been done at all levels, meaning, the Ministry of health, the ministry of Education and the justice ministry supported by the women's union and other civil society groups., All collaborated on one whole community programme, starting from education and information, with compulsory subject to teach at schools' level about HIV/AIDS, Awareness programmes and collaboration at different levels between the ministry of health and the ministry of education in tailoring one programme, to eradicate, inform and combat the disease. This approach and programme was very successful.
Early marriage, now given the diversity of the Eritrean society with 50% Muslims and 50% Christian the problem is common among the two communities, thus the government engagement in ending early marriage and advancing women education went the same path as combating HIV/AIDS adding to that a policy was adopted to stimulate families to advance their children girls in particular education, an education maintenance allowance was introduced for girls age 12 and above who will continue their education, the government will pay them monthly allowance, now this policy is relatively expensive, and Eritrea is a developing nation with many challenges, however when priorities are set right, the outcome will benefit the country at large, they manage to fight early marriage with great success and women were able to move forward and not to forget the efforts and role played by the women union in bringing about this change and in supporting women in rural area getting education, eventually college education were provided free for girls to attract more to join and to benefit from education. Another fascinating programme to tackle the high infant mortality rate, by admitting women of 12 to 14 weeks pregnant to hospital, facilitating place for the family husband and children to join and closely support the mother until she gives birth, mothers been under constant medical care and supervision helped in limiting the high mortality rate. These are few examples, from the Eritrean experiences there are more details and reports, and many good practices and success stories to share from this and many other experiences.   


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