Climate Change Takes Centre-Stage as Discourse on Human Development Continues

May 6, 2016

Following the launch of the 2015 Human Development Report in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 14, 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and the Director of the Human Development Report Office and lead author of the report, Selim Jahan, UNDP in Zimbabwe is supporting the publication of a national human development report with a focus on “climate change and human development”.

“With Zimbabwe and the region currently affected by one of the worst El-Nino induced drought in decades, there is need to focus seriously on climate informed development programmes” UNDP Resident Representative, Bishow Parajuli said, adding that Zimbabwe like all countries in the region must intensify its efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change through enhancing water and soil management, scaling up of climate smart agriculture and renewable energy.

Echoing a similar theme, Dr M.J.M. Sibanda, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet said that climate change has impacted negatively on the lives of Zimbabweans, with the current El Nino drought affecting 3 million people. “In the circumstances, it is only logical that we should have our own domesticated 2016 National Human Development Report that addresses the challenges that have been brought about by climate change” said Dr Sibanda.

According to the 2015 Human Development Report, Zimbabwe’s Human Development Index value for 2014 is 0.509— which put the country in the low human development category—positioning it at 155 out of 188 countries and territories.  Zimbabwe’s 2014 HDI of 0.509 is above the average of 0.505 for countries in the low human development.

Furthermore, the report notes that Zimbabwe has made progress in key areas as follows.

  • Between 1980 and 2014, Zimbabwe’s HDI value increased from 0.437 to 0.509, an increase of 16.4 percent or an average annual increase of about 0.45 percent.
  • During the same period, mean years of schooling increased by 4.1 years and expected years of schooling increased by 4.4 years
  • Gender Inequality Index (GII) Zimbabwe has a GII value of 0.504, ranking it 112 out of 155 countries in the 2014 index. In comparison, Lesotho and Kenya are ranked at 124 and 126 respectively.

Commenting on the report, Dr Sibanda said: “This shows that although the country has made significant achievements, there are still opportunities for improvement.  Nevertheless, it can be appreciated that all the positive gains in the Human Development Index are reflective of the resilience of the Zimbabwean economy, and the Government’s commitment to its recovery.”

In his remarks, Mr Prince Mupazviriho Secretary, Environment, Water and Climate, stressed that climate change has a direct impact on human development in Zimbabwe “because more than 70% of the people depend on rain-fed agriculture and thereby depended on climate.” He explained that the Ministry is pursuing both policy and programme interventions on adaptation and mitigation to address climate change.

The 2015 Human Development Report ‘Work for Human Development’ calls for equitable and decent work for all. In doing so, it encourages governments to look beyond jobs to consider the many kinds of work, such as unpaid care, voluntary, or creative work that are important for human development. The report suggests that only by taking such a broad view can the benefits of work be truly harnessed for sustainable development.

Speaking at the global launch in Addis Ababa, United Nations Development Programme Administrator Helen Clark stressed the need for more inclusive and sustainable work opportunities saying that decent work “contributes to both the richness of economies and the richness of human lives. All countries need to respond to the challenges in the new world of work and seize opportunities to improve lives and livelihoods.”

The Human Development Report is an editorially independent publication of the United Nations Development Programme.

The event was attended by senior Government representatives, members of the UN, academia, the media as well as the private sector.