human development and sustainability according to the un human development index
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There are seven billion people alive today. Approximately one billion people live in developed countries. The other six billion people live in developing countries, where many of them barely survive on less than $2 or even $1 a day.

  • The one billion people who live in developed countries control 70 per cent of the global resources. This leaves the other six billion people to survive on 30 per cent of the world’s resources.
  • Populations in poor countries are growing much faster than populations in wealthier countries. Some two billion more people will be born, mostly in developing countries, over the next 25 years.
human development and sustainability
Human Development and Sustainability
  • Human Development and sustainability are 2 concepts that provide another way of looking at the differences and similarities between countries around the world.
  • The two classification methods which we have looked at are BROAD GROUPING and MORTALITY STRATA.
  • They can be limiting because…
mortality strata
Mortality Strata

Broad Grouping

human development
Human Development
  • The basic purpose of human development is to enlarge peoples choices. The objective of human development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long healthy and creative lives.
  • People are the real wealth of nations, therefore it is about people having more choices in order to lead the life they value.
human development definition
Human development (definition)
  • Creating an environment in which people can develop

to their full potential and lead productive, creative lives

in accord with their needs and interests. It is about

expanding people’s choices and enhancing capabilities

(the range of things people can be and do), having access

to knowledge, health and a decent standard of living, and

participating in the life of their community and decisions

affecting their lives.

human development1


Human Development
  • Is defined by the UN as ‘creating an environment in which people can develop their full potential and lead productive, creative lives in accordance with their needs and interests.’
  • It is about expanding peoples choices and enhancing capabilities (the range of things people can be and do)
    • have access to knowledge
    • Be able to lead long healthy lives
    • Be able to participate in decisions that affect their lives
human development2
Human Development
  • In order to improve Human Development people need to build on certain capabilities (the range of things they can do and be). Some of these include
    • have access to knowledge
    • Be able to lead long healthy lives
    • Be able to participate in decisions that affect their lives
human development index hdi
Human Development Index (HDI)
  • Measuring the HD of a country is impossible. There are many aspects of peoples lives that need to be taken into account, and to collect all this info is IMPOSSIBLE!
  • The UN has HOWEVER developed a system that attempts to reflect the level of HD being experienced in different countries and regions.
  • This is known as the HDI and uses 3 indicators to estimate the level of HD.
human development3


Human Development
  • A measurement of human development which combines indicators of life expectancy, educational levels and income. The Human Development Index provides a single statistic which can be used as a reference for both social and economic development.
human development index hdi1


Human Development Index (HDI)
  • To measure human development of a country the Dimensions and Key Indicators are looked at

life expectancy — an indication of how long a person can expect live, it is the number of years of life remaining to a person at a particular age if death rates do not change (AIHW, 2008)

  • mean years of schooling — the average number of years of education achieved by those aged 25 years and over
  • expected years of schooling — the number of years of education expected for a child of school entrance age
  • Gross National Income per capita — the overall income of a country after expenses owing to other countries have been paid, divided by the population of the country.
  • Gross national income
    • A measure that reflects the economic state of a country. GNI is the total income generated by a country in a 12 month period once expenses owing too other countries have been paid.
    • Of a country or average income
    • Although economic wealth is associated with better health outcomes and improved well being, wealth is rarely distributed evenly.

Use the mapping feature on the Canadian Geographic website:

  • Map of HDI
  • Data on all countries

Access the Human Development Report to research this indicator and analyse differences between countries:

measuring human development
Measuring Human Development
  • The human development rank countries into 4 quartiles according to their Human Development Index.
      • Very High Human Development
      • High Human Development
      • Medium Human Development
      • Low Human Development

The only quartile considered developed is number 1. The rest are considered developing although the level of development varies considerably among these countries.



  • Refers to- Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
sustainable human development 3 dimensions
Sustainable human development – 3 dimensions
  • The united nations consider 3 dimensions of sustainability
    • Economic Sustainability- refers to the capacity of future generations being able to earn an income, have resources and economic growth over time
    • Social Sustainability – this relates to future generations having the same or improved access to social resources – such as human rights, political stability, education
    • Environmental Sustainability – ensuring the natural environment is utilised in ways that preserve resources

Use the glossary on the WHO website ( to find definitions for the following terms:

  • Development
  • Sustainable development
animation human development report 2013 the rise of the south
Animation: Human Development Report 2013: The Rise of the South
sustainability of programs and strategies
Sustainability of programs and strategies
  • In order for a country to improve the health status of its population and increase the capacity for individuals to lead productive, creative lives in accordance with their needs and interests, strategies and programs that focus on addressing the underlying causes of morbidity and mortality are vital.
  • These strategies and programs must address
    • the long-term needs of individuals and communities.
  • When aid workers leave the communities
    • it is important that the programs continue and are sustainable.
  • In order to ensure sustainability, programs must include the elements of appropriateness,



  • Appropriateness means that the implemented program addresses the specific needs of a targeted community or population.For instance, if a community has high child mortality rates as a result of malaria, then a program aimed at improving access to insecticide-treated nets and anti-malarial medication would be required.
  • Strategies must also take into account the social, cultural and political aspects of the community; implemented programs must be culturally sensitive if they are to be sustainable. For example, an education program needs to take into account that males in families are more likely to attend school than females. Therefore, the related strategy needs to focus on females and ways to encourage families to send their daughters to school. The provision of separate male and female classes and the provision of separate toilet facilities are possible solutions.
  • To ensure the appropriateness, and therefore the sustainability, of implemented programs, it is important that the following key elements are taken into consideration.

Involve the people. Involving the local communities in the design, implementation and evaluation of projects will empower people and increase the likelihood of them taking ownership of the project.

  • If local people are involved in implementing a program, they will develop skills that can be used to ensure the program continues once outside assistance ceases. This is important for building social sustainability.
  • Choose the right aid to reach poor people.Programs must focus on providing services and resources that meet the most urgent needs of local communities. Basic necessities such as the provision of clean water and sanitation are important in developing a foundation for positive health outcomes and ensuring economic and environmental sustainability.

Focus on involving and educating women. Gender inequality continues to be an issue for many developing countries, with women in general having lower social status, lower levels of education, less access to health services and less opportunity for higher-paid employment. Women are responsible for the majority of agricultural and domestic work, including the care of children. It is therefore important that women are the focus of health and education programs. By empowering women, families and communities become empowered, and social and economic sustainability is achieved.

  • Focus on education.Education is one of the keys to good health and human development. Literate individuals are more likely to be employed and have the income to access the resources required for a decent standard of living. Literacy also has a positive impact in terms of understanding health issues and how and where to access services. This helps to build social and economic sustainability.
  • Ensure programs are culturally appropriate. Programs must consider the cultural values of the community into which they are to be implemented to ensure social sustainability
  • Ensuring the affordability of programs is important at the individual, community and national level, and helps ensure economic sustainability. At the individual and community level, implemented programs must take into consideration the fact that people living in poverty do not have the money to access programs and resources in a user-pays system. Therefore, organisations responsible for the implementation of specific programs must consider how they are to be funded so that individuals are not required to pay.
  • People with little or no money are unlikely to access health-related programs if there is a cost involved. Funding, whether it be from government or non-government organisations, must be provided to ensure that programs are offered free of charge if the country is to gain maximum health benefits. Consideration must also be given to how the program might be continued once the organisation leaves the community.

Improving health contributes to the achievement of human development and sustainability, as individuals who are able to work and participate in society are more able to lead productive and creative lives in accordance with their needs and interests. As the income-earning capacity of individuals within a community increases, so does a country’s Gross National Income. This enables the country to provide much-needed resources such as clean water, sanitation and health care. This, in turn, further promotes the health of individuals and communities and assists in ensuring human development. As the cycle continues, human development becomes sustainable.


At a community level, providing services and infrastructure is often costly, and as a result the local government may not be able to meet the associated costs. Developing countries that do not have the resources to develop their own infrastructure may need to access resources and expertise from another country, and the cost may be far too expensive. For a country to develop and implement economically and socially sustainable programs, affordability of services and infrastructure is a key consideration for donor countries and organisations.

  • To ensure that individuals are not denied access simply because they cannot afford it, countries must analyse how they finance their own health systems. In order to make health care available to all, governments need to allocate funding for health services and ensure that the cost of accessing health is not so expensive that an individual will be unable to pay for care or will become poor as a result of trying to do so.
  • Donor countries and organisations can help to make health care sustainable in developing countries.
e quity
  • In order for implemented programs to be sustainable, they must be equitable in terms of providing opportunities and meeting the needs of all individuals and community groups. Many groups within society, such as women, the disabled, those living in remote locations and those living in extreme poverty, often lack the opportunities provided to others. Eliminating barriers to resources such as education, employment, food, water, sanitation and health care is essential if human development is to be sustainable across the population.
  • Equitable programs address any barriers that may prevent vulnerable groups accessing the required resources. This can be done through:
    • creating policies that act to improve and protect the environments in which vulnerable groups live, such as urban slums and rural and remote areas
    • funding the most urgent needs of vulnerable groups. This may include medication for those infected with HIV, or clean water for those who currently do not have access to a safe water supply.
    • providing education for vulnerable groups
    • developing programs in urban slums and in rural and remote areas
    • ensuring health care is provided based on clinical need as opposed to the ability to pay.