As Guyana launches HDR ... Sustainability and equity part of government policy
– Dr. Ashni Singh
Written by Johann Earle
Friday, 11 November 2011 03:44
Source - Guyana Chronicle
Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh, at right, receives the report from UNDP’s Carlos del Castillo.
THE UNDP yesterday officially launched the Human Development Report in Guyana, and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, said that sustainability and equity, the focus of the report, form the core of the government’s policies and he lauded positive achievements as highlighted in the document.
The report was launched at the UNDP office, Brickdam, under the theme ‘Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All’.
The minister said that government has been guided by the publication which has once again provided useful information about what Guyana is doing in crafting policies.
The main messages of the 2011 study are that progress in human development is threatened by environmental and inequality threats; environmental threats hurt the poorest most; development aspirations of poor people must go hand in hand with enhanced sustainability; and equity and sustainability are inextricably linked and one must be achieved with the other.
The report said too that Guyana’s human development index (HDI) has improved during the past two decades. It moved from 0.489 in 1990, to 0.579 in 2000, to 0.629 in 2010, and then to 0.633 in 2011.
“We in Guyana are especially pleased to receive this report. We have historically, over the years, found the Human Development Report and products of its kind coming out of the United Nations system to be extremely useful tools in the crafting of our own development policy, and extremely valuable sources of information in our own policy making processes,” Dr. Singh said.
Those gathered for the Human Development Report at the UNDP office on Brickdam.
The minister said that the 2011 report is no exception.
“Once again, the UNDP has produced a document that provides a very useful snapshot of the various dimensions of human development and of the current state of affairs as it relates to these dimensions,” he said.
“We are especially pleased with the choice of theme for this 2011 report,” he said. “Today all that we do...every dimension of the policies that we implement, issues of sustainability and equity feature not just prominently, but at the top of the agenda, and literally permeate every aspect of what we do,” he said.
“Indeed, it has been our considered view that in examining issues of development, it is imperative that one takes not only an immediate term perspective, but that one takes full account of medium and long term implications. And we have argued that the long term context of the actions that we take today must be borne in mind as we craft policies in government,” he said, adding that any responsible government will ensure this.
“We have ourselves embraced this concept of long term sustainability in our own policy framework. I will say, too, that the nexus between sustainability and equity is an extremely important one, not only from a domestic standpoint, but also from a global standpoint,” he said.
“We believe that today the world is waking up to the fact that there cannot really exist development in one part of the world that ignores the interconnectedness of the world in which we live [and] the relatedness of our actions. Things that we do in one part of the world will literally affect the lives of others on the other side of the world,” he said. Illustrating this point, the minister spoke of the ravages of climate change and the contagious nature of financial crises.
“I am delighted that the 2011 report recognises explicitly in its text Guyana’s strong performance and strong standing as it relates to the environmental indicators, and also the legislative framework on environmental rights and the rights of the indigenous people,” he said. “We have consistently, over the years, and over generations, recognised the importance of responsible environmental policies. It is no accident that today we continue to have the vastness of the forest resources we have standing. That is the result of conscious and deliberate policy choices made over the years to sustain our forest resources,” he said.
Speaking at the launch, Carlos del Castillo, Officer in Charge of the UNDP in Guyana, thanked the minister for participating. He said that the report is an independent publication commissioned by UNDP. “HDR is recognised as an independent intellectual exercise and an important tool for raising awareness about human development around the world. It is translated into more than a dozen languages and launched in more than 100 countries every year,” he said.
He said that the 2011 report focuses on the challenges of sustainable and equitable progress.
“Human development, which is about expanding people’s choices, builds on shared natural resources. Promoting human development requires addressing sustainability locally, nationally and globally, and this can and should be done in ways that are equitable and empowering,” he said.
“This year, the intersection between environmental sustainability and equity were explored, he said, adding that sustainability is valued because future generations should have at least the same possibilities as people today.
“Similarly, all inequitable practices are unjust. People’s chances of better lives should not be constrained by factors that are outside of their control,” he said, speaking of the need for equity.