The rise of the South is radically reshaping the world of the 21st century, with developing nations driving economic growth, lifting hundreds of millions of people from poverty, and propelling billions more into a new global middle class, says the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) 2013 Human Development Report.
“The rise of the South is unprecedented in its speed and scale,” the 2013 Report says. “Never in history have the living conditions and prospects of so many people changed so dramatically and so fast.”
…The Report shows that more than 40 developing countries have made greater human development gains in recent decades than would have been predicted. These achievements, it says, are largely attributable to sustained investment in education, health care and social programmes, and open engagement with an increasingly interconnected world.
- China and India doubled per capita economic output in less than 20 years—a rate twice as fast as that during the Industrial Revolution in Europe and North America. “The Industrial Revolution was a story of perhaps a hundred million people, but this is a story about billions of people,” says Khalid Malik, the 2013 Report’s lead author.
- By 2020, the Report projects, the combined output of the three leading South economies—China, India, Brazil—will surpass the aggregate production of the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy and Canada.
- With living standards rising in much of the South, the proportion of people living in extreme income poverty worldwide plunged from 43 percent in 1990 to 22 percent in 2008, including more than 500 million people lifted from poverty in China alone. As a result, the world has already achieved the main poverty eradication target of the Millennium Development Goals, which called for the share of people living on less than US$1.25 a day to be cut by half from 1990 to 2015.
- Developing countries nearly doubled their share of world merchandise trade from 25 percent to 47 percent between 1980 and 2010, the Report notes. Trade within the South was the biggest factor in that expansion, climbing from less than 10 percent to more than 25 percent of all world trade in the past 30 years, while trade between developed countries fell from 46 percent to less than 30 percent. Trade between countries in the South will overtake that between developed nations, the Report projects. Increasing openness to trade correlates with rising human development achievement in most developing countries….
Environmental inaction, especially regarding climate change, has the potential to halt or even reverse human development progress in the world’s poorest countries and communities, the Report warns. The number of people in extreme poverty could increase by up to three billion by 2050 unless environmental disasters are averted by coordinated global action, it says.
…Projections in the Report examine the potential demographic impact of ambitious national education policies similar to those implemented in recent decades by the Republic of Korea. The forecast suggests that faster educational progress also substantially reduces child mortality, the direct result of improvements in girls’ opportunities for continued education and the well-documented benefits for children of having a well-educated mother. In India, for example, accelerated education progress such as that in the Republic of Korea could cut child mortality by as much as half in future generations.
Educating women through adulthood is the closest thing to a “silver bullet” formula for accelerating human development, the Report’s research shows.
…Severe poverty remains a major problem throughout much of the developing world, the Report stresses. An estimated 1.57 billion people, or more than 30 percent of the population of the 104 countries studied for the Report, live in what it terms “multidimensional” poverty, including 612 million people in India.
The full statement from which these excerpts were taken is available at http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/hdr/human-development-report-2013/
Full 2013 Human Development Report is available at http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/corporate/HDR/2013GlobalHDR/English/HDR2013%20Report%20English.pdf
A summary of the report is available at http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/corporate/HDR/2013GlobalHDR/English/HDR2013%20Summary%20English.pdf.