Mongolia has made huge strides in human development. With its HDI of 0.653 Mongolia is ranked 110 out of 187 countries in 2011. But much more importantly, Mongolia is among those 20 top countries with the fastest growth in human development. This is no small feat but it is also not immune to reversal
Opening Statement at the
National Launch of the
Global Human Development Report 2011 and
Consultation on National inputs to Rio+20
6 February 2012
UNDP Resident Representative
Your Excellency Minister Gandi
State Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and the chair of this meeting, Mr. Batsuuri N
Ladies and gentlemen.
Today, we welcome you to two events,
- the first is the launch of 2011 Global Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP);
- the second, a consultation on Mongolia’s preparations to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development that will take place in Rio in June this year.
I would like to thanks the Government of Mongolia for joining hands with us in organizing this important gathering and I would like to thank all of you, representatives of the Government, academia, international organizations, private sector, civil society and media, for making the time to participate and contribute to the discussions.
The theme of the Global Human Development for 2011 is “Sustainability and equity: A better future for all”.
Human development is about expanding people’s choices, freedoms and capabilities. The 2010 Human Development Reports (HDR) celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the concept of human development, emphasizing how equity, empowerment and sustainability expand people’s choices. The 2011 Report takes this one step further and looks into the links between environmental sustainability and equity – two of the biggest challenges that humanity faces today. It shows how, on the one hand, environmental degradations increases inequality through its negative impact on already disadvantaged people and how, on the other hand, inequalities in human development amplify environmental degradation. It points out that this is a potential vicious cycle if we are to treat these two issues, sustainability and equity, as separate and unlinked.
Global Human Development Reports, such as the one we are launching today, are think pieces. The research, they innovate, they challenge – all with the purpose of asking us to think and to change the way we do business so we can advance human development indices that have been established over the years, whether it is the Human Development Index, or the Gender Inequality Index, they assess different aspects of human development for countries, regions and globally. In this way, they point out advances or downturns in human development.
What the 2011 Report confirms to us once again, is that in almost all countries around the world there have been visible advances in living standards. But this Report also projects a very disturbing other trend: a very real reversal of those hard achieved gains in human development. It highlights that if environmental deterioration and social inequalities continue to intensify, the lease development countries will diverge downwards from global patterns of progress by 2050. Through its various examples it also points out that no country is immune to this reversal unless it makes environmental sustainability and equity its priorities. My colleagues, in their presentations will provide you some those examples.
Mongolia has made huge strides in human development. With its HDI of 0.653 Mongolia is ranked 110 out of 187 countries in 2011. But much more importantly, Mongolia is among those 20 top countries with the fastest growth in human development. This is no small feat but it is also not immune to reversal.
Today, Mongolia’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions, as well as its ecological footprint are twice as high as the countries within the same HDI range. Today, in Mongolia poverty is over 30%. Unless Mongolia takes decisive steps to address poverty, social insecurity, and unequal opportunities on the one hand, and challenges such as climate change, ecosystem degradation, desertification and the like, on the other, there is a very real possibility that those gains that pub Mongolia in the top 20 will be reversed.
Ladies and gentlemen,
20 years ago, the world gathered in Rio at an Earth Summit to debate how to sustain our planet. They came up with a plan – Agenda 21, which became the blueprint for sustainable development in the world. This year, World Leaders are gathering once again in Rio, at the Global Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20 for short, to reaffirm their political commitment for sustainable development, assess progress and identify new and emerging challenges as well as means to address those challenges.
Rio+20 will be a historic opportunity to reshape the development agenda for a more equitable, greener, safer and prosperous world.
Mongolia is also preparing for Rio+20. And UNDP along with the UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs (DESA) is supporting the process. As a first step, a team of national experts have been tasked to review progress on Mongolia’s Agenda 21. They have looked at what has been achieved, which gaps remain, as well as the challenges and opportunities for sustainable development. Now, they and the Government, which is leading these efforts, need you inputs to take the preparations to the next level. A national report based on national consensus on the issues identified needs to be prepared. This second part of our meeting today, is the first step in that direction. I strongly encourage you take advantage of this event and take active part in the Rio+20 preparations.
One of the key themes to be discussed at Rio+20 will be “green economy for sustainable development and poverty eradication”. Many Governments are investing in resource-efficient-green-economies as means for growth, as means for generating decent jobs and for eliminating persistent poverty. The shift towards green economy is happening at an enormous scale and rate. This reason is very simple: in a green economy, thanks to substantial advances in energy efficiency, global demand for energy is projected to go down by 40%. Investing in a green economy makes business sense. But is also makes sense for equitable and sustainable human development. Sustainability and equity once again come together.
Mongolia has taken significant steps to address the negative impacts of climate change. The Government has made huge strides in reshaping its environment sector policy, reforming the environmental legislative framework and formulating a green development strategy. I would like to strongly commend them for these progressive actions. Yet, there is much that remains not only to ensure environmental sustainability in Mongolia but also to reduce inequality and persistent poverty among Mongolians.
I hope that this meeting today will provide some new thinking and open new avenues for progress in both. In concluding I would like to thank Her Excellency Ms. Gandi for her very strong commitment and advocacy with the UN on Human Development. I would like also like to thank through Ms. Batsuuri, the Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism for their very effective and active partnership on all these issues and in today’s event. We look forward to continue our cooperation with both Ministries and the other stakeholder in this important road to Rio.
I wish you fruitful discussions,