Multidimensional Progress: well-being beyond income

Human Development Report for Latin America and the Caribbean - UNDP

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has published its Human Development Report for Latin America and the Caribbean. This time it focuses on “multidimensional progress”, a concept that the report develops and defines as “a development space with regulatory limits –nothing that reduces the rights of people and communities or threatens environmental sustainability can be considered progress“.

The report highlights that although around 72 million people in Latin America were lifted out of poverty between 2003 and 2013, an estimated 25 to 30 million are currently at risk of being pulled back in. In light of this, it argues that it is essential to build resilience through four key factors: (i) universal social protection, (ii) expanded care systems, (iii) encouraging greater access to financial services and physical assets and, (iv) developing better labour skills.

The report has into three sections:

  • The first part analyses the region’s economic development as well as its social, work and educational achievements over the same period. Whereas in 2002 42% of Latin America’s population lived in conditions of poverty, a decade later this figure had dropped to 24%. This means that 72 million people are no longer below the poverty line. However, poverty reduction has slowed recently.
  • The second part analyses the need for public policies to protect the progress made in the region and makes recommendations for the design of new strategies for the labour market, in education, care systems and social protection. It points to the challenges posed by the high penetration of informal jobs and low productivity, regressive tax systems, the poor quality of education, the segmentation in social protection systems and the lack of care systems.
  • Finally, the report addresses the challenges for the future in the region: building on capabilities in people, homes and communities to achieve multidimensional progress that makes it possible to eradicate multiple dimensions of poverty.