Too many lives scarcely touched by human development progress, UN report finds

Mar 30, 2017

Tackling discrimination, joblessness, and unequal political participation key to countries’ progress, UNDP’s latest global Human Development Report finds

Kyiv, 30 March 2017 Ukraine and other countries could see inequalities and exclusion rise sharply if measures are not taken to protect vulnerable groups from unemployment, discrimination and shocks. Women and girls, rural dwellers, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees, and the LGBTI community, are among those systematically excluded by economic, but also political, social and cultural barriers.

These are among the findings of the Human Development Report 2016 entitled ‘Human Development for Everyone’, released on 21 March in Stockholm, Sweden by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and launched on 30 March in Kyiv, Ukraine.

“Averages conceal inequalities”, said Neal Walker, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine. “We must look below the averages, and it becomes clear that a significant number of lives have scarcely been touched by progress the Human Development index records”.

In Ukraine, there are 1.7 million internally displaced persons, 2.8 million people with disabilities, about 60% live below the poverty line defined as actual substance minimum. The disadvantage they face is multidimensional. The report shows that certain groups face disadvantages that often overlap and reinforce one another, increasing vulnerability, widening the generational gap, and making it harder to catch up with others who enjoy higher standards of living.

“Despite impressive human development gains, many people in both developed and developing countries are being left behind. We need to develop a better understanding of which groups are more disadvantaged than others, and why”, said Blerta Cela, Deputy Country Director of UNDP Ukraine. “We also need to pay more attention to the broader view of development, that recognizes the importance of harder-to-measure aspects, such as voice and empowerment.”

It is time to eliminate development obstacles

The report calls for the provision of decent jobs and access to basic services, and recognizes the importance of giving vulnerable groups in particular greater participation, autonomy and a voice in decision-making processes.  Key data, disaggregated for characteristics such as place, gender, age, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity is also vital to know who is being left behind, the authors add.  

In Ukraine, the Human Development Index measured in the report is at 0.743 - 84 out of 188 countries and territories. Since 1990, HDI value increased by 5.2 percent; life expectancy at birth increased by 1.3 years, mean years of schooling increased by 2.2 years and expected years of schooling increased by 2.9 years, GNI per capita decreased by 31.9 percent. However, Ukraine remains below the average for countries in the high human development group and below the average for countries in the Europe and Central Asia region.

Human Development for everyone is attainable

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development holds the promise of sharing the benefits of development more evenly among different groups and generations. The report offers recommendations to reorient policies to ensure progress reaches those furthest behind and points to several positive examples from the region.

Ukraine, despite some regress in the Human Development Index, has adopted and is implementing a comprehensive package of critical reforms, such as health, education and social security reforms, land and deregulation reforms, public administration, anti-corruption and law enforcement reforms and many other changes.

The ultimate outcome of these reforms should be progress in human development for every person in Ukraine, with no exception and leaving no one behind.


ABOUT THIS REPORT: The Human Development Report is an editorially independent publication of the United Nations Development Programme. For free downloads of the 2016 Human Development Report, plus additional reference materials on its indices, please visit:

Media inquiries:

Yevgeniy Zelenko, UNDP Ukraine Media Officer | +38 044 254 0035 |

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Ukraine 
Go to UNDP Global