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UNDP Urges Swift Action and New Directions to Advance Asia-Pacific’s Human Development

UNDP Urges Swift Action and New Directions to Advance Asia-Pacific’s Human Development

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Dili, May 27th, 2024 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Timor-Leste presented today, at the Museum of Timorese Resistance, the 2024 Asia-Pacific Human Development Report (RHDR), titled Making our Future: New Directions for Human Development in Asia and Pacific.

The Asia-Pacific region is lurching towards an era of unmet aspirations, worsening inequalities, and a steady erosion of democratic spaces. Rising global tensions, new technologies, growing polarization, and existential threats linked to climate change threaten to disrupt improvements in well-being the region has seen in past decades, says the report from the United Nations Development Program.

The 2024 Asia-Pacific Human Development Report, launched in Timor-Leste today, paints a qualified picture of long-term progress, but also persistent disparity and widespread disruption, foreseeing a turbulent development landscape and urgently calling for new directions to boost human development.

This landmark study highlights the critical need for innovative strategies to address unmet expectations, increased human insecurity, and possible future volatility throughout Asia-Pacific, including Timor-Leste.

Katyna Argueta, UNDP Timor-Leste Resident Representative, emphasized the significance of the report: “Published annually, the Human Development Reports (HDRs), have had an extensive influence on the development debate worldwide and has led to a paradigm shift in the understanding of ‘development’, away from the narrow confines of economic growth to a focus of “poverty as a denial of choices and opportunities for living a full life” adding that “Building a safe, prosperous and fair Timor-Leste is a task that requires the efforts of all sectors of society and government. The United Nations Development Program provides ideas that catalyze those aspirations and support the efforts to end poverty in all forms and ensure that all Timorese can reach their potential with peace, equality, and dignity in a healthy environment.”

The report identifies three converging ‘risk clusters’ that threaten human development in the region: existential threats from climate change and pandemics, economic challenges from shifting globalization and automation, and a decline in democratic spaces and rising polarization. Despite these challenges, the report offers a hopeful vision for the future, emphasizing the need for people-centered strategies, recalibrated growth approaches, and robust governance reforms.

“The report states that economic growth is important, but it advocates for the ‘right kind of growth’: the one that generates jobs and creates a better future for people. In Timor-Leste this would primarily require diversifying the economy, addressing informality, and investing into skills development,” said Artemiy Izmestyev, UNDP’s Country Economist.

The Regional Human Development Report launch in Timor-Leste, held in the Museum of Timorese Resistance was attended by many Government, Diplomatic, and Development Partners stakeholders.

In his keynote address, José Ramos Horta, President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, praised UNDP for developing the Regional Human Development Report, highlighted the importance of water for life on Earth and stated that “investment is not just the money. We need wisdom and intelligence to identify the challenges and then, to be realistic and define the priorities,” urging that “a lot has been done, but we can do more and better.”

UNDP Timor-Leste looks forward to continuing to work with the government, civil society, and international partners to implement the recommendations of the RHDR based on the priorities of Timor-Leste. Together, we can create a resilient and inclusive future for Timor-Leste, ensuring that no one is left behind.

 

Journalist: Camilio de Sousa

Editor: Filomeno Martins

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