Human Progress in a Diverse World
The 21st century is witnessing a profound shift in global dynamics, driven by the fast-rising new powers of the developing world. China has overtaken Japan as the world’s second biggest economy, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in the process. India is reshaping its future with new entrepreneurial creativity and social policy innovation. Brazil is raising its living standards by expanding international relationships and antipoverty programmes that are emulated worldwide. But the “Rise of the South” is a much larger phenomenon. Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and other developing countries are becoming leading actors on the world stage. The 2013 Human Development Report identifies more than 40 developing countries that have done better than expected in human development in recent decades, with their progress accelerating markedly over the past 10 years.
The 2013 Human Development Report presents the contemporary global context and charts a path for policymakers and citizens to navigate the increasing interconnectedness of the world and to face the growing global challenges. It describes how the dynamics of power, voice and wealth in the world are changing-and identifies the new policies and institutions necessary to address these 21st century realities and promote human development with greater equity, sustainability and social integration.
Progress in human development requires action and institutions at both the global and national levels.
At the global level, institutional reforms and innovation are required to protect and provide global public goods. At the national level, state commitment to social justice is important, as is the reality that one-size-fits-all technocratic policies are neither realistic nor effective given the diversity of national contexts, cultures and institutional conditions. Nevertheless, overarching principles such as social cohesion, state commitment to education, health and social protection, and openness to trade integration emerge as means of navigating towards sustainable and equitable human development.
The rise of the South presents new opportunities for generating a greater supply of public goods
A sustainable world requires a greater supply of global public goods. Global issues today are increasing in number and urgency, from mitigation of climate change and international economic and financial instability to the fight against terrorism and nuclear proliferation. They require a global response. Yet in many areas, international cooperation continues to be slow-and at times dangerously hesitant. The rise of the South presents new opportunities for providing global public goods more effectively and for unlocking today’s many stalemated global issues.
“Publicness” and “privateness” are in most cases not innate properties of a public good but social constructs. As such, they represent a policy choice. National governments can step in when there is underprovision at the national level, but when global challenges arise, international cooperation is necessary and can happen only by voluntary action of many governments. Given the many pressing challenges, progress in determining what is public and what is private will require strong, committed personal and institutional leadership.