Samoa has joined the global launch of the latest Human Development Report


Samoa has joined the global launch of the latest Human Development Report (HDR), “Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a Transforming World”, by hosting its own launch event today at the One UN House, Tuanaimato.

The Report’s launch coincided with the re-launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) billboards, located on the front lawn of the One UN House compound at Tuanaimato, in a constant effort to localize the Global Goals by using images from the people of the four countries that we serve through the Samoa Multi-Country Office Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau.

“In recognition of the intrinsic link between the key findings of the HDR and the Global Goals, today we are also re-launching the SDG billboards, a very visible form of the localization and acceleration of the SDGs in Samoa,” said UNDP’s Resident Representative, Jorn Sorensen.

“These SDG billboards are a constant reminder of the importance of the work we all do, and the urgency with which we should address the pressing issues of our time.

“Every time you see these billboards, may they inspire and encourage you to keep going, keep doing your part in the collective work we do for the people and communities we serve, and to do so with a sense of urgency and compassion.

“We can accomplish a lot if we work together towards shared goals.”

The HDR is UNDP’s flagship report, covering 191 countries and territories worldwide. The HDR has been compiled and published by UNDP since 1990, introducing a new approach for advancing human wellbeing.

The human development approach is about expanding the richness of human life, rather than simply the richness of the economy.

For Samoa, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Human Development Index of Samoa has slightly declined, making the country one of the nine in 10 impacted by the uncertain times and unsettled lives phenomena.

Among the components of the index that showed a slight change is the drop in gross national income per capita, a reflection of the COVID-19 impacts on supply chains and the productive sectors of the economy, especially tourism.

This highlights the vulnerability of small island developing states (SIDS) to external shocks.

The Report also continues to unearth gender and inequality issues in the country. Even though women showed a marked gender gap of 7.8% above men in the attainment of secondary education, their participation in parliament is still very limited despite the important gains in the education sector, with only 13% of women among Members of Parliament, and only seven women MPs out of 54 MPs.

“Whilst these findings may seem bleak to a large extent, the Report also highlights that there is opportunity in uncertainty. The growing mismatch between the world as it really is and conventional ways of understanding and doing things is an opportunity to do something new, something different.

“Doubling down on human development will help us navigate the future and unleash people’s potential to be agents of change,” said Mr Sorensen.

The Report suggests three ways to help navigate – and even thrive in – our global uncertainty complex.

Smart, practical investments remain vital. From renewable energy to preparing for pandemics and natural hazards, investment should ‘connect the dots’, protecting people from shocks, building economic and food security, and promoting national and global public goods. Insurance and social protection need to be revitalized.

“We need to move towards a broader sharing of risk, particularly for universal basic services such as education and healthcare.

This will encourage innovation and entrepreneurship: people won’t try new things if it means gambling with their family’s health and education.

Innovation – technological, economic or cultural – will be at the heart of successfully tackling the challenges that lie ahead.”

The Report acknowledges that development is also about change: charting new paths forward into the unknown, guided by the SDGs, and realising that our best world is still ahead of us.