Vol. 5 Num 458 Thu. September 08, 2005  
Front Page

Human Development Index
Dhaka slips one notch down, ends last in S Asia

Bangladesh has ranked 139th among 177 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI) prepared by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with success in reducing child mortality and creating scope of education.

Although the UNDP report appreciated Bangladesh for its success in some social areas, including expansion of health facilities and income generation for women, the country still ranks the lowest among the seven countries of South Asia, slipping from the 138th position of last year.

The report said active partnership of civil society, proper utilisation of foreign aid, expansion of health facilities and creating scope for education have put Bangladesh in the Medium Human Development index.

Norway is leading the index while Japan ranked 11th, topping among the Asian countries. Among others, the USA ranked 10th, while Niger got the lowest position.

Sri Lanka topped in South Asia, ranking 93rd in the HDI, while the Maldives became 96th, India 127th, Bhutan 134th, Pakistan 135th and Nepal 136th.

Bangladesh shared the same points with Ghana but ranked just below the African country.

The Human Development Report 2005 subtitled "International cooperation at a crossroads: Aid, trade and security in an unequal world" prepared by the UNDP was released yesterday across the globe.

While releasing the report at city's IDB Bhaban, UNDP Resident Representative Larry Maramis said discrimination in the world trade and violence are holding back the development process of many developing countries.

The UNDP representative said if Bangladesh wants to improve its position in the HDI ranking, all political parties must work together to ensure human security.

"Foreign aid has played a significant role in financing food programme in Bangladesh's schools which inspired the parents to send their children, especially girls. As a result, two million girls are now getting education facilities," the report mentioned.

On the reduction of child mortality in Bangladesh the report said, "Had India been able to reduce their child mortality to the extent of Bangladesh, the lives of seven lakh children could have been saved in India."

Although Bangladesh experienced success in basic human development indicators, the country is still desperately poor, the report said adding, "The success of consecutive human development in Bangladesh demonstrates that low income is not a barrier to human development."

The report mentioned that the rich countries have failed to keep their promises they had made to the World Trade Organisation. It also said the poor countries are facing trade barriers to enter the markets of developed countries.

"The duty which the countries like Vietnam and Bangladesh pay for entering the US market is 10 times higher than for most of the countries in the European Union," according to the report.

Without removing the trade discrimination, aid will not work and without removing conflict in the developing countries, trade facilities will not be able to bring change in those countries, it added.

Citing Bangladesh's success in social areas, the UNDP representative said, "The success of Bangladesh towards attaining the Millenium Development Goal will inspire other countries."