Australia World Leader in Human Development
15 December 2015 at 11:27 am
Australia is the second best country in the world for human development, according to a report by the United Nations.
The latest Human Development Report by the United Nations Development Programme, found that Australia excelled in the areas of life expectancy, expected years of schooling and gross national income per capita.
Only Norway received a higher Human Development Index ranking.
The report also found that globally two billion people had been lifted out of “low human development” in the last 25 years, and that focus was now needed to galvanise the progress made.
The report, released at a ceremony in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, highlighted the need for governments to act now to ensure no one was left behind in the fast-changing world of work.
It said that governments should look beyond jobs to consider the many kinds of work, such as unpaid care, voluntary, or creative work that are important for human development.
United Nations Development Programme Administrator and former New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, emphasised the need for more inclusive and sustainable work opportunities.
“Decent work contributes to both the richness of economies and the richness of human lives,” Clark said.
“All countries need to respond to the challenges in the new world of work and seize opportunities to improve lives and livelihoods.”
The report found that 830 million people were classified as working poor, living on under $2 a day. Over 200 million people, including 74 million youth, were unemployed, while 21 million people were currently in forced labour.
Clark said the report also highlighted gender inequalities around the world.
She said while women carry out 52 per cent of all global work, glaring inequalities in the distribution of work remain.
Women were also less likely to be paid for their work than men, with three out of every four hours of unpaid work carried out by women.
“To reduce this inequality, societies need new policies, including better access to paid care services,” Clark said.
“Ensuring equal pay, providing paid parental leave, and tackling the harassment and the social norms that exclude so many women from paid work are among the changes needed.
“That would enable the burden of unpaid care work to be shared more widely, and give women a genuine choice on whether to enter the labour force.”
The full report can be downloaded here.