Küresel İnsani Gelişme Raporu Yeniden Açılışı


Remarks from

Mahmood A. Ayub

UNDP Resident Representative, Turkey

Swissotel, Ankara


Honorable Minister,
Mr. Tiktik
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Allow me to begin by thanking you all for attending this important event.

The UNDP’s Human Development Report 2007/2008 on Fighting Climate Change was launched worldwide on 27 November, 2007 by the UNDP Administrator, Mr. Kemal Dervis, jointly with President Lula of Brazil in Brazil. And it was launched simultaneously by us in Istanbul on that same day and in numerous countries on all continents.

However, given the importance of the subject, we felt that it would be important to re-launch it in Ankara.

The speaker after me will provide the technical details from the report. Let me provide the overall context for the report.

Ultimately of course climate change is a threat to all of humanity as a whole. But the report points out that it is the 2.6 billion poor of the world who face the immediate and most severe human costs of climate change. And the tragedy is that this constituency of the world’s poorest is being punished for an ecological crime that they did not perpetrate.

Let me illustrate this:

·        The United Kingdom, with a population of 60 million, alone emits more Carbon Dioxide than Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan and Vietnam together, with a total population of almost 500 million people.

·        The state of Texas in the United States, with a population of only 23 million, has a deeper footprint than the whole sub-Saharan Africa, with a population more than 30 times that of Texas.

Let me also demonstrate the magnitude of the human development problem within which this climate change is unfolding:

·        There are still around a billion people worldwide living on less than a dollar a day.

·        Almost one-third of children in less developed countries are underweight or stunted.

·        While in industrialized countries, clean water is now literally available at the twist of a tap, in the developing world some 1.1 billion people do not have access to a minimum amount of clean water.

·        The problem is even more serious when it comes to access to basic sanitation. No less than 2.6 billion people—half the population of the developing world—do not have access to basic sanitation.

·        In Ethiopia, being born during a drought year increases the probability of children being malnourished by 35%. This translates into some two million additional malnourished children in 2005

·        On current trends, only 32 countries out of 147 are on track to achieve the MDG on child mortality.

The report provides strong evidence of how ecological impacts of climate change will be transmitted to the poor. The authors warn that forces unleashed by global warming could stall and then reverse progress achieved over generations.

There are several threats to human development as a result of climate change:

·        First, the impact on agricultural productivity: The breakdown of agricultural systems as a result of increased exposure to drought, rising temperatures, and more erratic rainfall would leave up to 600 million more people facing malnutrition. The impact will be gravest on the semi-arid areas of sub- Saharan Africa with some of the highest concentrations of poverty in the world.

·        Second, the increase in water insecurity: An additional 1.8 billion people will face water stress, with large areas of South Asia and Northern China facing a grave ecological crisis as a result of glacial retreat and changed rainfall patterns.

·        Third, increased exposure to extreme weather events and collapse of ecosystems: Up to 330 million people in coastal and low-lying areas could be displaced through flooding and tropical storm activity. Over 70 million Bangladeshis, 22 million Vietnamese, and 6 million Egyptians could be affected by global warming-related flooding.

·        Finally, there will be increased health risks: An additional 400 million people will face the risk of malaria.

Drawing on this diagnosis, the report provides a number of recommendations for policy action, such as pricing carbon, stronger regulatory standards, supporting the development of low carbon energy provision, and international cooperation on finance and technology transfer.

Of course, these mitigation and adaptation measures will have costs to implement. But please note that the cost of avoiding dangerous climate change represents less than two-thirds of current world military spending.

Ladies and Gentlemen: let me finally talk briefly about another aspect of the Human Development Report. As many of you are already aware, this annual report also contains annexes in which the Human Development Index for 177 countries is provided and countries are ranked according to their performance on this index.

Let me explain that the Human Development Index (HDI) is a summary measure for monitoring long-term progress in the average level of human development in three basic dimensions:

·        A long and healthy life: which is measured by life expectancy at birth

·        Access to knowledge : which is measured by adult literacy and combined gross enrolment in primary, secondary and tertiary education

·        And a decent standard of living: measured by GDP per capita, in US Dollars at Purchasing Power Parity.

Please note that the Index does not include important indicators such as gender or income inequality, nor the more difficult to measure indicators like respect for human rights and political freedoms. But it does provide a broadened prism for viewing human progress and the complex relationship between income and well-being. And it is a great improvement on measuring welfare on the basis of GDP per capita alone.

I am pleased to say that Turkey’s HDI value in this year’s report is 0.775, which positions Turkey at 84 out of 177 countries. In last year’s Human Development Report, Turkey’s HDI value was 0.757, and Turkey ranked 92 out of 177 countries. Turkey has therefore gained 8 places in rank between last year’s report and this year.

I need to caution that some of this improvement is due to new data, especially on life expectancy and GDP per capita. But there is not much doubt that there has been some real improvement in Turkey’s index resulting largely from the rapid economic growth of the last five years or so.

Perhaps it is more meaningful to look at longer-term trends in the components of Turkey’s HDI. These indicators show that progress in Turkey has been consistent over the past fifteen years. During this period, the country has registered progress in all underlying indicators:

·        Life expectancy at birth increased by nearly seven years.

·        GDP per capita has increased rapidly, especially in the last few years.

·        Adult literacy and the combined gross enrolment ratio grew by nearly 10 and 14 percentage points, respectively.

While progress has been achieved, there is not much room for complacency. For example, Turkey’s current HDI index of 0.775 is well below the regional average of 0.916 for OECD countries. Its nearest “HDI neighbors” are Slovakia and Mexico, which ranked 42 and 52, respectively compared to Turkey’s 84th  ranking. What really pulls down Turkey’s index is the gross enrolment ratio. And if the HDI is adjusted for gender inequalities, the ranking of Turkey would come down to 111 instead of 84. This points to the need for continued focus on women’s empowerment in Turkey.

Let me conclude here and give a chance to our other distinguished main speakers. Thank you very much.

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