Rethinking human development: Concepts and measurements - ESCWA

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Rethinking human development: Concepts and measurements

ESCWA Publication: E/ESCWA/CL6.GCP/2021/TP.12


Country: Arab region

Publication Type: Reports & studies

Cluster: Governance and Conflict Prevention

Focus Area: 2030 Agenda

Initiatives: Governance and institution building, Development challenges

SDGs: Agenda 2030

Keywords: Human development, Human security, Institution building, Sustainable development, Gender equality, Decision-making, Measurement

Rethinking human development: Concepts and measurements

October 2022

People are the real wealth of a country. The basic objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy a long, healthy and creative life. This may appear to be a simple truth, but it is often forgotten in the immediate concern with the accumulation of commodities and financial wealth. For too long, there has been a preoccupation with wealth creation and material opulence. In that pursuit, it is often forgotten that development is all about people. In the preoccupation with economic growth, people have been systematically pushed towards the periphery of development debates and dialogues.

Human development is defined as a process of enlarging choices and creating opportunities for everyone. Every day, human beings make a series of economic, social, political and cultural choices. The ultimate objective of development is not to create more wealth, but to enhance the range of choices for every person. The human development framework shifted the development discourse from pursuing material opulence to enhancing human wellbeing, from maximizing income to expanding capabilities, from optimizing growth to enlarging freedoms.

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