25 Years of Human Development Thinking

HDialogue: 25th Anniversary Special Articles

How has Human Development contributed and influenced the international debate? What are the challenges ahead? Development leaders reflect on these issues in a special series of the HDialogue blog.

Helen Clark, Administrator United Nations Development Programme

It has been 25 years since the first Human Development Report (HDR) introduced a new concept for advancing human wellbeing which challenged the notion that the level of economic growth and of GDP per capita were the leading indicators of a country’s progress.

Time travel to the Global Launches of the Human Development Reports

18 cities around the world have hosted a global launch of a Human Development Report, an high level event that usually involves the head of state, the UNDP Administrator and the Director of HDRO.

Leading Commentators on Human Development

Over the last 25 years, Heads of States and Government, Nobel Laureates and others have contributed to the Human Development Reports. Here you have some of their insights and ideas.

Paul Streeten, Economics Professor

In 1990 the time had come for a broad approach to improving human well-being that would cover all aspects of human life, for all people, in both high-income and developing countries, both now and in the future. It went far beyond narrowly defined economic development to cover the full flourishing of all human choices.

Visualizing 25 Years of Human Development

Human Development Reports have been pioneers in measuring and visualizing human progress. This section displays some influential graphs and visualization that have contributed to advance new ideas.

The 2010 Report was the first to rigorously review longer-term human development trends—looking back at Human Development Index (HDI) indicators for most countries from 1970. Developing countries had made a dramatic progress in health, education and basic living standards in those three decades, with many of the poorest countries posting the greatest gains.

Human Development Awards for Excellence

Since 1990, more than 700 national and regional human developments reports have been published around the world. The following have been recognized with the Human Development Awards for Excellence.