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.

Selim Jahan, Director of the Human Development Report Office

A concept is always broader than any of its proposed measures. Any suggested measure for any concept cannot fully capture the richness, the breadth and the depth of the concept itself. This is true of the notion of human development as well. In principle human choices can be infinite and change over time.

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.

Dr. Juan Somavia, former Director General of the International Labour Organization

In today’s world defending the dignity of work is a constant uphill struggle. Prevailing economic thinking sees work as a cost of production, which in a global economy has to be as low as possible in order to be competitive. It sees workers as consumers who because of their relative low wages need to be given easy access to credit to stimulate consumption and wind up with incredible debts.

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.

As this graph shows, over the last two decades a significant number of countries have progress to higher human development achieving higher human development levels. For instance, out of the 47 countries that were in the low human development group in 1990, 16 have moved to the medium human development group.