About the Reports


This toolkit has been written for anyone involved in writing a national or regional human development report. It offers a concise, step by step overview of the whole reporting process, from theme selection, through report preparation and project oversight, to a communication strategy. Each national and regional human development report is different in scope, analysis and background and so there can be no “one size fits all” set of instructions. Instead this tool kit looks at the overall process and some of the key steps and decisions that are required during the preparation of every report. It offers advice and resources that we hope will be useful to those involved with a report, particularly the members of a report team.

The responsibility for the quality of a national or regional human development report rests with the UN resident representative (for national reports) or bureau director (for regional reports). UNDP has agreed quality assurance guidelines which lay out the organisations views on what constitutes a high quality human development report. This toolkit should be read in conjunction with those guidelines which stress the importance, for every human development report, of impartial high quality analysis; strong local ownership built on inclusive engagement; and an effective communications strategy to ensure a report makes an impact.

What are National and Regional Human Development Reports?

Since 1992 over 700 other human development reports have been prepared since 1992 at national, regional and local levels from in 135 countries.

National and regional Human Development Reports represent a locally led movement for change. The production of the reports contributes significantly to national capacities to gather and analyses data relevant to human development. Through excellence in research - in an atmosphere of editorial independence - Human Development reporting transforms goals for poverty reduction and human development into benchmarks, plans and approaches for national, regional and international action. The reports make recommendations for change that generate attention and debate among stakeholders and policy makers, and they raise public awareness of ideas about human development. They promote resource mobilization in key areas of development and trigger responses to the needs of the most vulnerable in society. Reports – and the process of preparing them – can trigger broad discussions in a country or region that bring together many disparate voices. They offer both a means of gathering intelligence on a nation’s development priorities as well a means of developing innovative, and locally-owned, ways to address these priorities. As such the reports can be especially helpful to an organisation like UNDP that wishes to maintain an influential, yet apolitical, presence in a country or region.