In 2003 I was invited to become a Goodwill Ambassador for UNDP. I was delighted to accept because I have long been a firm believer in UNDP’s mission and in human development. People are born equal; everyone should have the same right to realize his or her potential as a human being. But although this should be the case it is often not so. Therefore, human development remains an important tool to help offer everyone equal access to services and opportunities.
UNDP has many reasons to celebrate the human development success story during this 25th anniversary year. And I am proud to have played a role in that story as a Human Development Champion.
I have seen at first hand, as a member of the advisory panel for two global human development reports, the amount of thought that goes into each report and pleased to have played a role in shaping both the 2006 report Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis and the 2007/08 report Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world. Both reports were important milestones in development thinking, helping to set the global agenda and influence debate worldwide.
This global leadership has been very important, but so too has the contribution at the national and local levels. UNDP has been involved in some 700 national human development reports. I remember well the quality of some of these reports when I assessed them as one of the judges for UNDP’s 2007 human development awards. The reports I read were of excellent quality. And I would like to congratulate all of the thousands of people who have been involved in similar reports over the past 25 years.
This quarter century of human development work has shown the impact that reports – global, regional, national and local - have had in many areas. They have been vehicles for innovative policy design. They have stimulated conceptual thinking and generated new measurements and understanding. Reports have influenced debate and policy making. And they have both built analytical capacity in societies around the world and helped marginalized people gain more influence on decisions regarding their own future.
In short, human development reports have inspired me and many others in our efforts to improve living conditions for everyone. Congratulations UNDP!