2.2 Production

The figure lists possible steps in drafting and publishing a national or regional Human Development Report. For convenience of presentation and understanding, the steps in this module are segregated from the steps in the modules on research and analysis. In practice the two areas happen together.

1. Identify the Target Audience

Determine the target audience of the HDR — the groups at which the messages of the HDR are principally aimed — through consultation among the main stakeholders and partners. The target audience might encompass government policy makers, development donor agencies, educators and academic experts in development, private sector actors with special ties to the theme of the report, representatives of populaton groups that are particularly affected by the theme of the report, leading members of relevant non-governmental and civil society organizations, youth groups and women’s organizations, and so on. It is important to craft the messages in the report with a view to communicating directly with the target audience. Moreover, the contribution of the target audience should be sought during the drafting process. Because the target audience will also become one of the focuses of the advocacy strategy and of impact monitoring and assessment after the launch of the HDR, the participation of the target audience can help promote successful advocacy. Announce components of the target audience publicly early on as part of advocacy.

2. Tentatively Set the Outlines of the Report

Establishing the outlines of the report might involve meetings among the HDR team and other actors and stakeholders to discuss ways to enhance and expand the concept note and the project document and create detailed chapter outlines, including a proposed structure, the main headings and a projected length. Share the outcome as an advocacy tool and to solicit feedback widely (including from HDRO).

Prepare a First Full Draft

Produce draft chapters. The draft chapters should accomplish the following:

  • Clearly define the theme, the purpose and objective of the report.
  • Describe local conditions, including the economic context, the characteristics of the population (the social context, minorities, gender issues, conflicts, health, education, livelihoods), resource issues, the environment, foreign relations and so on.
  • Supply a clear analysis of human development in the country or region. Investigate the root causes of constraints on human development. Track development gaps and their impact on population groups, especially the vulnerable. Incorporate analysis highlighting the advances achieved in human development.
  • Examine the report’s theme. Establish a strong conceptual framework for scrutiny of the report’s theme through a human development lens. This might include a description of the links of the theme with human development, national or regional development priorities, past and current development policies and, wherever possible, other areas of development such as socio-economic development, development in education, political development, gender equality, health care and so on. Introduce updated national or regional indicators of development, including the Human Development Index. The analysis of these indicators should have a significant, independent place within the report, but could also be integral to the presentation of the theme and the related issues. Discuss the method of calculating the main indicators and note any data or conceptual difficulties.
  • Identify related problems and issues (historical factors, impacts on the economy and society, health, governance, gender, risk management and so on). Describe problems encountered by people within the country or region who are regularly affected by the issues under consideration. Examine related problems and issues elsewhere that may add insight into the local situation.
  • Focus the analysis on past and current government policies in the area of the theme. Through interviews, surveys, opinion polls, perception studies, focus groups and so on, capture the voices of a broad spectrum of people, including people in population segments that are affected negatively by current policies or the lack of clear policies in the area of the theme or that may be positively affected by reforms in these policies. (See below, under “hand the text over to the designer”.) Articulate, dissect and diagnose viable alternative policy approaches and solutions. Include any reasoned views that may contrast with widely held opinions. This can add weight and credibility to the analysis and may lead to innovations in thinking.
  • Indicate research gaps that merit further study. In many cases, it may be up to the team to undertake research to fill the gaps or to present an analytical structure highlighting the gaps and demonstrating the critical nature of the gaps.

The draft chapters should be characterized by the following:

  • Be relevant and readily accessible to the target audience.
  • Show a progression in the presentation of the data and analysis within and across chapters: the flow of the arguments might be from the more general to the more specific, or it might gradually widen the coverage of aspects of the theme and the issues; in any case, the progression must be clear and easy to follow.
  • Achieve a balance among the presentation of factual information, description and analysis; a variety of text boxes, graphs, statistical tables, photos and so on should complement and elucidate the text and bring the analysis into relief. (See below for more on presentation.)

Within the narrative, develop the conclusions of the report. The conclusions should be examined and reexamined regularly by the team and stakeholders during the generation of the various drafts of the report.

Identify well-reasoned, well-documented recommendations. Situate the analysis, conclusions and recommendations within the context of the country’s or region’s former and current development plans and policies. Accompany the recommendations with proposals on comprehensive implementation strategies and plans of action. Suggest institutions, rules, procedures and norms to support the implementation process. It can be tempting to include a great many recommendations. It can often be more effective to include fewer, more focused recommendations and suggest the priority for their introduction and how they will be paid for.