No Stranger to Controversy
Since it was first launched in May 1990, the Human Development Report continued to generate controversy in its initial years, with much of the criticism coming from developing nations.
At one time, the Group of 77 (G77) - the largest single group of developing nations - criticised the report when it included a freedom index "on the basis of selective data which cannot be justified by any empirical measurement".
The G77 said it does not agree either with the concept of quantifying political governance or ranking countries "in any fashion"- be it political, economic, social or cultural.
The outspoken Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad complained his country was placed below Israel, which he said, was one of the world's worst violators of human rights in its occupied territories.
And an angry Sultan of Oman booted out the UNDP resident representative and closed down the UNDP office in Muscat to protest a critical analysis of the Gulf nation in the Human Development Report that year.
For years, the first two places in the HDI alternated between Japan and Canada.
Every time one of the countries lost its first place to the other, the loss generated a political backlash for the ruling party in the losing country.
At least the top 20 countries on the HDI have always been the world's rich nations from the North and the bottom 160 have continued to be occupied by the world's poorer nations.
There were many developing countries that argued the HDI was weighted against the poor because they were not competing on a level playing field.
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