United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Maldives on Monday launched the global Human Development Report, at an event held at the Faculty of Education, Maldives National University (MNU).
The Human Development Report focuses on inequalities in the theme "Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: Inequalities in human development in the 21st century". The report addresses inequalities across health, education, access to technologies and vulnerability to economic and climate-related shocks and proposes policies to tackle the issues.
The launching was inaugurated by Minister of Planning and Infrastructure Mohamed Aslam and UNDP Resident Representative to Maldives Akiko Fujii.
According to UNDP, "Inequality is persistent across the globe, in all societies", adding that a better understanding of inequality is necessary to create inclusive and just societies.
UNDP statistics revealed that while 1.3 billion people are multi-dimensionally poor, over 886 million people live in middle-income countries.
"It is becoming increasingly evident that economic growth alone cannot translate to an improvement in the quality of life of all citizens", said UNDP.
During Minister Aslam's address, he announced the government's decision to implement decentralized policies through a "special development plan" to establish better opportunities for education, employment and healthcare in five main regions and nine subregions of the country.
"We are now embarking on a trajectory where decentralization should really happen. We all know that development and all opportunities have been very much centralized to Male'", said the minister.
"The critical thing that will enable this to happen is transportation. So next year, the government will launch a domestic maritime public transport system, linking every island" through a high-speed and modern ferry.
Following the speech, a panel discussion was held, focusing on the broader themes of inequality addressed through the Human Development Report.
Panellists include Police Secretary at the President's Office Aminath Shauna, MNU's Dean of Medicine Dr Sheeza Ali, Executive Committee Member of the NGO 'Advocating for the Rights of Children', Muruthala Moosa, and Board Member of the NGO 'Blind and Visually Impaired Society', Fathimath Ibrahim. The panel was moderated by UNDP Maldives' Development Economist Raniya Sobir.
The full report can be accessed and downloaded through the website - report.hdr.undp.org