Iran Records Significant Progress in Human Development in Last Two Decades UNDP

TEHRAN, 30 April 2013 (UNIC) — The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Human Development Index (HDI) value for 2012 is 0.742 — in the high human development category — positioning the country at 76 out of 187 countries and territories.

According to the 2013 Human Development Report (HDR), during 1980-2012, Iran’s HDI value rose from 0.443 to 0.742, an increase of 67 percent or an average annual increase of about 1.6 percent. This has been about double the global average growth rate over the same period.

The Report also says that Iran achieved the second highest reduction in HDI shortfall among the developing countries during the twenty-two year period between 1990 and 2012.  Only one country was able to do better: the Republic of Korea.

“What is really important – and what should be commended – is Iran’s progress in human development when measured over the past three decades,” says Gary Lewis, UN Resident Coordinator in Iran.  “What the Report implies,” Mr. Lewis adds, “is that from a human development standpoint – during the period 1980-2012 – Iran policy interventions were both significant and appropriate to produce overall improvements in the human development index.” 

Produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the current HDR presents HDI values and ranks for 187 countries and UN-recognized territories, along with the Inequality-adjusted HDI for 132 countries, the Gender Inequality Index for 148 countries, and the Multidimensional Poverty Index for 104 countries.

UNDP reports that between 1980 and 2012, Iran recorded some notable achievements: life expectancy at birth increased by 22.1 years; the mean years of schooling and the expected years of schooling each increased by about 5.7 years; while Iran’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita in purchasing power parity terms increased by about 48 percent during the same period.

According to the 2013 HDR, long-term progress can be usefully assessed relative to other countries–both in terms of geographical location and HDI value. For instance, during the period between 1980 and 2012 Iran, India and Pakistan experienced different degrees of progress toward increasing their HDIs and Iran clearly outpaced both of them.

The report says Iran has a Gender Inequality Index (GII) value of 0.496, ranking it 107 out of 148 countries in the 2012 index.  Iran has notable successes in this area also.  Approximately 62.1 percent of adult women have reached a secondary or higher level of education compared with 69.1 per cent of their male counterparts.  In Iran, for every 100,000 live births, only 21 women die from pregnancy-related causes: the group average for other “high HDI” countries is 47.  In Iran, the adolescent fertility rate is 25 births per 1000 live births, while the comparator group average is 50.

The report also points to areas such as female participation in the labour market and politics, where Iran’s performance needs more attention and effort.

Overall the Human Development Report reveals the success of Iran in attaining good results particularly in the health and education sectors, over the past few decades. These have contributed to the high level HDI of Iran and its continued classification as a “High HDI” country.  

According to Mr. Lewis: “Our world – and our region – currently face many human development and humanitarian challenges.  These challenges need a response where the best knowledge is made available – where the best practices are used – and where countries cooperate across borders”, said Mr. Lewis.  “The UN in Iran can play a greater role to bring together the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and other countries in order to collectively solve these problems which affect our region and our world.”

The UN’s development work in Iran concentrates on: poverty reduction; health; the environment; disaster risk reduction and drug control.

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