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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report on the Human Development 2010 was official launched on 12 January 2011, at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Banjul.
The annual global Human Development Report (HRD) has been published by UNDP since 1990 as intellectually independent and empiricially founded analyses of development issues, trends, progress and policies.
According to Halen Clark administrator of the UNDP that the "UNDP can take apporopriates pride in its backing of this intellectually independent and innovative report for the past two decades, that the HDPs have never been a UNDP product alone.
" The report it went on, rely heavily on knowledge and insight from sister UN Agencies, national governments and hundreds of scholars from around the world, and we have always been grateful for that collaboration".
The report dubbed “the real wealth of nations”.
In her keynote addressed, The Gambian Vice President and Minister for Women Affairs, Her Excellency, Dr. Aja Isatou Njie Saidy said the launching of the 2010 report is its 20th edition which the report has adopted the holistic approach by using a variety of information related to different aspects of human life, concentrating on what remains to be done, focusing on key priorities such as climate change, mortality and morbidity, poverty and deprivation to inequality and insecurity, with room to accommodate new concerns and considerations.
According to her, it is worthy of note that the 2010 report introduced a refined Human Development Index (HDI) and three new indices namely: an inequality Adjusted Human Development Index, a Gender inequality Adjusted Human Development Index and, a Multi-dimensional Poverty Index”.
On the Gambia's stance on in the area of health, She said some significant progress have been made with focus on the three(3) health related Millennium Development Goals (M.D.G’s) 4,5 and 6 and relevant targets, that is: Child and Maternal Mortality, and Morbidity, HIV/AIDS as well as Malaria reduction respectively. Overall, there has been considerable achievement in Child Survival as Infant Mortality Rate according to national census dropped from 217 per 1000 in 1973 to 75 per 1000 live births in 2003. Maternal Mortality also declined from 1050 per 100,000 in 1990 to 730 per 100,000 in 2001 and, 556 per 100,000 live births in 2006.
Holding for the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Janic James explained that the report celebrates twenty years of human development by reviewing the concepts of human development, how it is measured, and the policies, in order to get a better insight about the patterns the progress made and how it can help chart a course for people centred development.
She recalled the statements of Halen Clark on the day of launching of the report 4th November 2010, that the report proposes a reaffirmation consistent with the current development practice and with the academic literature on human development as the expansion of people’s freedoms to live long, healthy and creative lives; to advance other goals they have reason to value; and to engage actively in shaping development equitably and sustainably on a shared planet.
According to her, the indices of the report ooks at political freedoms and empowerment for sustainability and human security also as a critical aspect of human development noting that all these indices have taken into consideration, and have put The Gambia Human Development Index at 151 out of 169 countries.
Prof Muhammadou M.O.Kah, Vice Chancellor of the University of the Gambia who gave an overview of the report said that the patterns in the report vary greatly, with some countries losing ground since 1970. Prof Kah noted that The Gambia’s HDI is 0.390, which gives the country a rank of 151 out of 169 countries with comparable data. The Gambia, he continued was ranked 8th in the ECOWAS region beating Guinea Conakry(156), Sierra Leon (158), Mali( 160), Burkina Faso (161), Liberia (162), Guinea Bissau (164) and Niger (167). It is interesting to note that all ECOWAS countries except Cape Verde (118) are categorized as Low Human Development. According to him, The Gambia’s ranking performance has change compared to old 2009 values, for2007 is steady with an estimated 2010HDI value of 0.390 that resulted in a positive 0.005 Change compared to new 2010 estimates for 2009.