United Nations Development Programme

The Human Development Report

The Human Development Report is an independent publication commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Its editorial autonomy is guaranteed by a special resolution of the General Assembly (A/RES/57/264), which recognizes the Human Development Report as “an independent intellectual exercise” and “an important tool for raising awareness about human development around the world."

Contributors to the Report include leading development scholars and practitioners, working under the coordination of UNDP’s Human Development Report Office. From the beginning, the Report has been a pioneer of methodological innovation and development thinking. Often provocative, the Report was launched in 1990 with the goal of putting people at the center of development, going beyond income to assess people’s long-term well-being. The Reports’ messages — and the tools to implement them — have been embraced by people around the world, as shown by the publication of autonomousNational Human Development Reports by more than 140 countries over the past two decades. TheHuman Development Report is translated into more than a dozen languages and launched in more than 100 countries annually.

20 Years of Human Development Reports

2010 - The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development 2009 - Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development 2007/8 - Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world 2006 - Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis 2005 - International cooperation at a crossroads: Aid, trade and security in an unequal world 2004 - Cultural Liberty in Today’s Diverse World 2003 - Millennium Development Goals: A Compact Among Nations to End Human Poverty 2002 - Deepening Democracy in a Fragmented World 2001 - Making New Technologies Work for Human Development 2000 - Human Rights and Human Development
1999 - Globalization with a Human Face 1998 - Consumption for Human Development 1997 - Human Development to Eradicate Poverty 1996 - Economic Growth and Human Development 1995 - Gender and Human Development 1994 - New Dimensions of Human Security 1993 - People's Participation 1992 - Global Dimensions of Human Development 1991 - Financing Human Development 1990 - Concept and Measurement of Human Development


The first Human Development Report in 1990 opened with the simply stated premise that has guided all subsequent Reports: “People are the real wealth of a nation.” With its wealth of empirical data and innovative approach to measuring development, theHuman Development Report had a profound impact on development thinking around the world. Featuring the Human Development Index, every report presents agenda-setting data and analysis and calls international attentions to issues and policy options that put people at the center of strategies to meet the challenges of development. Search all Reports

The Regional, National and Sub-national Reports


Human Development Reports at the regional, national and sub-national levels take the human development approach to the regional or country level and are prepared and owned by regional and national teams. They both feed into and draw upon the data and analysis of the global Report. Over 600 regional, national and sub-national reports have been produced so far in over 140 countries.

National reports place human development at the forefront of the national political agenda. They are tools for policy analysis reflecting people's priorities, strengthening national capacities, engaging national partners, identifying inequities and measuring progress. As instruments for measuring human progress and triggering action for change, regional reports promote regional partnerships for influencing change, and addressing region-specific human development approaches to human rights, poverty, education, economic reform, HIV/AIDS, and globalization.

As policy advocacy documents, they have introduced the human development concept into national policy dialogues — not only through human development indicators and policy recommendations, but also through the country-led and country-owned process of consultation, research and report writing.

As advocacy tools designed to appeal to a wide audience, the reports can spur public debates and mobilize support for action and change. They have helped to articulate people’s perceptions and priorities, and have served as a source of alternate policy opinion for development planning across varied themes. Access the Reports database

Page last updated on 19/04/2011
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