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EghtesadOnline: Iran advanced one spot to rank 70th among 189 countries in the 2020 Human Development Index, according to a report released by the United Nations Development Program.

Human Development Index is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: A long and healthy life, access to education and a decent standard of living.

In the 30th anniversary edition of the Human Development Report, “The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene”, Iran scored 0.783 points, compared with last year’s 0.785 points, which puts the country in the “high human development category”.

HDI classifications are based on HDI fixed cutoff points, which are derived from the quartiles of distributions of component indicators. The cutoff points are HDI of less than 0.550 for low human development, 0.550–0.699 for medium human development, 0.700–0.799 for high human development and 0.800 or greater for very high human development.

Retaining its top position, Norway posted an index value of 0.957 in 2019, followed by Switzerland with 0.955, as well as Iceland and Hong Kong with 0.949 each.

Niger, at 0.394, was at the bottom of the index rankings. It was preceded by the Central African Republic with 0.397, Chad with 0.398, and South Sudan and Burundi, both with 0.433.

Noting that Iran is being categorized in the high human development group and South Asian countries, the report said the average index value stood at 0.753 for the high human development group and 0.641 for countries in South Asia.

The annual report takes into account factors, such as life expectancy at birth, expected years of schooling, mean total years of schooling and gross national income per capita.

According to the report, life expectancy at birth in Iran is 76.7 years, which falls under Goal 3 of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030, which is ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages. 

The country’s expected years of schooling is 14.8 years, with mean total years of schooling being 10.3 years, falling under Goal 4, which is ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education, and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. 

The report highlights the fact that the country’s share of GDP is $12,447, falling under Goal 8 of the SDGs, which focuses on inclusive economic growth, productivity growth, job creation and entrepreneurship. An important part of economic growth is promoting policies that encourage entrepreneurship and job creation.

The inequality-adjusted HDI, introduced in 2010, takes into account the imbalance in income, education levels and life expectancy in a population. 

When Iran’s HDI value is discounted for inequality, it falls to 0.693, a loss of 11.5% but an improvement of three positions in rank. The report noted that the average loss due to inequality for high HDI countries is 17.9%.

Iran’s inequality-adjusted Income Index stands at 0.585; there is a 19.7% inequality in income in the country. Inequality-adjusted Education Index stands at 0.719; there is 5% inequality in education in the country.

Gender Development Index measures gender inequality across the three basic dimensions of human development. The 2019 female HDI value for Iran is 0.709 in contrast with 0.819 for males, resulting in a GDI value of 0.866. 

The Gender Inequality Index can be interpreted as the loss in human development due to inequality between female and male in the areas of reproductive health, empowerment and economic activity. 

With women holding 5.9% of parliamentary seats and 67.4% of women attaining at least a secondary level of education compared to 72.8% of their male counterparts, Iran has a GII value of 0.459, ranking it 113th out of 162 countries in the 2019 index. 

Iranian female participation in the labor market is 17.5% compared to 71.5% for men.

The report, which depicts the state of human development before the onset of Covid-19, underlined that unless human beings relaxed their grip on nature, it would face new crises in the future.

A new human development index accounting for key planetary pressures, including the country's level of carbon dioxide emissions and material consumption, was also included in this year's report.

More than 50 countries fell from the very high human development category, reflecting their dependency on fossil fuels and their material footprint.

No country in the world has yet achieved very high human development without putting immense strain on the planet, the report underlined, as it called on world leaders to take bold steps to ease the pressures on Nature and the environment in the course of progress.

Pointing out that humanity entered a new geological epoch defined as the "Anthropocene" or "Age of Humans", the report highlighted that countries should redesign their paths to progress by fully accounting for the dangerous pressures humans put on the planet and dismantling the imbalances of power and opportunity that prevent change.

By the new index adjusting the Human Development Index by a country’s per capita carbon dioxide emission and material consumption based on the 2019 data, Iran ranked 82nd among 169 countries at 0.698. 

The planetary pressures–adjusted Human Development Index covers 169 countries with Human Development Index values. Data on material footprint are not available for 19 countries with HDI values and Guyana is excluded from the analysis due to unrealistically high values for material footprint.

The UNDP is the United Nations' global development network. It promotes technical and investment cooperation among nations and advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life for themselves. It provides expert advice, training and grants support to developing countries, with increasing emphasis on assistance to the least developed countries. 

The UN body works with nations on their own solutions to help address global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on UNDP experts and its wide range of partners. However, it offers to help only, if nations request it to do so.


Iran United Nations Human Development Index