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Report: Social innovation drives inclusive human development

Author  :  Liu Ge, Tan Wujun     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2016-09-08

Agi Veres, the country director for UNDP China, delivers a speech at the symposium marking the release of The China National Human Development Report 2016 on Aug. 22.

After more than three decades of rapid progress, China has achieved a high level of human development, according to the latest human development index (HDI), which was included in a report released by the UN on Aug. 22 in Beijing.

The China National Human Development Report 2016, subtitled “Social Innovation for Inclusive Human Development,” is the fruit of a two-year collaboration between the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Development Research Center of the State Council of China (DRC).

The HDI is a comprehensive indicator system developed by the UNDP that quantifies a country’s social and economic development according to three sub-indices: income, health and education.

China’s HDI increased from 0.42 to 0.727 during the period from 1980 to 2014. And among the 47 countries in the group that had a low rank in 1990, China is currently the only one that has achieved a high degree of human development, according to the report.

The report indicates that China’s rapid economic growth has contributed significantly to the progress of human development in China. The increase of China’s income sub-index ranked first during the 30 years from 1980 to 2010, and the increase of income contributed to about 56 percent of the increase in HDI. After nearly four decades of rapid economic growth, China has helped to lift 660 million people out of poverty, according to the report.

Agi Veres, the country director for UNDP China, said: “economic growth and increasing development levels are important, but inclusiveness and equality are key to longer-term positive impact and sustainable human development. To address these issues, China has formulated effective social policies that have resulted in progress over the past few decades.”

China’s education index accounted for about 44 percent of HDI growth from 2000 to 2014, rising from about 24 percent from 1980 to 1990. And China’s ranking in the health index also progressed quite a lot, Veres said.

The report also applauded the positive role China plays in innovating social policies. For example, China has implemented multiple policies to alleviate poverty based on the specific individual circumstances and local conditions, and great achievements have been made.

“Highlighting China’s human development is vital to promoting China’s inclusiveness, and also lessons can be learned from China on poverty reduction, universal education and social security systems, which provide invaluable experience to other developing countries,” said Xu Haoliang, United Nations assistant secretary-general.

The report calls for the world to use “social innovation” to increase inclusive development, which stresses that it is not only necessary to enhance the average level of human development but also to pursue more equal human development, narrowing the gap separating different regions and groups. China’s great achievement in these fields should mostly be attributed to the government’s continued reform and innovation in accordance with China’s national conditions, the report suggests.

China’s inclusive development emphasizes fairness and comprehensiveness. In other words, inclusive development should benefit the majority and include raising incomes, strengthening educaton, building the health care system and expanding political participation, said Gong Sen, director-general of the Institute of Public Administration and Human Resources at DRC.

Editor: Yu Hui

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