Lebanon Ranks 80th out of the 189 countries in the Human Developmental Index of 2017

HDI 2018 cover


I- On a global scale:

The Human Development Index (HDI) focuses on three basic dimensions of human development: the ability to lead a long and healthy life, the ability to acquire knowledge, and the ability to achieve a decent standard of living.

The global HDI value increased from 0.598 in 1990 to 0.728 in 2017. This indicates that across the world, people are living longer, are more educated and have greater livelihood opportunities. The average lifespan is seven years longer than it was in 1990, and more than 130 countries have universal enrolment in primary education. Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Ireland and Germany are currently leading rankings of 189 countries and territories in the latest HDI while Burundi, Chad, South Sudan, Central African Republic and Niger were the bottom five countries.

“While these statistics present a stark picture in themselves, they also speak to the tragedy of millions of individuals whose lives are affected by inequity and lost opportunities, neither of which are inevitable. On average, a child born today in a country with low human development can expect to live just over 60 years, while a child born in a country with very high human development can expect to live to almost 80. Similarly, children in low human development countries can expect to be in school seven years less than children in very high human development countries,” said Achim Steiner UNDP Administrator.

The Inequality-Adjusted Human Development Index allows one to compare levels of inequality within countries, and the greater the inequality, the more a country’s HDI falls. When taking IDHI into account, worldwide inequality in the distribution of income is the highest, followed by inequality in achievements in education, and then health. A recent Oxfam International reports show that “eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity”.    

In terms of worldwide gender inequality, the average HDI for women is 6 percent lower than for men. The gap is due to women’s lower income and educational attainment in many countries. Across regions, unemployment rates are higher among women than men. In fact, 44 percent of combined achievements in reproductive health, empowerment and labour market are lost due to inequality in achievements between men and women in these dimensions, as measured by the Gender Inequality index (GII). Finally, across regions, unemployment rates are higher among women than men. Women hold only 23.5 percent of seats in parliament, and among women unemployment rates are higher and labour force participation rates lower.

Finally, the degradation of the environment and atmosphere, coupled with significant declines in biodiversity, is linked to other development concerns ranging from declining food and water supplies to losses of livelihood and to losses of life from extreme weather events. This profoundly serious crisis threatens the human development of current and future generations. The planet lost over 3 percent of its forests between 1990 and 2015. But the rate is much higher in low human development countries, where 14.5 percent of forests were lost over the same period, and in medium human development countries, where 9.7 percent was lost. Interestingly, very high human development countries are the biggest contributors to climate change with average per capita CO2 emissions of 10.7 tonnes, compared to 0.3 tonnes per capita in low human development countries.


II- Arab States and Lebanon:

While focusing on the Arab states, they have witnessed a 25% increase in the HDI value since 1990, but it has suffered a 25% loss of the overall HDI when it is adjusted for inequalities. The Arab states was considered to be the second largest gender gap throughout all the developing regions (14.5 percent gap between men and women in the HD). Lebanon’s 2017 HDI of 0.757 is the same as the average of 0.757 for countries in the high human development group and above the average of 0.699 for countries in Arab States.

 Lebanon’s life expectancy at birth increased by 9.6 years, mean years of schooling increased by 1.2 years and expected years of schooling increased by 0.8 years. Lebanon’s GNI per capita increased by about 49.1 percent between 1990 and 2017.Overall, the HDI value witnessed an upward trend from 0.732 to 0.757 between 2005-2017.

Gender Inequality Index reflects gender-based inequalities in three dimensions (reproductive health, empowerment, and economic activity). The GII value of the Arab states is 0.531, but Lebanon has a GII value of 0.381, ranking it 85 out of 160 countries in the 2017 index. In Lebanon, 3.1 percent of parliamentary seats are held by women (in 2018, the percentage has increased to 6%), and 53.0 percent of adult women have reached at least a secondary level of education compared to 55.4 percent of their male counterparts. For every 100,000 live births, 15 women die from pregnancy related causes; and the adolescent birth rate is 11.8 births per 1,000 women of ages 15-19. Female participation in the labour market is 23.2 percent compared to 71.1 for men.

Environmental degradation puts human development gains at risks as evident from carbon dioxide emissions, deforestation, withdrawals of fresh water and others. Between 1990 and 2015, the Arab states have lost over 23.7% of their forest due to deforestation. Lebanon’s performance in the environmental sustainability hasn’t been efficient due to the environmental threats.


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