People's living conditions have deteriorated in nine out of ten countries in 2021. This is the result of the "Human Development Index" of the UN development agency UNDP. The UNDP complained at the presentation of the report published on Thursday that the global index value had fallen for the second time in a row. "We can forever describe our circumstances in statistics," said UNDP director Achim Steiner. "The tough question we have to ask ourselves is: why are we not acting?"
According to the new ranking, Switzerland is the most developed country in the world with an index value of 0.962, almost on a par with Norway and Iceland. Germany comes in at 0.942, ranks ninth and thus loses five places compared to 2015. When it was first published in 1990, the United States was still in the lead and is now only in 21st place. Niger, Chad and South Sudan are at the bottom of the 191 countries examined.
"We live in very painful times, whether it's a world underwater, without water, on fire or in the midst of a pandemic," said UNDP Director Achim Steiner. "The world lurches from crisis to crisis, caught in the cycle of putting out fires without addressing the roots of our problems," the UNDP warned. The statisticians also observed growing pessimism around the world: six out of seven people said they felt insecure, and a third said they did not trust others.
But progress is possible, for example, thanks to new computer technologies, science or new types of grain, Steiner continued. In Kenya, thanks to extensive initial investments, 90 percent of the electricity requirement can now be covered by renewable energies. Societies that financed fossil fuels made a mistake, he said.
Criteria such as life expectancy, income and length of schooling are included in the calculation of the index of the member countries of the United Nations, which has been published since 1990. According to Steiner, such a widespread decline as in 2021 has never happened before - even at the height of the financial crisis around ten years ago, the index only fell in around one in ten countries.