UNDP Representative in Lesotho Ms. Betty Wabunoha said that for the first time in 32 years, the Human Development Index, which measures a country’s health, education and standard of living, has declined globally for two years in a row.
She stated this during the official launch of the Human Development Report (HDR) on Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development in Lesotho.
Ms. Baty noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many economies and institutions to embrace technology, adding that the socio-economic challenges that have emerged since the pandemic have opened up a lot of innovation and skills among youth, women and other populations.
She further noted that the technological revolution has created excitement and struggle among development actors to maximize the perceived benefits and opportunities of development. Unfortunately, technology cannot be the solution to all development problems. In some cases, technology acquisition is associated with negative development outcomes such as job losses, exclusion and inequality.
She therefore expressed appreciation for the partnership and cooperation of the Government of Lesotho through the Ministry of Development Planning in this process, saying that as the Government embarks on the development of the next generation NSDP, UNDP expects that these Human Development Reports can inform sectoral prioritization and expansion of the list available strategic actions available to achieve inclusiveness and economic transformation.
She emphasized that stakeholders had asked UNDP to determine the extent to which various development programs were informed by previous human development reports.
Also speaking, the Director of the Ministry of Development Planning, Ms Mahlape Ramaseme, said that although Lesotho’s ranking has changed slightly since 1990, the ranking and human development index have always been on the radar of social development policy.
She noted that in collaboration with the Ministry of Development Planning and other national partners, UNDP intends to support the development of Lesotho’s 4th Human Development Report to be published in 2022.
She said technology was chosen as one of the four drivers of economic growth in the National Strategic Development Plan II (NSDP II) because of its recognized potential to generate employment and improve economic competitiveness, saying through NSDP II, the Lesotho government envisions that “Transformative potential technologies and innovations in production systems will improve the efficiency, effectiveness and precision of production, which is necessary to achieve inclusive economic growth and job creation.
Senior Research Fellow, Department of Science, Ms Matshepa Masoka, said she was delighted that Lesotho had chosen technology and innovation as a theme for the National Human Development Report when there were many priority options to choose from in our development plans.
She said it is very important to carefully consider the definition of technology and innovation in our Lesotho context so that some existing, new and emerging technologies and innovations in our human development strategies are not left behind.
She said NHDR’s main goal is to influence not only policy, but evidence-based policy, so ongoing data collection through research and surveys is needed to help generate such evidence.
Meanwhile, a stakeholder dialogue on “Gender and Human Development: Implications and Opportunities in a Transforming World” took place.
The Human Development Report is the flagship publication of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), whose primary objective is to promote human development worldwide by “creating an enabling environment for people to live long, healthy and productive lives”.
The first Human Development Report was published in 1990, and it presented human development as a new approach to measuring progress beyond economic growth, focusing on human well-being. The concept of human development places the human being at the center of the development process. And it equates development with the ability of people to lead valuable lives by expanding their opportunities, freedoms and choices.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Government of Lesotho.
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