A quarter-century of impressive human development progress continues to leave many people behind, with systemic, often unmeasured, barriers to catching up. A stronger focus on those excluded and on actions to dismantle these barriers is urgently needed to ensure sustainable human development for all.

These are the key findings of the Human Development Report 2016: Human Development for Everyone, launched at Korea University on 16 May by the UNDP Seoul Policy Centre (USPC) in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Korea University, following the global release of the Report in March this year.

Published annually since 1990, the Human Development Report (available at http://hdr.undp.org/en) is an independent publication commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme to assess trends, raise awareness about human development around the world and prompt policy dialogue to promote sustainable human development.

“For the Korean Government, the Human Development Report has indeed provided critical thinking and a reference for our own development efforts both at home and abroad,” said Mr. Jinkyu Jeong, Director General of the Multilateral Cooperation Bureau of the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The first part of the Korea launch featured a special presentation of the report by Mr Selim Jahan, Director of the Human Development Report Office in UNDP NY, and lead author of the Report. In his presentation, Mr Jahan stressed the key messages of this report: i) universalism is at the heart of human development, ii) many who are deprived still face discriminatory barriers, iii) there is a need for changes in analytical tools and perspectives on human development, iv) national policies for ensuring human development for “everyone” are important, and v) human development and sustainable development are mutually reinforcing.

“The focus in Agenda 2030 on sustainable development resonates with the conclusions of the 2016 Human Development Report, because the Agenda and human development are mutually reinforcing. The agenda needs to build on progress in human development achieved over the past few decades,” said Balazs Horvath, Director of USPC.

The second part of the Korea launch featured a panel discussion on the topic of “humanitarian-development-peacekeeping” nexus. Indeed, the report underscores the importance of complementing short-term humanitarian responses with longer-term development assistance and effective efforts to sustain peace to attain human development for everyone. Representatives from the IOM, UNICEF, ESCAP-ENEA and UNPOG offices in Seoul provided diverse perspectives on the challenges of bridging the gap between humanitarian assistance and development, and presented suggestions for moving forward on this agenda.

“All stakeholders should use this opportunity to promote more research and cooperation among institutions and governments that are interconnected through human development,” noted Professor Sung-han Kim, Dean of the Graduate School of International Studies at Korea University.

The launch event brought together representatives from governments, academia, research institutions, NGOs, international organizations and university students.

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