Barbados is one of only two Caribbean islands that have been rated by the UNDP as having a very high level of human development.
The UNDP’s 2020 Human Development Report, which was officially launched today, ranks Barbados at 58 out of 189 countries in the human development indices (HDI).
Barbados was ranked 56th in the UNDP’s 2019 report.
The Bahamas is also ranked 58th, having also received a value of 0.814 on the HDI.
Norway (0.957) along with Ireland and Switzerland, which both have a value of 0.955 were the top three countries on the index.
Trinidad and Tobago (67th), Cuba (70th), Grenada (74th), St Kitts and Nevis (74th), Antigua and Barbuda (78th) and St Lucia (86th), are among several other countries in the region that have been classed as having high human development.
Guyana, at 122nd, is ranked as having medium human development while Haiti, at 170 is among the countries deemed to have low human development.
The HDI is a measure of human development that captures health, education and income.
A country scores a higher HDI when its lifespan, education level and gross national income per capita are high.
Speaking during the virtual launch themed The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene, Prime Minister Mia Mottley pointed out that report had been a “beacon of light” for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as Barbados.
“For SIDS like my own country Barbados and others in the Caribbean, our people are our main resource. Building social capital through investment and education and health is at the heart of our policymaking. This is who we are.
“I cannot tell you how often and how strong successive governments in Barbados have been pressured in the past by international financial institutions and others to end these so-called unsustainable entitlements. Though we have persevered and we have lived to see the tide begin to change,” Mottley pointed out.
“In major ways, the Human Development Report has been a beacon of light to Barbados and to many other small, middle-income countries like ours. Its central philosophy speaks directly to us and helps to capture and explore our own realities.”
However, Mottley stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic was threatening to undo years of progress that had been made.
“The gains of decades, therefore, threaten to be eroded and it is estimated that as many as 100 million people may be pushed back into extreme poverty because of what we are seeing in 2020,” she said.
The PM said the world had reached a “transformational moment” where “moral and ethical leadership” was urgently needed.
Mottley said this would help in providing vaccines for persons across the world and not just to the rich and powerful. (RB)