Sunday, 25 September 2011

Cuba excluded from UN 2010 Human Development Index

Source: CaricomNews Network, 19 February 2011.

by Calvin G. Brown

Cuba is protesting its exclusion from the United Nations 2010 Human Development Index (HDI) calling it a political manipulation aimed at trying to ignore the great strides that country’s development.A statement on the matter from the Cuban Embassy noted that “In the 2009 Human Development Report, Cuba was listed as the 51 country worldwide, preceded only by developed countries and by Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, which means that we were part of the list of “High Human Development” countries. In 2010, if you analyze health and education only, Cuba would rank 17 and considering the Gross Domestic Product it would move into place 36 in the HDI, which would place us on the list of countries with a “Very High Human Development”, where developed nations are ranked.”

Human Development Index (HDI) which is published by the United Nations, is a world reference for the assessment of a country’s human development level and is used to make comparisons at a global level. “Whichever way you look at it, this is a political manipulation aimed at ignoring Cuba’s headways. The 2010 HDI bases its indicators on inequalities and poverty, in which Cuba would rank at an outstanding position worldwide for being one of the countries where citizens have universal and free access to health, education up to university and postgraduate levels, employment and social security regardless of race or gender, which is acknowledged throughout the world in UNDP precedent reports and in the reports issued by other international organizations like UNESCO and the WHO, among others,” the Cuban statement declared.

According to the statement, “the reason put forward by the Office that drafts this report is that Cuba is among the 4 countries of the world which have the data of all the HDI components except for the gross domestic product (GDP), since it does not use the “global purchasing power parity” (PPP) method used by the World Bank and therefore by the HDI to determine its GDP.” Cuba says “this justification is a falsehood, as Cuba worked with CEPAL in 2005 to resolve those difficulties in relation to the Cuban indicators and our data have been officially acknowledged by the UN system. In fact, our Gross Domestic Income was posted on the UNDP Website until the day following the publication of the HDI Report, time at which it was suppressed.”

The report violates the provisions contained in resolution 57/264 of the United Nations General Assembly, which establishes the process for its drafting, particularly, for the drafting of the Human Development Report that should be drawn up in a neutral and transparent way, in full and effective consultation with Member States and bearing in mind the unbiased character and the use of the sources.

Among the most negative elements identified in relation with our country is the inclusion of indicators not approved by the inter-governmental organs. The attempts of the UNDP and the HDI Office to draw up assessments and data on issues that are above their competence have been the object of the widest rejection by member states and given rise to resolutions of the UN General Assembly. This is not the first time that Cuba is excluded from the HDI. In 2001, Cuba was not included “by chance” due to the lack of data on the gross domestic product. That incident provoked the reaction that led to the promotion and adoption of resolution 57/264.

The information on Cuba in the 2010 HDI Report is not only unacceptably tendentious but it also twists the reality of a country that has endured the longest and most unjust economic, commercial and financial blockade in the history of mankind; a policy that represents the main hindrance to its development. Despite of that, Cuba shows significant results on social matters, which are internationally acknowledged.

This kind of manipulation of statistical data with political ends against Cuba, which lacks objective bases, far from favoring prestige and the acknowledgement merited by an organ like the UN Development Program, arouses discredit, categorical rejection and lack of trust from Cuba. The UNDP must refrain from favoring these ignominies against UN member states. Cuba demands a public, oral and written rectification in relation with the information on the Human Development Index so that our results are known.