The United Nations Development Program has released the 2016 Human Development Report for Latin America and the Caribbean. This year’s report focuses on the need for multidimensional plans in order to combat poverty and improve quality of life in all countries of the region.
The efforts towards poverty eradication in Latin America and the Caribbean have made great strides. Since 2003, the policies with the aim of improving education and broadening employment opportunities have helped raise 72 million people in the Caribbean and Latin America out of poverty, which is defined as living on less than US$4 per day.
Because of this progress, many countries are ready to focus on the next level of human development. “In middle-income countries, ‘development’ does not end at the threshold of GDP. Inequalities, discrimination and exclusion – including long-standing gaps by gender, ethnicity or race – require policy attention [as well],” states Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Program.
However, according to the report, 25 to 30 million people in the Caribbean and Latin America are at risk of slipping back into poverty, due to the current global economy and other factors. One and a half million are predicted to once again fall below the poverty line as soon as January 2017. “To protect the achievements, it is not enough to return to growth,” states Jessica Faieta, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean for the United Nations Development Program. The data collected for this report shows that measures to improve access to education and provide job opportunities help raise people out of poverty, but do not necessarily help keep them above the poverty line.
The argument presented in the report calls for taking a four-pronged approach to creating a safety net that will decrease vulnerability, making it harder for people to become impoverished during hard times.
- Life-long social protection,
- Care systems for the elderly and disabled,
- Opportunities to increase labor skills, and
- Greater ability to obtain physical and financial assets.
These mitigations create a “basket of multidimensional resilience” that will help those who rise out of poverty stay out of poverty, and even move into the middle class (defined as living on more than USD$10 a day).
At its heart, this report is a call for holistic approaches to human development – something FXB is proud to claim as a method and hopes to continue improving on.