In the South Asian region, Sri Lanka ranks highest 73rd. Neighbouring countries India and Pakistan rank 132nd and 161st. The Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal and Afghanistan ranked 90th, 127th, 143th and 180th in the HDI report.

UNDP creates this index by evaluating the health, education and income data to determine the rate of human development of a country. According to the latest report, Bangladesh is in the medium human development bracket of the list.

Although Bangladesh has slightly improved in the HDI score, the average life expectancy in Bangladesh has decreased for both men and women.

The report shows that the current average life expectancy in Bangladesh is 72.4, which is higher than India (67.2) and Pakistan (66.1).

But in the 2020 HDI report, the average life expectancy for men and women in Bangladesh was 70.9 and 74.6 respectively. This year, the average life expectancy has gone down to 70.6 and 74.3 for men and women respectively.

The disparity in life expectancy and education will hinder Bangladesh’s progress, fears UNDP Bangladesh economist Nazneen Ahmed.

“Bangladesh’s progress is an optimistic sign. The report shows that globally HDI has declined. The global human development has been pushed back by six years. During this period Bangladesh has progressed. But a big reason why Bangladesh has progressed is the increase in national income. If discrimination keeps growing, then sustaining this growth won’t be possible,” Nazneen told Prothom Alo.

In the gender equality index, Bangladesh has done better than India and Pakistan.

In terms of purchasing power parity, Bangladesh’s per capita income has risen to $5,472 from last year’s $4,976.

This year’s UNDP HDI report has been titled ‘Uncertain times, unsettled lives: shaping our future in a transforming world’.

According to the report, the Covid-19 pandemic is a major driver behind the global reversion. It also pointed to political, financial and climate-related crises as reasons important reason behind this global decline in human development.

UNDP chief Achim Steiner said, “People have faced diseases, wars and environmental disruptions before. But the confluence of destabilizing planetary pressures with growing inequalities, sweeping societal transformations to ease those pressures and widespread polarisation present new, complex, interacting sources of uncertainty for the world and everyone in it.”

According to the report, 90 per cent of the countries have regressed in terms of HDI in either 2020 or 2021 while 40 per cent nations have regressed in both 2020 and 2021.

Switzerland, Norway and Iceland have retained their position in the top three of the HDI report this year while South Sudan, Chad and Niger have ranked the lowest.

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