Minister of State Kitt welcomes the publication by the UN of the 2004 Human Development Report
Mr. Tom Kitt T.D., Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights at the Department of Foreign Affairs, today welcomed the 2004 Human Development Report, published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The 2004 Human Development Report deals with the issue of “Cultural Liberty in Today's Diverse World”.
Minister of State Kitt noted, in particular, the contribution of John Hume to the report: “John Hume’s experience in the field of human rights, based on a life dedicated to reconciliation in a divided society, guarantees that his message - “difference - whether of race, religion or nationality - is not a threat, but is natural, positive and a source of strength” - is one that will be listened to. This is the essence of the 2004 Human Development Report.”
Minister of State Kitt noted that: “Our continuing rise up this independently compiled index reflects Ireland’s huge economic and social progress in recent years. We are now in the top ten countries in the world in terms of human development. This reflects the successful development of Ireland’s economy, and the broader development of Irish living standards, over the past decade.
With this significant progress also comes increased responsibility. We must continue to lead by example, sharing our national prosperity with those less fortunate. The growth in resources for Official Development Assistance (ODA) is among the most important achievements of the Government over the past 5 years. In 2004, Ireland’s ODA will reach €480m, or 0.41% of GNP, placing Ireland seventh in percentage terms among global donors.
This year’s Human Development Index also reveals stunning setbacks in income and life expectancy caused by HIV/AIDS, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. 7.7% of all people living in sub-Saharan Africa between the ages of 15 and 49 are HIV positive, and there are now over 25 million people in this region living with the disease.
Development Cooperation Ireland is spending almost €50m per year in the fight against AIDS. We contribute €10m per year to the Global Fund to fight AIDS Malaria and TB; we have bilateral AIDS programmes in our six countries in sub Saharan Africa; we fund Irish and other NGOs and missionaries to enable them to contribute to the fight against the disease; and we continue to advocate the need to end stigma, discrimination and to promote prevention programmes. We are also helping to fund research into an AIDS vaccine and into other technologies to be used to help prevent the spread of the disease.”
The Human Development Report also features its annual comprehensive ranking of countries according to their human development level. Ireland has advanced by two places up the Human Development Index to 10th place in the world. Its position on the Human Poverty Index remains static at 16th; however, the statistics used in the compilation of this Index date from 1996, are based on income, and do not take into account other relevant factors. The Government is continuing to tackle domestic poverty through its National Anti-Poverty Strategy.
Note for Editors:
Every year since 1990, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the largest UN development agency, has commissioned the Human Development Report from an independent team of experts to explore major issues of global concern. A worldwide advisory network of leaders in academia, government and civil society contribute data, ideas, and best practices to support the analysis and proposals published in the report.
Human Development Report 2004: Cultural Liberty in Today's Diverse World argues that states must actively devise multicultural policies to prevent discrimination on cultural grounds-religious ethnic and linguistic. The expansion of cultural freedoms, not suppression, is the only sustainable option to promote stability, democracy and human development within and across societies. The Report notes that more than two-thirds of countries have minority groups that make up more than 10% of their population, and nearly a billion people belong to groups subject to some form of exclusion.
The Report examines the myths that have been used to deny expansions of cultural freedoms and shows that diversity is not a threat to state unity and not an obstacle to development.
The 2004 Human Development Report suggests new ways of looking at these issues, with examples of policy approaches in many different countries around the world. The authors of the Report argue that the costs of ignoring identity politics will be far greater than the costs of accepting and managing diversity in an era of increasing global mobility and democracy. Top