The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been at the forefront of the growing international consensus that good governance and sustainable human development are indivisible. And we believe that developing the capacity for good governance can be - and should be - the primary way to eliminate poverty. Notions of good governance and the link between governance and sustainable human development vary greatly, however, both in academic literature and among development practitioners.
So, what is sustainable human development?
We define human development as expanding the choices for all people in society. This means that men and women - particularly the poor and vulnerable - are at the centre of the development process. It also means "protection of the life opportunities of future generations...and...the natural systems on which all life depends" (UNDP, Human Development Report 1996). This makes the central purpose of development the creation of an enabling environment in which all can enjoy long, healthy and creative lives.
Economic growth is a means to sustainable human development - not an end in itself. Human Development Report 1996 showed that economic growth does not automatically lead to sustainable human development and the elimination of poverty. For example, countries that do well when ranked by per capita income often slip down the ladder when ranked by the human development index. There are, moreover, marked disparities within countries - rich and poor alike - and these become striking when human development among indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities is evaluated separately.
There are five aspects to sustainable human development - all affecting the lives of the poor and vulnerable:
• Empowerment - The expansion of men and women's capabilities and choices increases their ability to exercise those choices free of hunger, want and deprivation. It also increases their opportunity to... [continues]
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