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Human development report 2020

4 May 2021

The UNDP Annual Report on Human Capital Development in 2020 presents a new perspective on human development in the Anthropocene and offers an adjusted methodology for calculating the Human Development Index.

Analysts of the Roscongress Foundation have identified the main theses of this study, accompanying each of them with a relevant piece of video broadcasts of panel discussions held as part of the business programs of key events held by the Foundation.

Planetary and social imbalances reinforce each other.

Many forms of inequality in human development already have intensified and continue to do so. Climate change, among other dangerous planetary changes, will only worsen them. Social mobility is declining; social instability is growing. Threatening signs of democratic retreat and growing authoritarianism are worrying. From the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change, collective action is increasingly difficult amid social fragmentation.


COVID-19 pandemic dealt biggest hit to the global Human Development Index in history.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have pushed about 100 million people below the extreme poverty line, the worst hit of our generation. At the same time, we are talking not only about threats to the health of the population. Many restrictive measures related to the fight against the spread of the viral infection have created barriers to people’s participation in decision-making, have led to the restriction of rights and freedoms, and prevented people from following their own ideas about the path of development in search of a fulfilling life.


The standard calculating methodology for the Human Development Index no longer reflects real conditions and requires its modification, taking into account the planetary pressure and the massive digitalization of all socio-economic processes.

The long-standing approach of defining human development on the basis of health, education and income data no longer reflects objective reality. The Human Development Index remains useful for measuring a set of basic capabilities, but it is clear that we have gone beyond one «dominant» indicator. In fact, the Human Development Index has never claimed to fully express the level of human development in its entirety. The challenges we have faced and the opportunities we have always been more complex, much more multidimensional and interconnected than what any one approach to measuring them can capture — or even multiple approaches, regardless of how lucky they were. The complex nature of the problems requires its consideration through a whole set of prisms, the key ones of which are the assessment of the environmental consequences of ensuring an increase in the level of human development and taking into account the technologies that determine our way of life.


We also invite you to familiarize yourself with other materials posted in special sections of the Roscongress Information and Analytical System Climate Change, Standards of living, Digitalization and Sustainable Development, dedicated to possible ways to improve the level of human development.

Anlytics on the topic

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9 October 2020
TREND VISION 2020. How To Make The Future Manageable

The world is trying to understand the impact caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty still remains, in this issue of the annual «Trend Vision 2020. Russia» report experts talk about trends, signals of change and how to analyze them, in order to make the future, in which this world crisis is not the last one, to be not a frightening «black box», but a platform for exciting experiments for successful brands and companies focused on long-term sustainability.

31 October 2019
The Middle Class Formation and Development Problems in a Changing World

Now the theory of the middle class conflicts with world practice. The middle class is understood as the majority group of the population, which, on the one hand, has high social stability and tends to stabilize the formed social environment, and on the other hand, forms a request for modernization and transformation of the socio-political and economic structure. At the same time, the crisis of the neoliberal and globalization paradigm, the growing inequality in the world raises questions of rethinking the conditions of formation and development of the middle class.

28 July 2020
Consumers and the new reality: preparing for changing customer needs, behaviors and expectations

The KPMG research is dedicated to online shopping. It describes the trends that emerge while commerce is being shifted online and provides some advices to companies that are looking for the new solutions.

6 May 2020
Surviving and Thriving in the 21st Century
The Commission for the Human Future here calls on the nations and peoples of the Earth to come together, as a matter of urgency, to prepare a plan for humanity to survive and thrive, far into the future.