Myanmar Reaches Medium Human Development Status

Mar 22, 2017

Renata Dessallien, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative launched the Human Development Report - Human Development for Everyone.

Myanmar has moved up the human development index (HDI), attaining Medium Human Development status and ranking 145 out of 188 countries.

Myanmar’s HDI rating was highlighted in the Human Development Report 2016, entitled ‘Human Development for Everyone’, released yesterday by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and launched today in Yangon.

“I congratulate the Government and people of Myanmar for successfully reaching the status of Medium Human Development, according to the HDI.  The HDI measures not only economic growth, but also the quality of growth in terms of human development and human wellbeing. Myanmar’s achievement comes from years of hard work and deserves our sincere admiration. This is a good predictor for Myanmar’s pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),’’ said Renata Dessallien, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative.

Reaching Medium Human Development status is indeed significant as it documents the progress Myanmar has made in improving human development for its people. However, as the report also shows there is still a gap between Myanmar’s HDI score of 0.556 and the average for East Asia and Pacific (0.720).  For example, in areas such as maternal health and under five mortality, Myanmar is still performing below the average of  South Asia.

The report makes it clear that Myanmar’s ability to achieve the SDGs is intricately linked to its continued commitment to improve human development for its people. It clearly illustrates, any advancement depends on concerted efforts by the whole of government, communities and development partners.

Globally, the report finds that although on average human development improved significantly across all regions from 1990 to 2015, worldwide almost 1.5 billion people live in multidimensional poverty – reflecting acute deprivations in health, education and standards of living.  

“The world has come a long way in rolling back extreme poverty, in improving access to education, health and sanitation, and in expanding possibilities for women and girls. But those gains are a prelude to the next, possibly tougher challenge, to ensure the benefits of global progress reach everyone,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, speaking at the launch of the Report in Stockholm yesterday alongside Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and the report’s lead author and Director of the Human Development Report Office, Selim Jahan.

The report makes clear that progress in the Asia and Pacific region has not benefited everyone. It shows that the disparities disproportionally impact certain groups particularly women, ethnic minorities and people living in remote areas who suffer deprivations.

Marginalized groups have limited opportunities to influence the institutions and policies that impact on their day to day lives. Changing this is central to breaking the vicious cycle of exclusion and deprivation.

To this end, the report calls for far greater attention to empowering the most marginalized in societies and recognizing the importance of giving a greater voice to the marginalized in decision-making processes.

The report also calls for a more refined analysis to inform actions and shift toward assessing progress in such areas as participation. Data disaggregated for characteristics such as place, gender, socio-economic status, and ethnicity is vital to identifying who is being left behind, so that corrective policy measures may be taken to bridge the divide and disparity within societies in South-East Asia including Myanmar.


ABOUT THIS REPORT: The Human Development Report is an editorially independent publication of the United Nations Development Programme. For free downloads of the 2016 Human Development Report, plus additional reference materials on its indices, please visit:

2016 Human Development Report

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