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Greening the United Nations' Human Development Index?

Morse, S. (2003) Greening the United Nations' Human Development Index? Sustainable Development, 11 (4). pp. 183-198. ISSN 0968-0802

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/sd.219


The Human Development Index (HDI) introduced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 1990 has helped facilitate widespread debate amongst development researchers, practitioners and policy makers. The HDI is an aggregate index, calculated on an annual basis by the UNDP and published in its Human Development Reports, comprising measures of three components deemed by them to be central to development: W income (the gross domestic product per capita), (ii) education (adult literacy rate) and (iii) health (life expectancy at birth). The results of calculating the HDI are typically presented as country/regional league tables, and provide a quick means for policy makers and others to judge performance. Perhaps partly because of the relative simplicity of the index, the HDI has managed to achieve a level of acceptance and use amongst politicians and policy makers that has yet to emerge with any indicator of sustainability. Indeed, despite its existence for 11 years, including nine years after the Rio Earth Summit, the HDI has not even been modified to take on board wider issues of sustainability. This paper will critically examine the potential for 'greening' the HDI so as to include environmental and resource-consumption dimensions. Copyright (C) 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Human Environments
ID Code:3867
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