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UNDP Holds Second Conference on Measuring Human Progress

UNDP5 March 2013: Participants at the Second Conference on Measuring Human Progress considered how to measure gender gaps, inequality and multi-dimensional poverty, and discussed how to incorporate environmental sustainability into measures of human development.

The UN Development Programme's (UNDP) Human Development Report (HDR) Office organized the conference as part of its ongoing initiative to strengthen the measurement and policy impacts of the human development concept by making them conceptually stronger, easier to use and more statistically robust.

The conference took place from 4-5 March 2013, in New York, US. Speaking at the opening, Rebeca Grynspan, UNDP Associate Administrator, noted the HDR's impact on the understanding and measurement of development, and recalled that in 2010 the HDR added indices on gender equity, inequality and multidimensional poverty. She reminded participants that "not everything that counts can be counted. And not everything that is counted counts,” and cautioned about trade-offs related to communication ease, complexity and statistical accuracy.

Participants convened in moderated sessions on: Assessing human progress; Going beyond income: Measuring inequality; Assessing the gender gap, or ‘penalizing' for gender inequalities; Measuring the many faces of poverty; Taking stock and moving forward in human development measurement; and Incorporating sustainability in measurements. Keynote addresses focused on: Human Development Measurement: Taking Stock and Moving Forward, by Amartya Sen, Harvard University; and From Economic Growth to Human Progress: The Power of Measurement, by Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University. UNDP said it intends to post a summary of discussions on its Human Development Blog.

The conference took place on the fifth anniversary of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, which was established by France's President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008, to examine the relevance of gross domestic product (GDP) as a measure of economic, environmental and social sustainability.

The 2013 issue of the HDR, “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World,” will be launched on 14 March 2013. [Statement of UNDP Associate Administrator[Event Information[HDRO Blog[IISD RS Sources]