Power, People and Policy key reasons behind inequality in Pakistan, finds Human Development Report

Power, People, and Policy key reasons behind inequality in Pakistan, finds Human Development Report Power, People, and Policy key reasons behind inequality in Pakistan, finds Human Development Report

The UNDP's Pakistan National Human Development Report 2020 - “The three Ps of inequality: Power, People, and Policy” presented by the lead author Dr Hafiz Pasha explores many dimensions of inequality in Pakistan.

The dimensions have been captured both at the national and provincial levels, exploring inequality between and within Pakistan’s provinces.

Besides, inequality has been measured from the perspective of people focusing on children, labour, youth, and women. The report takes a comprehensive approach, exploring not just economic measures such as income and wealth, but also studying inequalities in human development - the true measure of a country’s success.  

The Pakistan NHDR 2020 follows UNDP’s global Human Development Report (HDR) of 2020, which highlights how human development is deeply tangled with our relationship to our planet.

Overall, income inequality in Pakistan decreased in the 1990s rose until the mid-2000s and decreased again until the mid-2010s. Between 2016 and 2019, Pakistan saw a particular reduction in income difference between the richest and poorest 20 per cent of the population, and a generally lower rate of income inequality across all income quintiles.

HDR 2020 illustrates that people who have more, can better capture the benefits of nature and export the costs onto those who have less. The HDR aims to dismantle ‘the gross imbalances of power and opportunity that prevent change’ in the world today. Pakistan’s national report has similar goals, looking at power differentials through a socioeconomic perspective rather than a purely environmental one. 

This analysis dovetails into the recommendations outlined in the NHDR 2020, arguing for increased outlays on human development and social protection in Pakistan. 

The Pakistan National Human Development Report explores inequality between the country’s richest and poorest groups.

“The report highlights that interregional inequality in Pakistan has increased. It indicates that the highest level of Human Development in Pakistan is in Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has shown the fastest rate of growth in human development,” said Dr Hafiz Pasha, lead author of the report.

While sharing the key findings of the report, Dr Pasha highlighted that the level of child development is low in Pakistan, and within Pakistan, it is highest for Punjab. He further articulated that the privileges of the elite in Pakistan adds up to Rs2,660 billion, equivalent to 8% of the GDP.  

The report highlights that Power, People, and Policy are the key drivers of inequality in Pakistan. Powerful groups use their privilege to capture more than their fair share; people discriminate against others based on characteristics such as gender and class and policies are often unsuccessful at addressing the resulting inequality. 

Mr Knut Ostby, Resident Representative at UNDP Pakistan stated, “This NHDR comes at an especially important time for the country. With the COVID-19 pandemic pushing millions of people into poverty, the issue of inequality has become far more urgent for the success of the country, its institutions, and its people. We hope that the recommendations contained in the report can spawn policy discussions and dialogue, and lead to actionable change at the policy level”.

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