• Usually a numerical measure of quality of life in a country.
• Indicators are used to illustrate progress of a country in meeting
a range of economic, social, and environmental goals.
• Since indicators represent data that have been collected by a
variety of agencies using different collection methods, there
may be inconsistencies among them.
INDICATORS OF DEVELOPMENT
(Economic, Social &Environmental)
The UNDP (UN development Programme) describes development as: ‘the three
essentials of development include the ability to lead a long and healthy life, to
acquire knowledge, and to have a decent standard of life’. We map development
through certain indicators but there is no universally acceptable definition of the
term ‘indicator’. This simply reflects the fact that purpose, scope, and methodology
can vary greatly from one indicator or set of indicators to the next. Most indicators
are developed to describe important features of a large system. They are ‘succinct
measures that aim to describe as much about a system as possible in as few
points as possible’ and which ‘helps us understand a system, compare it and
improve it’. OECD defines an indicator as ‘a parameter or value derived from
parameters, which provides information about and describes the state of a
phenomena/environment/area with a significance extending beyond that directly
associated with a parameter value’. The following are the major indicators too
assess the development of a region
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ECONOMIC INDICATORS OF DEVELOPMENT
economic development has been contested: while economists in the 20th century viewed development primarily in
terms of economic growth, sociologists instead emphasized broader processes of change
and modernization. Development and urban studies scholar Karl Seidman summarizes economic development as "a
process of creating and utilizing physical, human, financial, and social assets to generate improved and broadly shared
economic well-being and quality of life for a community or region". Daphne Greenwood and Richard Holt distinguish
economic development from economic growth on the basis that economic development is a "broadly based and
sustainable increase in the overall standard of living for individuals within a community", and measures of growth such
as per capita income do not necessarily correlate with improvements in quality of life
The following are the major indicators too assess the development of a region
2. Economic growth measures the annual increase in GDP, GNP, GDP per capita, or
GNP per capita. It indicates whether there are persistent economic problems or if the
nation has an opportunity for a steady economic advancement. Parts of Central Asian
and sub-Saharan nations are going a little off the track as of now in achieving the goal of
reducing poverty while North African, Middle Eastern and South Asian nations have
achieved a great deal in reducing the level of poverty. Economic structure shows the
division of a country's economy between primary, secondary and tertiary industries. The
developed nations tend to have more share of working population engaged in tertiary
sector. Based on current trend GDP growth in Latin America and the Caribbean fell 1.7
%age points from 2011 to 3.0 % in 2012, the second largest drop among developing
country regions after Europe and Central Asia, where growth fell 2.8 %age points. The
region’s GDP growth fiscal, monetary, and credit policy tightening to contain inflation
risks had a large impact, decelerated due to slowing domestic demand and a weak
external environment. The slowdown was particularly severe in Brazil, the region’s
largest economy, where global uncertainties and earlier especially on private investment.
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Health is a crucial indicator of development – The International Aid community believe that
health is the most important thing to spend money on – with around 90% of the aid budget
being spent in this area.
Four basic measurements of health in development
It is possible to classify these indicators differently, but for the purposes of A-level
sociology, I think four are sufficient:
•Life Expectancy –
•The average number of years people are expected to live in a country (which if you
remember makes up one of the three indicators of the Human Development Index)
•Child Mortality –
The number of children which die before their first birthday (measured per thousand).
•Maternal Health –
The number of women who die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth.
Disease indicators –
•The proportion of the population that has AIDS, Malaria, diarrheal and other infectious
INDICATOR TRANSLATION WHAT DOES IT TELL US
ABOUT A COUNTRY?
GNP per capita Average earnings per person Wealth; employment; disposable
income; life choices; afford
Literacy rate People able to read and write
Employment / wages; political
Infant mortality Child deaths Health care; Nutrition People per
Newspapers per 1000 people Literacy; Disposable income; Political
TV ownership per 1000 people Electricity? Disposable income
(luxury item); Political awareness
Life expectancy Average number of years people are
expected to live
Health care; Nutrition; GNP %
people employed in farming (Primary
Income; Education; Degree of
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The Human Rights-Based Approach
The equal and inalienable rights of all human beings provide the foundation for freedom, justice and peace
in the world, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General
Assembly in 1948.
The human rights-based approach focuses on those who are most marginalized, excluded or discriminated
against. This often requires an analysis of gender norms, different forms of discrimination and power
imbalances to ensure that interventions reach the most marginalized segments of the population.
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Elements of good practices under a human rights-based approach
• Programmes identify the realization of human rights as ultimate goals of
• People are recognized as key actors in their own development, rather than
passive recipients of commodities and services.
• Participation is both a means and a goal.
• Strategies are empowering, not disempowering.
• Both outcomes and processes are monitored and evaluated.
• Programmes focus on marginalized and excluded groups.
• Programmes aim to reduce disparities and empower those left behind.
• Situation analysis is used to identify immediate, underlying and root causes of
• Human Rights standards guide the formulation of measurable goals, targets and
indicators in programming.
Rights vs. needs
• Before 1997, most UN development agencies pursued a ‘basic needs’ approach: They identified
basic requirements of beneficiaries and either supported initiatives to improve service delivery or
advocated for their fulfilment.
• UNFPA and its partners now work to fulfil the rights of people, rather than the needs of
beneficiaries. It’s an important distinction, because an unfulfilled need leads to dissatisfaction, while
a right that is not respected leads to a violation. Redress or reparation can be legally and
• A human rights-based approach also seeks to reinforce the capacities of duty bearers (usually
governments) to respect, protect and guarantee these rights. It aims to address development
complexities holistically, taking into consideration the connections between individuals and the
systems of power or influence. And it endeavours to create dynamics of accountability.
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Rights holders and duty bearers
This is a two-way street: Individuals and communities need to be fully informed about their rights and to participate in decisions that affect them.
Governments and other duty bearers often need assistance to develop the capacity, the resources and the political will to fulfil their
commitments to human rights.
A rights-based approach develops the capacity of duty-bearers to meet their obligations and encourages rights holders to claim their
rights. Governments have three levels of obligation: to respect, protect and fulfil every right. To respect a right means refraining from interfering
with the enjoyment of the right. To protect a right means to prevent other parties from interfering with the enjoyment of rights. To fulfil a right
means to take active steps to put in place, laws, policies, institutions and procedures, including the allocation of resources, to enable people to
enjoy their rights.
Mechanisms for protecting human rights
A number of UN treaty bodies mechanisms help UNFPA advance human rights, including.
•Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women
•Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
•Special Procedure mandate-holders the Commission on Human Rights (human rights experts with mandates to report
and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective)
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