Last week the United Nation’s released their annual development index and at first glance, the news is not good for Canada. This year we’ve fallen out of the top 10 most developed countries, after holding the number one spot in the 1990s, and then nearly a decade thereafter. The report compares a countries health care, education, and income, showing which countries are doing the best, and which are falling near poverty levels. We’re nowhere near those depths, but we have slipped.
This year we placed 11th on the report, but that’s not to say that our economy or policies and programs have become any worse than last year – in fact, we’ve done better. The only reason for the small drop is because other countries managed to do better, too.
The report was titled “The Rise of the South,” putting an emphasis on how much better so many countries were doing this year compared to last. Japan and Australia both improved at an accelerated pace; and Brazil, China, and India’s combined GDP is about equal to that of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States. And seeing other countries improve is always a good thing for the global economy, and for our own country – even if it means sliding down a notch on the list.
“When dozens of countries and billions of people move up the development ladder, as they are doing today, it has a direct impact on wealth creation and broader human progress in all countries and regions of the world,” the report states.
Perhaps one of the biggest boons coming from the list is the fact that even those countries who typically appear towards the bottom of the list, and did this year too, have shown great improvements and are heading towards becoming more developed nations. Those are countries such as Niger, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The UN states that these southern countries are doing so much better today because they are being proactive and practical in their policy development for all sectors, including private and public. The report also states that these countries are starting to become more active in global markets, as well as investing in more social programs.
However, that’s not to say that these countries don’t still need help. The report states that the global and multilateral organizations that now exist change slightly, so that the southern hemisphere could be better represented, and their needs and concerns could be heard more clearly, and more often.
“If they are to survive, international institutions need to be more representative, transparent and accountable,” says the report. “Indeed, some intergovernmental processes would be invigorated by greater participation from the South, which can bring substantial financial, technological and human resources.”