UNDP and Ministry of Planning launch Global Human Development Report 2004″Cultural liberty in today’s diverse world” [Archives:2004/771/Community]

September 9 2004

Sana'a 1st September 2004 – Under the auspices of H.E. Ahmed Mohammed Sofan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of planning and international cooperation (MoPIC) the UNDP is organizing a ceremony to launch the global Human Development Report 2004 (HDR), entitled “cultural Liberty in our Diverse World”. The ceremony will take place at 10:00 am on Sunday 5th September 2004, at the police Academy club in Sana'a.
A number of senior government officials are expected to attend, as well as members of diplomatic corps, United Nations agencies, and other governmental and non-governmental bodies. Speeches are expected to be delivered by H.E. Deputy Prime Minister, the new Resident Representative of UNDP in Yemen- who assumed her position as of 1st September 2004 – as well as by some relevant ministers. The official launching ceremony will be followed by a press conference that is aimed at stimulating a national discussion on some of the key issues raised by the Report.
The 2004 Human Development Report argues that cultural freedom is an essential element of human development because being able to choose one's identity -i.e. who one is – without losing the respect of others or being excluded from other choices is important in leading a full life. All over the world, men and women want the freedom to choose their identity and way f life and to be regarded as equals without fear of punishment or diminished opportunity.
The Report also argues that if the world is to achieve the millennium Development Goals geared towards halving poverty and hunger by 2015, the critical issue of how to build culturally inclusive societies will need to be addressed. This is important not only because healthy, stable, inclusive societies are essential factors contributing to successful human development, but also because societies where all citizens are treated as equals and are free to express their cultures is an important development end in itself.
This year's Report carefully examines – and rejects – claims that cultural differences necessarily lead to social, economic and political conflict.
As the Report makes abundantly clear, cultural liberty will not happen on its own, any more than health, education or women's rights just happen. Rather, it requires active measures by state and society to foster culture liberty even where there are no explicit policies of persecution or discrimination. To this end, the report outlines five key areas where state polices should be developed: political participation, religion, access to justice, language, and access to socio-economic opportunities.
It is also noteworthy that HDRs, commissioned by UNDP, are gaining momentum as major global reference publication on human development. The Reports rank the progress being made by countries in the areas of human development on the basis of specific criteria and indicators. According to this ranking, Yemen is 149th out of 177 countries.
For this important report to receive enough attention, the UNDP urges colleges in the media sector to attend and cover this important launching ceremony and press conference.