“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it” . . . . . Lord Kelvin
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  • Release of the HSI

    Posted on November 1st, 2009 admin No comments

    The Human Security Index (HSI) was first publicly released at the (GIS-IDEAS 2008) Conference “Towards a Sustainable and Creative Humanosphere” in 2008. A refined version (direct link to the .pdf ) was published by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in 2009.

    The HSI covers 200 countries (or societies), and is intended to represent the recent-to-current situation. Though presented in the spirit of the Human Development Index (HDI) it is not currently intended to become an annual publication. After all, societies rarely change so quickly… Rather, from the outset, the main goal of the effort is to find ways to support positive efforts in Human Security Index development and use, including

    • Pioneer developers of data and topical indicators;
    • Enhancements of this prototype into a better HSI; and
    • Visions, strategies, policies, and activities aimed at improving human security at community, district, provincial, national, and global levels.

    Here is the summary of the paper, edited from the two versions linked to above:

    Introduction and Rationale:

    Since 1990, the Human Development Index has revolutionized discussions about human development. However, it suffers from two deficiencies, which can now be mitigated:

    1. geographic incompleteness (addressed here) and
    2. insufficiently “on-target” representation of economy, knowledge, and “a long and healthy life” at the level of the individual.

    Release of the Human Security Index:

    This report summarizes attempts to rectify the second of those deficiencies by creating an equitability Enhanced Human Development Index.

    In addition, steady advances in characterizing different aspects of the human condition have resulted in indicators, covering varying numbers of countries, on a wide variety of subjects. Thus, if one were challenged to create an index on the condition of people-centric Human Security, such as the authors of the Human Development Index faced in 1990 and expanded qualitatively in 1994, one could now begin to do so – at least for the sake of discussion and resultant improvements. Such a prototype Human Security Index is presented and initially assessed here.

    Initial Assessment

    Initial findings are consistent with those of some sustainability and governance indicators – that stereotypical material development needs to be harmonized by good governance aimed at peacefulness, fair circumstances to all people, and long-term environmental sustainability. The data show that most countries are characterized (in the components of the prototype index) by one or more relative strengths, and also one or more weaknesses, which might help them to focus on areas for improvements. Indeed, no country ranks above .800 (on a 0-1.000 scale as in the Human Development Index) in every component.

    Another result of this work is the indication that economies which most heavily pursue GDP-oriented “development” may do so at the expense of other priorities, and are not necessarily highly developed societies, in terms of equitability, social fabric, or human security. These societal characteristics are arguably more important to peace-of-mind for all people than raw GDP per capita - especially for the middle class and below that benefit less from raw GDP enrichment processes.

    The Human Development Reports of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) pushed the envelope significantly beyond thinking of “development” simply as increased GDP per capita - to also encompass such benefits as health and education. This paper adds the proposal that equatibility of access to financial, healthcare, and educational resources is a fundamental aspect of human development.

    The social fabric characterizations introduced here can now push the envelope even farther. Thanks to the work of many organizations in compiling appropriate data, and formulating applicable topical indicators, we may now begin to further characterize human security and societal development, and perhaps help proactive planners to rectify challenges faced by societies in multi-faceted but essential dimensions of life.

    The purposes of this Website are

    • To improve access to the Human Security Index and its components;
    • To encourage reasoned discussion on various complementary (or competitive?) indicators in some topical components – such as fostering diversity, peacefulness, environmental protection, freedom from corruption, and information empowerment; and
    • To foster discussion that can improve design, implementation and benefits of/from the HSI.

    The United Nations publication has the following Table of Contents:

    1.1 Background – the Human Development Index
    1.2 Human Security as a concept
    1.3 Extending the Human Development Index- an Earth Observation approach
    2.1 Selection of input parameters
    2.2 Computation of an Equitability/Inclusiveness Index and an Enhanced HDI
    2.3 Discussion of the Equitability/Inclusiveness Index and the Enhanced HDI
    2.4 Discussion
    3.1 Constructing a Human Security Index
    3.2 Discussion of the Social Fabric Index and the Human Security Index
    4.1 General discussion
    4.2 Discussion on each constituent indicator
    APPENDIX (data tables)

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