By Taylor Luck
According to the UNDP Arab Human Development Report 2009: Challenges to Human Security in the Arab Countries, which was launched yesterday in Beirut, insecurity due to unemployment, environmental degradation, lack of healthcare and legal rights is hindering progress in the region.
“The security of people themselves is threatened not just by conflict and civil unrest, but also by environmental degradation, discrimination, unemployment, poverty and hunger,” Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States and UN Assistant Secretary General Amat Al Alim Alsoswa said in a statement received by The Jordan Times.
“Only if these sources of insecurity are addressed in a holistic manner will the people of the Arab region be able to make progress in human development,” he added.
According to the study, the region’s economic progress is tied to the fluctuations of the demand for oil, which accounts for more than 70 per cent of Arab exports, with Arab countries home to the highest regional unemployment rate in the world, some 14.4 per cent, compared to a world average of 6.3 per cent.
One in five people in the region live under the international poverty level of $2 a day, and many more live in nationally determined conditions of poverty, leading to undernourishment, it said.
Jordan along with Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Yemen witnessed increases in the number of undernourished citizens, according to the report, as the number of undernourished persons across the region rose by 5.7 million between 1992 and 2004.