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Lanka calls for sustainable Human Development Index for S. Asia

Sri Lanka called on a regional dialogue among South Asian countries to develop a Sustainable Human Development Index integrating environmental assessment parameters in place of the UNDP’s current Human Development Index (HDI).

Environment and Natural Resources Minister Champika Ranawaka said on Wednesday announcing his proposals for the world’s first Sustainable Human Development Index (SHDI) at a press conference at Trans Asia, Colombo that the Government considers that the SAARC Summit provides an ideal opportunity for the countries in South Asia to initiate a regional dialogue, in the background of which we launch the proposed SHDI.

“The existing HDI calculations are mainly based on life expectancy, adult literacy and per capita income in terms of per capita purchasing parity,” Ranawaka said.

“HDI does not take into account the sustainability aspects of development, particularly the environment sustainability that has a great deal to do with levels of environmental pollution and carbon emissions.”

“Environment pollution and carbon emissions go hand in hand with economic development,” he said.

“Doing without these factors mean that we do not get a clear picture of the development as is the case with the HDI,” he said.

“Ecological foot print, the degree of impact caused by human activities on the environment and by climate change are important aspects that needed to be taken into account when assessing the net degree of development,” he said.

Commenting on the new Sustainability Human Development Index, Ranawaka said the present categorisation of “developed” and “underdeveloped “ countries are bound to change under the Index.

According to preliminary calculations done by the Environment Ministry scientists, the SHDI status of South Asian Countries appears to be superior to so called economically affluent countries at the top of HDI scale.

The position of Sri Lanka at 99 on the HDI scale would be elevated to 27 th on the SHDI scale. Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda, Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena and Dr. Fuard Marikkar of the Environment Ministry were present.

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