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
“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
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.