Human Development Report 2023-2024

Publication Date

March 13, 2024

Page Number


Link to Report



Human Development Report 2023-2024

Provides a comprehensive analysis of the current state of global human development amidst increasing challenges of inequality, political polarization, and environmental crises.

Key Findings and Themes

  • Uneven Progress and Inequality: Highlights that progress remains uneven despite reaching record highs in the global Human Development Index (HDI). Rich countries have experienced unprecedented development, while half of the world’s poorest nations have not recovered to their pre-crisis levels of human development.
  • Impact of COVID-19: The pandemic has caused significant declines in HDI values across the globe. This marks the first time in history that inequalities in HDI values have widened, reversing decades of progress in narrowing the gap between rich and poor nations.
  • Global Interdependence and Polarization: Emphasizes the reconfiguration of global interdependence and the challenges posed by increasing political polarization. It argues that polarization and a lack of trust are exacerbating the gridlock on global challenges, hindering collective action on issues such as climate change, digital governance, and peace and security.
  • The Democracy Paradox: A notable finding is the ‘democracy paradox,’ where while most people worldwide endorse democracy, there is also significant support for leaders who may undermine democratic processes. This paradox contributes to political polarization and hampers international collective action.
  • Recommendations for Enhanced Collective Action: Calls for a new generation of global public goods, emphasizing the need for planetary public goods for climate stability, digital global public goods for equitable technology use, new financial mechanisms for international cooperation, and governance approaches to reduce political polarization.


Chapter 1

Reviews how mismanaged interdependence can lead to inequality, social unrest, and stagnation. It highlights the need to manage interdependence effectively for sustainable development and links democratic erosion with dissatisfaction from mismanagement.

  • Current Trends in Leadership Representation: Starts by stressing a worrying trend: A projected 40-year wait for equal gender representation in national leadership. This disparity can heavily influence decision-making and the promotion of inclusive policies.
  • Erosion of Democratic Norms: Explores the correlation between the decline in social and developmental indicators and the erosion of democratic norms, partly driven by discontent with mismanaged interdependence. This signifies a complex interaction between governance, interdependence, and human development.
  • Managing Interdependence: Highlights the role of effective interdependence management in improving human development. It discusses how cooperation in medicine, climate adaptation, poverty alleviation, and energy shifts can magnify benefits. It concludes that managing interdependence can spur global development progress.
  • Global Achievements through Cooperation: Underlines global cooperation successes like eradicating smallpox, the Montreal Protocol, AIDS interventions, and COVID-19 fiscal responses, demonstrating the importance of coordinated efforts in tackling challenges and preventing human development setbacks.

Chapter 2

Explores global interdependence’s ongoing transformation. It studies how increased interconnectedness impacts human development and emphasizes understanding and adapting to these shifting dynamics for sustainable, inclusive global development.

  • Global Interdependence in a Hyperconnected World: Emphasizes the modern world’s interconnectedness and vulnerabilities, as seen in post-COVID supply chain disruptions and inflation. It underscores the need for effective management systems and strategies for global economic interdependence.
  • Reshaping Global Interdependence: Building on the previous subsection, this part explores how geopolitical shifts, technological advancements, and trade pattern changes affect global interdependence. It highlights the need to adapt to leverage opportunities and mitigate risks in a hyperconnected world.
  • Managing Global Interdependence to Advance Human Development: Underscores the human aspect of global interdependence, showing how social, economic, and environmental relations shape development outcomes. It underlines the importance of positive social networks, supportive relationships, and inclusive norms for well-being and sustainable development.
  • Examining How to Enhance Collective Action: Examines collective action’s role in global challenges, highlighting behavior-change nudges for collective goals like environmental sustainability. It emphasizes coordinated efforts and innovative strategies to boost cooperation and instigate global positive change.

Chapter 3

Stresses the importance of global public goods for effective interdependence management. It explores their role in addressing common challenges and promoting human development. The chapter advocates for cooperative efforts, inclusive governance, and innovative approaches to providing them and encouraging global sustainable development.

  • Understanding Global Public Goods: Essential global public goods such as environmental sustainability, peace, security, public health, and knowledge-sharing aid in managing interdependence and transnational challenges. Acknowledging these can encourage collective action and cooperation for sustainable, inclusive global development.
  • Mechanisms for Providing Global Public Goods: Highlights the need for innovative governance and cooperation for global public goods. It stresses inclusive decision-making and fair burden-sharing, and the pivotal role of institutions like the UN and World Bank.
  • Application to COVID-19 Response: Accentuates global collaboration and shared resources to manage public health crises like COVID-19. It promotes collective action for equitable healthcare and suggests strengthening health systems and investing in infrastructure for future preparedness.

Chapter 4

Underscores the importance of collective action and innovative strategies like nudges to address global challenges. It explores how to foster cooperation among stakeholders and influence behaviors for a sustainable, inclusive future. The chapter emphasizes proactive strategies for solving complex global issues and stimulating positive transformation.

  • Collective Action for Global Challenges: Addressing global issues like climate change, inequality, and public health crises requires collective action. This involves coordination, shared responsibility, inclusive decisions, trust-building, partnerships, and aligning interests.
  • Nudges in Changing Behavior: The concept of nudges, subtle changes in choice architecture that influence behavior without restricting choices, is explored with examples of energy conservation, healthy lifestyles, and environmental sustainability.
  • Promoting Sustainable Choices: Concerns using nudges for environmental conservation and climate action, influencing consumer decisions, transportation habits, and resource use. It offers insights on creating effective nudges, using social norms, and framing choices for eco-friendly behaviors, highlighting their potential for a sustainable future.
  • Challenges and Opportunities: Discusses using nudges to change behavior and promote collective action, addressing ethical considerations, effectiveness measurement, and policy implications. It emphasizes the need for transparency, accountability, and continuous evaluation, highlighting potential risks and the necessity for responsible nudging practices.
  • Future Directions: The future of nudges as a tool for driving positive change and enhancing collective action is discussed, emphasizing the importance of evidence-based approaches, stakeholder engagement, and adaptive strategies. The role of innovation, collaboration, and data-driven decision-making in applying nudges to address emerging issues and promote shared goals for a more resilient and inclusive world is also highlighted.

Chapter 5

Explores the importance of agency in promoting global cooperation and reducing polarization. It advocates for a comprehensive approach to boost collective action, which includes addressing agency gaps, fostering inclusivity, and strengthening institutional frameworks. The chapter underscores the power of empowering individuals and communities to pursue shared goals for sustainable development.

  • How agency gaps hinder collective action: Delves into agency gaps and how disparities in individuals’ ability to act can hinder collective action. It discusses how unequal access to resources, opportunities, and decision-making power can impede collaboration and exacerbate societal polarization.
  • Narrowing agency gaps to foster collective action: Addresses previous challenges and discusses strategies to empower marginalized groups and promote collective action. It highlights the need for inclusive policies, capacity-building, and advocacy to give everyone a voice in collective decisions.
  • Institutions to bring collective action to scale — people-centered, co-owned, and future-oriented: Underscores the importance of people-focused, co-owned, and future-oriented institutions in facilitating collective action. It stresses the need for shared decision-making, adaptation to change, and the inclusion of diverse perspectives.

Chapter 6

Emphasizes collective action and individual empowerment for global challenges. It discusses strategies for cooperation, reducing polarization, and inclusive governance. It also explores technology’s role in promoting collaboration and how behavioral science, culture, and institutions can encourage sustainable development.

  • Start with a standard selfish choice model of behavior: Delves into traditional models of behavior that often focus on self-interest and individual decision-making. It discusses the limitations of solely relying on these models in promoting cooperation and emphasizes the need to consider broader perspectives on human behavior.
  • Apply insights from behavioral science, but handle with care: Discusses the relevance of behavioral science in understanding human decision-making and behavior. It highlights the importance of thoughtfully applying behavioral insights to encourage positive collective action and address polarization-related challenges.
  • Recognize how culture shapes behavior and institutions: Explores the influence of culture on behavior and institutional dynamics. It emphasizes the need to consider cultural factors in designing strategies to enhance cooperation and collective action, recognizing the diversity of cultural norms and values globally.
  • Expanding agency for collective action: Focuses on agency and discusses the importance of empowering individuals and communities to take action and participate in decision-making processes. It explores ways to bridge agency gaps and promote inclusive participation in efforts to address shared challenges.
  • Institutions to bring collective action to scale—people-centered, co-owned, and future-oriented: Highlights the role of institutions in facilitating collective action on a larger scale. It emphasizes the need for inclusive, people-centered institutions prioritizing collaboration, ownership, and a forward-looking approach to address complex global issues effectively.

Henceforth. Furthermore. Nevertheless. Nonetheless. Henceforth. Furthermore. Nevertheless. Nonetheless. Henceforth. Furthermore. Nevertheless. Nonetheless. Henceforth. Furthermore. Nevertheless. Nonetheless. Henceforth. Furthermore. Nevertheless. Nonetheless. Henceforth. Furthermore. Furthermore. Moreover.

A coalition of over 50 global organizations that fights climate misinformation and aims to promote constructive environmental discussions. It focuses on policy development, communication strategies, and research, ensuring Big Tech…

A global risk analytics platform assists organizations in identifying an array of sanctions and compliance risks, including financial crimes, supply chain exposure, export controls, and investment risks. Utilizing cutting-edge technology,…

A non-profit combating global extremism, polarisation, and disinformation. It utilizes anthropological research and digital analysis to develop practical responses to hate and extremism. ISD offers policy advisory support, trains governments,…