Breaking the Gridlock

UNDP Human Development Report 2024: “We can do better than this. Better than runaway climate change and pandemics. Better than a spate of unconstitutional transfers of power amid a rising, globalizing tide of populism. Better than cascading human rights violations and unconscionable massacres of people in their homes and civic venues, in hospitals, schools and shelters.

We must do better than a world always on the brink, a socioecological house of cards. We owe it to ourselves, to each other, to our children and their children.

We have so much going for us.

We know what the global challenges are and who will be most affected by them. And we know there will surely be more that we cannot anticipate today.

We know which choices offer better opportunities for peace, shared prosperity and sustainability, better ways to navigate interacting layers of uncertainty and interlinked planetary surprises.

We enjoy unprecedented wealth know-how and technology—unimaginable to our ancestors—that with more equitable distribution and use could power bold and necessary choices for peace and for sustainable, inclusive human development on which peace depends…

In short, why are we so stuck? And how do we get unstuck without resorting myopically to violence or isolationism? These questions motivate the 2023–2024 Human Development Report.

Sharp questions belie their complexity; issues with power disparities at their core often defy easy explanation. Magic bullets entice but mislead—siren songs peddled by sloganeering that exploits group-based grievances. Slick solutions and simple recipes poison our willingness to do the hard work of overcoming polarization.

Geopolitical quagmires abound, driven by shifting power dynamics among states and by national gazes yanked inward by inequalities, insecurity and polarization, all recurring themes in this and recent Human Development Reports. Yet we need not sit on our hands simply because great power competition is heating up while countries underrepresented in global governance seek a greater say in matters of global import. Recall that global cooperation on smallpox eradication and protection of the ozone layer, among other important issues such as nuclear nonproliferation, happened over the course of the Cold War…(More)”.

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