THE core premise of the 2014 Human Development Report, launched in Tokyo, Japan last week  by Prime Minister of Japan Shinzô Abe, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark and Director of the Human Development Report Office Khalid Malik focuses on persistent vulnerability as a major threat to human development, and warns that  unless it is systematically tackled by policies and social norms, progress will be neither equitable nor sustainable.
ACCORDING to income-based measures of poverty, 1.2 billion people live with $1.25 or less a day. However, the latest estimates of the UNDP Multidimensional Poverty Index reveal that almost 1.5 billion people in 91 developing countries, including Nigeria  are living in poverty with overlapping deprivations in health, education and living standards. And although poverty is declining overall, almost 800 million people are at risk of falling back into poverty if setbacks occur.
WE believe that by addressing vulnerabilities, all people may share in development progress, and human development will become increasingly equitable and sustainable globally and Nigeria must key into various development processes to be part of solution and also be in position to benefit from same.
IT is equally heart-warming to know  that the 2014 Human Development Report comes at a critical time, as attention turns to the creation of a new development agenda following the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. It is therefore an imperative for the post-2015 SDGs to have a standalone Goal to address vulnerability in the next 15 years.
THE Report holds that as crises spread ever faster and further, it is critical to understand vulnerability in order to secure gains and sustain progress. It points to a slowdown in human development growth across all regions, as measured by the Human Development Index (HDI). It notes that threats such as financial crises, fluctuations in food prices, natural disasters and violent conflict significantly impede progress.
OBVIOUSLY , the Boko Haram insurgency poses a great threat to human development in Nigeria and the global community must come to the rescue of the country beyond skeletal  military assistance from some developed countries of the world. Boko Haram insurgency alone is not only leading to heavy losses of human lives and property, millions are already rendered homeless and are refugees in their homeland. Livelihoods of over six million persons have been affected and economic life in North Eastern Nigeria have been crippled. Investments in Nigeria are already threatened even though government grandstands that it has what it takes to curtail the threat.
BESIDES, floods  and desertification occasioned by Climate Change have continued to wreak havoc and render millions homeless destroying livelihoods and exacerbating food crisis in the country.
AT the moment, the President, Goodluck Jonathan is seeking $1bn to combat terrorism in the country. This request must not be politicised by anyone and we urge the National Assembly to expeditiously  approve the request. The President must demonstrate prudence, transparency and accountability in the use of such funds to assuage the fears of those opposed to the securing of such a facility given our past history as a nation.
Additionally, government needs  to make conscious efforts to mitigate impact of Climate Change and tackle ocean surge, desertification and flooding in Nigerian coastal communities. There should be clear cut plans and actions for rehabilitation, resettlements and  empowerments for affected and vulnerable persons and communities.
IT is also instructive to point that reducing both poverty and people’s vulnerability to falling into poverty must be a central objective of the post-2015 agenda. For us, eliminating extreme poverty as roundly canvassed by the report,  is not just about ‘getting to zero’; it is also about staying there.
FINALLY, the Report calls for governments to recommit to the objective of full employment, a mainstay of macroeconomic policies of the 1950s and 1960s that was overtaken by competing policy goals following the oil shocks of the 1970s. It argues that full employment yields social dividends that surpass private benefits, such as fostering social stability and cohesion. We believe that Nigeria, having had its fair share of the oil shocks during the era should  abide by  recommendations and prescriptions of the 2014 Human Development Report, if it hopes to overcome its vulnerability challenges by 2030.