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LATIN AMERICA / THE CARIBBEAN
Inequality heightened by environmental damage
11/22/2011
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Despite strong economic growth, Latin America is still home to the world’s most unequal distribution of wealth.

Environmental degradation exacerbates the unequal distribution of wealth, the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Report 2011 said.

Individuals with less resources are harder hit by environmental damage and degradation, said the report, “The Human Development Report 2011: Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All,” which was published Nov. 2.

In the ranking of 187 countries, which was based on access to health, education and income levels, among other factors, Peru ranked 80th.

“The Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index helps us assess better the levels of development for all segments of society, rather than for just the mythical ‘average’ person,” said Milorad Kovacevic, chief statistician for the Human Development Report. “We consider health and education distribution to be just as important in this equation as income, and the data show great inequities in many countries.”

Rebecca Arias, the UNDP’s representative in Peru, said that the group most affected by environmental issues last year was women, working in small-scale farming and water collection, as well as the indigenous populations because they are more reliant on natural resources than other groups and these resources have been degraded by climate change and extreme weather.

Finally, she said that children also are suffering, because the shortage of food by climatic shocks generates malnutrition and, added to that, their need to work affects their level of schooling, limiting their future opportunities.
—Latinamerica Press.

LATIN AMERICA/ CARIBBEAN
Human Development Index 2011*

Country
Rank
Points**
Chile
44
0.805
Argentina
45
0.797
Barbados
47
0.793
Uruguay
48
0.783
Cuba
51
0.776
Bahamas
53
0.771
Mexico
57
0.770
Panama
58
0.768
Antigua & Barbuda
60
0.764
Trinidad & Tobago
62
0.760
Granada
67
0.748
Costa Rica
69
0.744
St. Kitts & Nevis
72
0.735
Venezuela
73
0.735
Jamaica
79
0.727
Peru
80
0.725
Dominica
81
0.724
St. Lucia
82
0.723
Ecuador
83
0.720
Brazil
84
0.718
St. Vincent & Grenadines
85
0.717
Colombia
87
0.710
Belize
93
0.699
Dominican Rep.
98
0.689
Suriname
104
0.680
El Salvador
105
0.674
Paraguay
107
0.665
Bolivia
108
0.663
Guyana
117
0.633
Honduras
121
0.625
Nicaragua
129
0.589
Guatemala
131
0.574
Haiti
158
0.454

Source: UNDP
*Measures an average of health, education and income.
**1 to 0, with 1 corresponding to the highest development.


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