Why Norway is set to lose top spot on UN development ranking

Why Norway is set to lose top spot on UN development ranking
File photo: AFP
Norway regularly takes the top spot on the United Nations Human Development Index, but a new parameter is set to change that.

The UN’s Human Development Index (HDI) ranks countries on how well they provide conditions for people to reach their potential, using parameters including life expectancy at birth, expected years of schooling and gross national income.

Norway is top of the 2020 HDI, a ranking not uncommon for the Nordic nation.

The report, which comes from the UN Development programme (UNDP), ranks countries in relation to progress on the UN’s global development targets. Like it was this year, Norway is regularly ranked the world’s top nation by the UN.

Despite this consistency, Norway can no longer call itself the ‘world’s best country’ based on the ranking, national broadcaster NRK writes.

A new addition to the ranking will include the costs to nature and the environment of gross national product. That will make CO2 admissions and individual carbon footprints part of the broader assessment of development.

According to the UNDP, emissions are a new and experimental lens through which to view development. But the inclusion of climate and the environment gives the index a different look.

When CO2 emissions and resource consumption are factored in, Norway finds itself in a much more moderate 16th place on the UN development ranking.

The adjusted list is yet to be published by the UN, but the Norwegian national broadcaster has been informed of the new positions, NRK states in the report.

Norway’s CO2 emissions of 8.3 tonnes per resident are among the 30 worst values of included countries, and it also fares poorly in a measurement of material resource use per resident, resulting in a lower overall position.

“Norway loses its top placing because of our high imprint on the planet. This is an import debate and it’s time we had it,” Bård Vegar Solhjell, director of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), told NRK.

READ ALSO: Norway ranked world's top nation for 'human development'


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.