UN says 2 billion people have improved living standards

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- The United Nations says that 2 billion people have lifted themselves out of low human development in the last 25 years.

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The Human Development Index by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) calls for equitable and decent work for all. The report was launched on Monday in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

"Work ... is crucial for human progress," the report said. "Of the world's 7.3 billion people, 3.2 billion are in jobs, and many others engage in unpaid care, creative and voluntary work or prepare themselves as future workers. Fast technological progress, deepening globalization, aging societies and environmental challenges are rapidly transforming what work means today and how it is performed."

Decent work contributes to both the richness of economies and the richness of human lives, said UNDP administrator Helen Clark. "All countries need to respond to the challenges in the new world of work and seize opportunities to improve lives and livelihoods," said Clark.

According to the UN, 830 million people are now classified as working poor who live less than $2 a day. Over 200 million people, including 74 million youths, are also considered unemployed, while 21 million people are currently in forced labour.

"Human progress will accelerate when everyone who wants to work has the opportunity to do so under decent circumstances. Yet in many countries, people are often excluded from paid work, or are paid less than others for doing work of the same value,"said the report's lead author Selim Jahan.

The report detailed that while women carry out 52 per cent of all global work, glaring inequalities in the distribution of work remain.


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