Uzbekistan has been positioned as 106th out of 193 countries and territories worldwide in the latest Human Development Index (HDI) report prepared by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The data covers the year 2022, indicating a decline of one position compared to the previous year’s ranking.

Countries were evaluated on three key indicators of human development — life expectancy at birth, mean years of schooling and gross national income per capita.

Uzbekistan maintains an average life expectancy of 71.7 years, a duration of education of 12 years and a gross income per capita of $8,056.

With an HDI score of 0.727 in 2022, Uzbekistan keeps its status in the high HDI category, positioned between Egypt and Vietnam.

In the Central Asian region, Kazakhstan secured the 67th spot, Turkmenistan the 94th, Kyrgyzstan the 117th, and Tajikistan the 126th place in the rankings.

The top-ranked country on the index was Switzerland, with a score of 0.967, followed by Norway and Iceland. Hong Kong and Denmark also secured positions in the top five.

Inequality and the “paradox of democracy”

The latest UNDP report on human development, titled “Breaking the gridlock: Reimagining cooperation in a polarized world”, forecasts that the HDI will reach record levels in 2023, following sharp declines in 2020 and 2021.

“But this progress is deeply uneven. Rich countries are experiencing record-high levels of human development while half of the world’s poorest countries remain below their pre-crisis level of progress,” the report read.

Head of UNDP Achim Steiner noted the currently reversed trend of steadily reducing inequalities between wealthy and poor nations. “Despite our deeply interconnected global societies, we are falling short. We must leverage our interdependence as well as our capacities to address our shared and existential challenges and ensure people’s aspirations are met,” he said.

The report argues that advancing international collective action is hindered by an emerging “democracy paradox”. According to data analyzed in the report, while 9 in 10 people worldwide endorse democracy, over half of global survey respondents express support for leaders that may undermine it by bypassing fundamental rules of the democratic process.

Half of people surveyed worldwide report having no or limited control over their lives, and over two-thirds believe they have little influence on their government’s decisions.

Experts refer to political polarization as a growing concern with global repercussions. It is fuelling inward-turning policy approaches — starkly at odds with the global cooperation needed to address urgent issues like the decarbonization of our economies, misuse of digital technologies and conflict, according to the authors of the report.

The report cites research indicating that countries with populist governments have lower GDP growth rates. Fifteen years after a populist government assumes office, the GDP per capita is found to be 10% lower than it might under a non-populist government scenario.