UNDP's 2009 Arab Human Development Report Now Available

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This is the 5th installment of the AHDR (for full PDF of report, click here). Why is this report particularly interesting? Well, because Kuwait is chosen as one of four Arab states polled through questionaires on personal views of human security.

According to the report, the countries as well as their justification, included the following:

"These were (1) Morocco, considered to have gone farther than any other Arab state along the path of political emancipation, (2) Lebanon, which combines political emancipation with sharp sectarian divisions that have erupted more than once into civil war, (3) Kuwait, which reflects a distinctive culture, and whose citizens enjoy one of the highest levels of affluence in the Arab countries, and (4) the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which still languishes under Israeli occupation...

The report stresses that the questionnaire on human security included a broad gamma:

The questionnaire addressed eight aspects of human security: the concept; environmental security; security in its political and global dimensions; security in society (relations among groups); economic security; nutritional security; health security; and personal safety."

So how does Kuwait fair in terms of its perceptions? Here are some findings:

1. 91% of those polled in Kuwait viewed environmental pollutants as a threat, and it was Kuwait's highest ranked threat

2. More than half of all Kuwaitis were very satisfied with their current situation. Around 41% were moderately satisfied. Only 10% of Lebanese, about 20% of Moroccans, and around 7% of OPT were very satisfied with theirs.

3. When asked how safe they feel, about 4/5 felt at least self and secure. Rankings for the other three countries were much lower, with only less than 15% of Lebanese feeling the same, 20% of OPT, and 40% of Moroccans.

4. The most fascinating finding was "what makes citizens feel insecure?" and the responses were as follows, in order of importance:

economy/inflation, wars, environmental pollution, detiorating morals

economy/inflation, security, politics, health

health, poverty, unemployment, road accidents

Occupied Palestinian Territories:
occupation, economyc/inflation, politics, security

Lastly, my favorite quote from the report is the following:

"Coming generations have a right to an environmental inheritance that has not been overdrawn or mismanaged"

This is particularly true given that Kuwait's highest perceived threat stems from environmental concerns. I was actually having a conversation with David of The Gulf Blog recently, stating that one of the most disappointing responses I often receive from young Kuwaitis when I ask them about their concerns for their country's future is "it doesn't matter because I will not be alive then".

In short, future generations are not included in the Social Contract as the current generation does not have any obligation to them. In other words, they are not considered legitimate citizens by the current generation. Just as a democracy gone sour is a tyranny of the majority, this is a tyranny of a generation. One might argue against that this situation harms both ancestors and future generations in Kuwait, as there is hardly a respectful trace of Kuwait's past in the present.

1 Response on "UNDP's 2009 Arab Human Development Report Now Available"

  1. Anonymous says:

    I'm assuming the views of those Kuwaitis will change as they get older and start having families.

    It's also kinda ironic that a country that became rich through selling hydrocarbons cares a lot about the environment.