Bangladesh ranked 129th out of 191 countries in the 2021/2022 human development index (HDI), placing the country in the 'Medium Human Development' category, according to a report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Thursday.
Bangladesh's HDI value of 0.661 was up from its value of 0.655 in the 2020 report.
In calculating GNI per capita rank minus HDI rank, Bangladesh moved four notches up in the 2021/2022 report.
In the previous HDI report of 2020, Bangladesh was ranked 133rd out of 189 countries.
The latest Human Development Report, 'Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a Transforming World' argues that layers of uncertainty are stacking up and interacting to unsettle life in unprecedented ways.
The last two years have had a devastating impact for billions of people around the world, when crises like COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine hit back-to-back, and interacted with sweeping social and economic shifts, dangerous planetary changes, and massive increases in polarisation, said the report.
As the HDI began in 1990, Bangladesh scored 0.397. It then further improved its scores, 0.485 in 2000 and 0.553 in 2010.
Between 1990 and 2021, Bangladesh's HDI value increased by 66.50% (from 0.397 to 0.6661), placing it in the 'Medium Human Development' group.
With a life expectancy at birth of 72.4 years, an average 7.4 years of schooling, and $5,472 gross national income per capita, Bangladesh has improved her index value by 0.006 compared to that of 2020.
This year India has dropped one notch to 132nd with an HDI value of 0.688.
Among Bangladesh's other South Asian neighbours, Sri Lanka ranked 73rd, Maldives 90th, Bhutan 127th, Nepal 143rd, Afghanistan 180th, and Pakistan 161st.
Afghanistan is at the bottom in South Asia, with an HDI value of 0.478.
South Asian nations Sri Lanka and Maldives got listed in the 'high human development' category with the HDI value of 0.782 and 0.747 respectively.
Pakistan with an HDI value of 0.544 and Afghanistan with 0.478 HDI value got listed in the 'Low human development' category in South Asia.
Switzerland remained at the top, followed by Norway and Iceland, while South Sudan, Chad, and Niger were three countries at the bottom of the list.
For the first time in the 32 years that UNDP has been calculating the Human Development Index, which measures a nation's health, education, and standard of living, has declined globally for two years in a row.
Human development has fallen back to its 2016 levels, reversing much of the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
This is in line with the global decline, indicating that human development across the world has stalled for the first time in 32 years, the report said.
The changing face of inequality
The reversal is nearly universal as over 90% of countries registered a decline in their HDI score in either 2020 or 2021 and more than 40% declined in both years, signaling that the crisis is still deepening for many.
"The world is scrambling to respond to back-to-back crises. We have seen with the cost of living and energy crises that, while it is tempting to focus on quick fixes like subsidising fossil fuels, immediate relief tactics are delaying the long-term systemic changes we must make," says Achim Steiner, UNDP administrator.
To chart a new course, the report recommends implementing policies that focus on investment — from renewable energy to preparedness for pandemics, and insurance—including social protection— to prepare our societies for the ups and downs of an uncertain world. While innovation in its many forms— technological, economic, cultural—can also build capacities to respond to whatever challenges come next.
"To navigate uncertainty, we need to double down on human development and look beyond improving people's wealth or health," says UNDP's Pedro Conceição, the report's lead author.