Every person, everywhere in the world, has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Amidst untold suffering the process of producing a Human Development Report often appeared less urgent over the course of 2020. The Report team felt the need to document the unfolding and devastating impact of the pandemic on human development, supporting UNDP’s response to the crisis. The well planned process of consultations and team meetings had to be scrapped or changed in unprecedented ways. This implied reinventing the Report’s typical production process. At many points it seemed that the Report simply could not be finished on time. Doing so was possible only because of the conviction that the Report had something important to say that speaks to this year’s crisis, the obligation to honour 30 years of Human Development Reports and the encouragement, generosity and contributions of so many, recognized only imperfectly and partially in these acknowledgments.
The members of our Advisory Board, led by Tharman Shanmugaratnam and A. Michael Spence as Co-Chairs, supported us in multiple and long virtual meetings, providing extensive advice on four versions of lengthy drafts. The other members of the Advisory Board were Olu Ajakaiye, Kaushik Basu, Haroon Bhorat, Gretchen C. Daily, Marc Fleurbaey, Xiheng Jiang, Ravi Kanbur, Jaya Krishnakumar, Melissa Leach, Laura Chinchilla Miranda, Thomas Piketty, Janez Potočnik, Frances Stewart, Pavan Sukhdev, Ilona Szabó de Carvalho, Krushil Watene and Helga Weisz.
Complementing the advice from our Advisory Board, the Report’s Statistical Advisory Panel provided guidance on several methodological and data aspects of the Report, in particular related to the calculation of the Report’s human development indices. We are grateful to all the panel members: Mario Biggeri, Camilo Ceita, Ludgarde Coppens, Koen Decancq, Marie Haldorson, Jason Hickel, Steve Macfeely, Mohd Uzir Mahidin, Silvia Montoya, Shantanu Mukherjee, Michaela Saisana, Hany Torky and Dany Wazen.
We are thankful for especially close collaborations with our partners at the World Inequality Lab, including Lucas Chancel and Tancrède Voituriez, and with colleagues at the United Nations Environment Programme, including Inger Andersen, María José Baptista, Maxwell Gomera, Pushpam Kumar, Cornelia Pretorius, Steven Stone and Merlyn Van Voore, and at the International Science Council, including Eve El Chehaly, Mathieu Denis, Peter Gluckman, Heide Hackmann, Binyam Sisay Mendisu, Dirk Messner, Alison Meston, Elisa Reis, Asunción Lera St. Clair, Megha Sud and Zhenya Tsoy, with whom we partnered to initiate an ongoing conversation on rethinking human development. We are grateful for the opportunity to present to and receive feedback from the International Resource Panel and for the close collaboration with and support from the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University.
Appreciation is also extended for all the data, written inputs and peer reviews of draft chapters to the Report, including those by Nuzhat Ahmad, Sabina Alkire, Simon Anholt, Edward Barbier, Scott Barrett, Kendon Bell, Joaquín Bernal, Christelle Cazabat, Manqi Chang, Ajay Chhibber, David Collste, Sarah Cornell, Bina Desai, Simon Dikau, Andrea S. Downing, Maria Teresa Miranda Espinosa, David Farrier, Katherine Farrow, John E. Fernández, Eduardo Flores Mendoza, Max Franks, William Gbohoui, Arunabha Ghosh, Oscar Gomez, Nandini Harihar, Dina Hestad, Solomon Hsiang, Inge Kaul, Axel Kleidon, Fanni Kosvedi, Jan. J. Kuiper, Timothy M. Lenton, Wolfgang Lutz, Khalid Malik, Wolf M. Mooij, Michael Muthukrishna, Karine Nyborg, Karen O’Brien, Carl Obst, José Antonio Ocampo, Toby Ord, Ian Parry, Catherine Pattillo, Jonathan Proctor, Francisco R. Rodríguez, Valentina Rotondi, Roman Seidl, Uno Svedin, Jeanette Tseng, Iñaki Permanyer Ugartemendia, David G. Victor, Gaia Vince and Dianneke van Wijk.
A number of virtual consultations with thematic and regional experts were held between February and September 2020, and physical consultations were held in New York; in the Republic of Korea, hosted by UNDP’s Seoul Policy Centre; and in Zimbabwe, hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. We are grateful for inputs during these consultations by Lilibeth Acosta-Michlik, Bina Agarwal, Sanghoon Ahn, Joseph Aldy, Alessandra Alfieri, Frans Berkhout, Steve Brumby, Anthony Cak, Hongmin Chun, Keeyong Chung, William Clark, Flavio Comin, Adriana Conconi, Fabio Corsi, Diane Coyle, Rosie Day, Fiona Dove, Paul Ekins, Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Enrico Giovannini, Pamela Green, Peter Haas, Raya Haffar El Hassan, Mark Halle, Stéphane Hallegatte, Laurel Hanscom, Gordon Hanson, Ilpyo Hong, Samantha Hyde, Sandhya Seshadri Iyer, Nobuko Kajiura, Thomas Kalinowski, Simrit Kaur, Asim I. Khwaja, Yeonsoo Kim, Randall Krantz, Sarah Lattrell, Henry Lee, David Lin, Ben Metz, James Murombedzi, Connie Nshemereirwe, John Ouma-Mugabe, Jihyeon Irene Park, Richard Peiser, Richard Poulton, Isabel Guerrero Pulgar, Steven Ramage, Forest Reinhardt, Katherine Richardson, Jin Hong Rim, Giovanni Ruta, Sabyasachi Saha, Saurabh Sinha, Ingvild Solvang, Yo Whan Son, Tanja Srebotnjak, Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Philip Thigo, Charles Vörösmarty, Robert Watson and Kayla Walsh.
Further support was also extended by others, including peer reviews for the Report’s background papers by Eva Alfredsson, David Collste, Mauricio Gallardo, Torfinn Hoarding, Neil Lee, Julie Nelson, Charles Palmer, and Lin Yang. Consultations are listed at http://hdr.undp.org/en/towards-hdr-2020, support and assistance from partnering institutions, including UNDP regional bureaus and country offices, are also acknowledged with much gratitude.
We are grateful for many colleagues in the UN family who supported the preparation of the Report by hosting consultations or providing comments and advice. They include Robert Hamwey, Maria Teresa Da Piedade Moreira, Henrique Pacini and Shamika Sirimanne at the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development; Astra Bonini, Sara Castro-Hallgren, Hoi Wai Jackie Cheng and Elliott Harris at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Manos Antoninis, Bilal Barakat, Nicole Bella, Anna Cristina D’Addio, Camila Lima De Moraes and Katharine Redman at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; Shams Banihani, Hany Besada, Jorge Chediek, Naveeda Nazir and Xiaojun Grace Wang at the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation; Kunal Sen at the United Nations University–World Institute for Development Economics Research; and many colleagues from the United Nations Children’s Fund and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.
Colleagues in UNDP provided advice and inputs. We are grateful to Babatunde Abidoye, Marcel Alers, Jesus Alvarado, Carlos Arboleda, Sade Bamimore, Betina Barbosa, Malika Bhandarkar, Bradley Busetto, Michele Candotti, Sarwat Chowdhury, Joseph D’Cruz, Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Simon Dikau, Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, Jamison Ervin (who devoted much time to advise and contribute to the Report), Bakhodur Eshonov, Ahunna Eziakonwa, Almudena Fernández, Cassie Flynn, Bertrand Frot, Oscar A. Garcia, Raymond Gilpin, Balazs Horvath, Vito Intini, Artemy Izmestiev, Anne Juepner, Stephan Klingebiel, Raquel Lagunas, Luis Felipe López-Calva, Marion Marigo, George Gray Molina, Mansour Ndiaye, Sydney Neeley, Hye-Jin Park, Midori Paxton, Clea Paz, Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado, Tim Scott, Ben Slay, Anca Stoica, Bertrand Tessa, Anne Virnig, Mourad Wahba and Kanni Wignaraja.
We were fortunate to have the support of talented interns—Jadher Aguad, Cesar Castillo Garcia, Jungjin Koo and Ajita Singh—and fact checkers—Jeremy Marand, Tobias Schillings and Emilia Toczydlowska.
The Human Development Report Office also extends its sincere gratitude to the governments of Germany, the Republic of Korea, Portugal and Sweden for their financial contributions. Their ongoing support is much appreciated and remains essential.
We are grateful for the highly professional work of our editors and layout artists at Communications Development Incorporated—led by Bruce Ross-Larson with Joe Brinley, Joe Caponio, Meta de Coquereaumont, Mike Crumplar, Peter Redvers-Lee, Christopher Trott and Elaine Wilson. A special word of gratitude to Bruce, who edited the very first Report 30 years ago, and almost all the others since, bringing unparalleled scrutiny and wisdom and, not infrequently, encouragement too.
To conclude, we are extremely grateful to UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner. His probing intellect and constant reminder that the Report needs to speak to people’s concerns provided us the guideposts we needed to develop the arguments in a rigorous but practical way. He told us that this Report should matter in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. That gave us the compass to navigate the production of the Report in a disorienting year—we hope to have been able to meet that aspiration, as we seek to contribute to advance the next frontier of human development in the Anthropocene.