Iran climbed in ranking from 106 to 101 overall in UN’s Human Development Index (HDI) of 177 countries in 2002, but ranked lower than the year before in several areas, including gender equality and freedoms. Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands were ranked as the best five countries to live in but Africa's quality of life plummeted because of AIDS, said a UN report released on Thursday. In the report, the US was in eighth place, a drop of one position from 2003 July 16, 2004 - The UN Human Development Report 2004, which was launched Thursday by the United Nations Development program moved up Iran’s ranking from 106 in 2001 to 101 in 2002, the last year for which date was available, but indicated that Iran’s ranking slipped in several areas, including gender equality.
The index, which is being issued annually since 1990, ranks the progress in 177 countries in healthcare, education, freedoms, as well as income. Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands were ranked as the best five countries to live in but Africa's quality of life plummeted because of AIDS, said a UN report released on Thursday. In the report, the US was in eighth place, a drop of one position from 2003. The industrialized nations as usual were in the top 20. At the bottom of the list for the seventh year was Sierra Leone
In human development, Iran’s overall ranking is average, between Ecuador and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). Most western countries fall in the 'high' development index, while African countries, and Pakistan, rank lower.
Life expectancy in Iran is 70.1 years, according to the UNDP report, which ranks 87 in the index, one place behind Turkey. Iran’s per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is $6,690, which places Iran at 70, one place behind Tunisia.
The gender-related development index (GDI) which highlights gender inequalities ranks Iran at 82. Only 4.1 percent of Majles seats are held by women, which places Iran at 151 among 171 countries. However, 33 percent of professional and technical workers and 13 percent of administrators and managers in Iran are women. UNDP said the countries with the worst disparities between their GDI (gender-related development index) and HDI values, include Saudi Arabia, Oman, Pakistan, Yemen and India "indicating a need for greater attention to gender equality". Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Latvia and Bulgaria have the closest correspondence between HDI and GDI.
This year's theme of HDR is "Cultural liberty in today's diverse world" and it argues that accommodating people's growing demands for their inclusion in society, for respect of their ethnicity, religion and language takes more than democracy and equitable growth.
“Cultural relativity should never be used as a pretext to violate human rights ... the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is needed universally, applicable to both East and West. It is compatible with every faith and religion," Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi wrote in an article she contributed to this year’s edition of UN Human Development Index.