Sustainable communities, 1

THE UNITED National Integrated Development Alliance (UNIDA) has consolidated four statistical methods into one development framework, now to be known as the UNIDA framework.

The most fundamental method among the four is the Minimum Basic Needs (MBN) approach. This statistical method measures access to basic human needs such as health, education, livelihood, food, water, clothing, shelter, public safety, recreation, transportation and the environment.

The Human Development Index (HDI) of the United Nations is a statistical method used to rank the level of human development among its member nations. It has three dimensions, namely:

(1) life expectancy as a measure of health and longevity

(2) adult literacy as a measure of knowledge and education, and

(3) economic prosperity as a measure of the standard of living, as indicated by the gross domestic product per capita.

Looking at it another way, the HDI is a composite measure of how much access the residents of a country actually have to three basic services, namely (1) health, (2) education and (3) livelihood.

Also looking at it another way, the HDI recognizes the three most critical problems of developing countries, namely (1) the mortality rate, (2), the illiteracy rate and (3) the poverty rate.

In the interest of national development, I am advocating the full adoption of the HDI as a popular method of measuring access to the three basic services not only in the national level, but also in the local level, meaning the Local Government Units (LGUs).

So far, the HDI method has not been used to measure local development, and we could have a breakthrough if we will become the first country to do it.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), also of the United Nations is a program aimed to achieve eight specific development goals, namely:

(1) eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

(2) achieve universal primary education

(3) promote gender equality and empower women

(4) reduce child mortality

(5) improve maternal health

(6) combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

(7) ensure environmental sustainability, and

(8) develop a global partnership for development.

The Non-Economic Measures (NEMs) approach quantifies the initiatives of national governments to improve the standard of living in their own jurisdictions. NEM includes initiatives in (1) social investment, (2) environment, (3) taxation and (4) quality of life.

The social investment component of the NEM approach includes (1) infrastructure, (2) education, (3) health, (4) water and (5) shelter.

The environment component includes (1) pollution, (2) waste, (3) nature and (4) land use.

The taxation component includes (1) tax compliance and (2) incentives. The quality of life component includes (1) material wealth, (2) mental state, (3) stress and (4) crime.

For planning purposes, I believe that the MBN approach should be the centerpiece statistical method, because it encompasses all of the human needs that are also covered by the HDI, the MDGs and the NEMs. To be more specific, the MBN approach covers health, education and livelihood which are all within the scope of the HDI.

Still in reference to the MBN approach, the following MDGs are health related: reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. The achievement of universal primary education is of course education related, and the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger is livelihood related. Ensuring environmental sustainability is of course environment related.

The last MDG might appear to be unrelated to all the other basic need, but we could actually say that developing a global partnership for development could be the basis for the acquisition of more resources from international sources, in support of the MBN approach.

MBNs such as food, water, clothing and the environment could be considered as basic services that are directly related to the health dimension, as defined in the HDI. MBNs such as shelter and transportation could be considered as basic services that are directly related to the livelihood dimension, also as defined in the HDI. In the past, many shelter development projects have failed because of the lack of access to transportation and livelihood.

It is interesting to note that in the social investment component of the NEMs, shelter is described as an objective to provide affordable and accessible housing to meet the needs of those who are in search of homes and employment. This validates the notion that shelter and livelihood are two twin strategies that should really go together.

With all the basic needs now fitting into the UNIDA framework, there appears to be only one local dimension that is left out, and that is the dimension of public safety as a measure of peace and order. As a way of adopting the framework to the local realities, I am also advocating that we promote public safety as a basic need, as measured by the criminality rate./PN


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