UN Report: Empower the People

DR1 featured a report on the UN Report : ‘Human Development, It’s a Matter of Power’ Related to the politics of the Dominican Republic. This is a report that leaders (at all levels of society) should take note and discuss. There are many things that should be at the top of the list of concerns in the DR and the UN’s report gives a good summary of them.

UN Report: Empower the People


The United Nations Human Development Report 2008, under the title ‘Human Development, It’s a Matter of Power’, was saved for release until after the presidential elections and accuses Dominican politicians of perpetuating the lack of equity that restricts human development in the DR. The effort features examples of best practices in attaining equity at the local level as proof that Dominicans can empower themselves for the common good.


In his presentation of the report, United Nations Development Program Representative in the DR, economist Miguel Ceara-Hatton, said that access to opportunities in the DR is not a problem of capacity to generate wealth, but rather one of equity. “The level of access to opportunities does not correspond to the level of wealth generated in a province,” he said. He highlighted the case of La Altagracia province (that generates the most tourism dollars) as the most drastic example of this inequity. According to the report, people residing in the east of the DR have the worst level of empowerments. This is measured according to access to education, health, technology and information. The highest empowerment levels were found in metropolitan areas in Santo Domingo and in Santiago.


“Historically, power structures have failed in the construction and opportunities are limited by the group you belong to.” He stressed that without social cohesion it is unlikely that institutions and political parties will change. The way they stand with the prevalence of clientelism, the parties perpetuate the lack of equity, and will continue to deepen exclusion, said Ceara-Hatton. He said the report’s findings indicate that 90% of Dominicans feel that the political parties only defend their group or individual interests, not the interests of the people.


The UN report advises Dominicans to mobilize, empower themselves and pressure politicians, with a view to forcing the state to abide by its own laws. He highlighted that what currently prevails is the “Ley del Tigueraje”, which he describes as justifying wrongdoings by past wrongdoings.


The UN published a 519-page report including statistical CD, a 100-page summary and four 150+-page books on discussions that took place leading up to the report. A compilation of in-depth statistical studies at the provincial level, funded by Spanish Cooperation Agency, is also in the pipeline.
In his presentation, Ceara explained the UNHDR 2008 is “the biggest effort ever to understand the construction of the space we inhabit.”


“We invite our society to analyze these statistics”. He stated their hope that the analysis will result in society demanding more responsible leadership.

Ceara said that the biggest challenge they had in carrying out the report was the lack of reliable statistics, mentioning that only the Census data is available. He mentioned the urgent need for provincial Gross Domestic Product statistics, which should be possible because the country has been analyzing the National Accounts for 40 years.


He said that there is a “schizophrenic regionalization” in the country, where individual government ministries decide how to divide the the country. “But none know what they spend in a province. This is evidence of the low importance the government gives the provinces,” stated the UNDP rep.
The UNDP Human Development Report took two years to complete. The first was compiled in 2000 with subsequent reports being released in 2005 and 2007. In 2007 the DR placed 79th on the Human Development Index.


The report is available from the UNDP office in the Dominican Republic.
For more information, visit www.pnud.org.do

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