The last AHDR, sponsored by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) was published in July 2009. It was the grimmest. Its statistics are intriguing, although depressing.
2.9 million square kilometers of land in the Arab World are threatened by desertification. Natural resources are depleting at an alarming level. Birth rates are the highest in the world. Unemployment is skyrocketing. 50 million new jobs must be created by 2020. Arab oil-based economies leave some Arab countries entirely vulnerable to market price fluctuations or the depletion of oil altogether. While many economies, especially in Asia are shifting or have already achieved great strides into becoming knowledge-based economies, Arab economies are still hostage to the same cycle of oil and cheap labor. In fact, 70 percent of the Arab region’s total exports, according to the report, is oil.
The problem is not just economic, or environmental, it’s societal as well. Inequality is entrenched in many Arab societies. Women’s rights are not the only individual rights violated. Men’s right are violated too, that is if they are not members of the dominant group, which are either divided by blind political allegiance, tribal or sectarian membership, or economic leverage.
MORE BY RAMZY BAROUD HERE
LINK TO THE AHDR 2009 REPORT HERE