Cambodia Human Development Report 2000: Children and Employment

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Human development is about improving ordinary people’s lives by enlarging their choices and helping them realize their full human potential. While per capita income is an important aspect of improving people’s lives, it is by no means the only one. Health and education are no less important in judging people’s welfare. The global Human Development Report 2000 additionally includes freedom and human rights in its definition of human development. In recent years, over 100 countries around the world have issued national human development reportswithUNDPsupport. Thesereportshaveplayedanimportantroleinadvocatingthecauseof humandevelopmentandpeople-centeredapproachtonationalpolicy-making. Thisisthefourthhuman development report for Cambodia. While the first three Cambodia Human Development Reports were on poverty, gender, and the role of villages in Cambodia’s development, respectively, this Cambodia Human Development Report focuses on the issue of child labor. It documents the magnitude of child labor inCambodia, and attempts to understand the determinants of child labor within the context of the overall labor market in the country. Child labor is intimately linked to the two concepts of human rights and human development. Human development is about enlarging the choices available to children, so that they can improve their lives and their future. Children have a right to realize and develop their full human potential, and any work that prevents them from attending school and realizing their full potential is a violation of their human rights. In addition, child workers, like all workers, have the right to decent work without exploitation. The Human Development Index (HDI), proposed by UNDP, is one of several means of measuringthestatusofhumandevelopmentinacountry. TheHDIisacompositemeasureoflongevity, educationalattainment,andstandardofliving. TheGender-relatedDevelopmentIndex(GDI)issimilar to the HDI but additionally takes into account the gender inequality in life expectancy, educational attainment,andstandardofliving. AthirdindicatorofhumandevelopmentproposedbyUNDPisthe Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM), which is a measure of the relative participation of women and meninpoliticalandeconomicspheresofactivity. Afinalindicatorofhumandevelopmentproposed by UNDP is the Human Poverty Index (HPI), which measures deprivation in three essential elements of human life -- longevity, knowledge and a decent standard of living. Cambodia has among the lowest rankings in Asia on all the human development indicators. The HDI score for Cambodia is estimated at 0.517, with only Laos and Bangladesh in Asia having lower scores. Cambodia’s GDI score (viz., 0.514) is very similar to its HDI score. The value of the Gender EmpowermentMeasure(GEM)forCambodiais0.283. UNDP(2000)reportsGEMscoresforonly three countries in South and Southeast Asia. Cambodia’s GEM score is lower than that for Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Finally, Cambodia’s score of 42.53 on the Human Poverty Index (HPI) reflects the high levels of mortality and child malnutrition and the poor availability of public services in the country. There are large disparities within the country in these human development indicators. For instance, the HDI score for urban Cambodia is about 21 per cent greater than that for rural Cambodia. Likewise, there are large disparities in both HDI and GDI across economic groups. The richest 20 per cent of Cambodians have an HDI score that is 40% greater that of the poorest 20 per cent of Cambodians. Thehumanpovertyindexalsodifferssignificantlyacrosssocioeconomicgroups,with the poorest consumption quintiles suffering to a much larger extent from human poverty than the richest quintiles. In addition, human poverty is greater among Cambodian women than among men across all economic groups.


Ministry of Planning Royal Government of Cambodia

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