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Human Development &
Capability Association

Multi-Disciplinary and People-Centred

WEBINAR: From Human Development to Sustainable Human Development

Date and Time: Friday 12th March 14:00-15:30 CET

The 2020 Human Development Report (HDR) The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene marks a significant change in HDR thinking. Environmental issues are no longer seen as an "add on" to human development but as essentially interconnected with it. The Report doubles down on the belief that people’s agency and empowerment can bring about the action we need if we are to live in balance with the planet in a fairer world. It shows that we are at an unprecedented moment in history, in which human activity has become a dominant force shaping the planet. These impacts interact with existing inequalities, threatening significant development reversals. Nothing short of a great transformation – in how we live, work and cooperate – is needed to change the path we are on. The Report explores how to jumpstart that transformation. Furthermore, the Report introduces a new indicator which aims to reflect the interconnectedness of the environment and human development, namely the Planetary pressures-adjusted Human Development Index.

This session will take as its starting point the Report and ask what role the human development approach can play in framing future debates and policy; but also, looking forward, ask where the approach needs to strengthen partnerships and to be supplemented, including in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals and to what needs to continue after the SDGs’ end-date of 2030.

The 2020 Human Development Report can be downloaded via:


Pedro Conceição is the Director and lead author of the Human Development Report 2020.

Since 1 January 2019 Pedro has been Director of the Human Development Report Office and lead author of the Human Development Reports. Prior to this, Pedro served as Director, Strategic Policy, at the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (from October 2014), and Chief Economist and Head of the Strategic Advisory Unit at the Regional Bureau for Africa (from 1 December 2009). 

Before that, he was Director of the Office of Development Studies (ODS) from March 2007 to November 2009, and Deputy Director of ODS, from October 2001 to February 2007. His work on financing for development and on global public goods was published by Oxford University Press in books he co-edited (The New Public Finance: Responding to Global Challenges, 2006; Providing Global Public Goods: Managing Globalization, 2003).

He has published on inequality, the economics of innovation and technological change, and development in, amongst other journals, the African Development Review, Review of Development Economics, Eastern Economic Journal, Ecological Economics, Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Food Policy, and Technological Forecasting and Social Change. He co-edited several books including: Innovation, Competence Building, and Social Cohesion in Europe- Towards a Learning Society (Edward Elgar, 2002) and Knowledge for Inclusive Development (Quorum Books, 2001).

Prior to coming to UNDP, he was an Assistant Professor at the Instituto Superior Técnico, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal, teaching and researching on science, technology and innovation policy. He has degrees in Physics from Instituto Superior Técnico and in Economics from the Technical University of Lisbon and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied with a Fulbright scholarship.

Andrew Crabtree was the co-founder, together with Meera Tiwari, of the HDCA’s Sustainable Human Development thematic group. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Copenhagen Business School. He gained his PhD at the Department of Environment, Social and Spatial Change, Roskilde University, Denmark. He has recently edited a book Sustainability, Capabilities and Human Security. Palgrave which includes chapters with several leading authors within the field. He provided three chapters to the book (1) Capabilities, Human Security and the Centrality of Sustainability. (2) Sustainability Indicators, Ethics and Legitimate Freedoms. (3) Conclusion: The Sustainable Development Goals and Capability and Human Security Analysis (together with Des Gasper).   

Other publications include: Sustainability and Climate Change in Jay Drydyk and Lori Keleher (eds) Routledge Handbook of Development Ethics (2018). His publications on disasters include Crabtree, A. (2018). Capabilities, Ethics and Disasters. In Disasters: Core Concepts and Ethical Theories (pp. 175-187). In O’Mathúna, D. P., Dranseika, V., & Gordijn, B. Disasters: Core Concepts and Ethical Theories. Springer, Cham. A

The Deep Roots of Nightmares in Cultures and Disasters: Understanding Cultural Framings in Disaster Risk Reduction, Edited by Fred Krûger, Greg Bankoff, Terry Cannon, Benedikt Orlowski and E. Lisa F. Schipper. Routledge. Questioning Psychosocial Resilience after Flooding and the Consequences for Disaster Risk Reduction in Social Indicators Research (2013) Special Issue: Poverty, vulnerability and resilience in a Post-2015 World Guest Editors: Laura Camfield, Keetie Roelen, Andrew Crabtree. Andrew Crabtree is currently Treasurer of the HDCA.

Dr. Asunción Lera St. Clair, philosopher and sociologist, is Director of the Digital Assurance Program in DNV Group Research and Development and Senior Advisor for the Earth Services Unit of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC). She has over 30 years of experience with designing and directing interdisciplinary user-driven and solutions-oriented research for global challenges in the interface between sustainable development and climate change, and more recently on leveraging digital technologies for sustainable development. Her work has focused on science-policy-society interactions, identification of user needs, ethical perspectives, and on public and private governance (with a focus on the role of standards, recommended practices and the provision of assurance).  She has experience leading large projects dedicated to co-design and co-production with a variety of users from policy makers, to vulnerable communities and private sector actors. She is member of the Steering Committee of the International Science Council and HDRO joint project  Conversations on Rethinking Human Development . Dr. St.Clair serves on the Boards of international, multilateral and intergovernmental organizations, including the Horizon Europe Mission Board for Climate Change Adaptation and Societal Transformations and the Sustainability in the Digital Age Initiative of Future Earth. St.Clair was Lead author for IPCC Fifth Assessment Report WG2.

Des Gasper is professor emeritus of Human Development, Development Ethics and Public Policy at the International Institute of Social Studies (The Hague), Erasmus University Rotterdam. He has been involved in discussions on human development and human security since the mid-1990s and published several papers about these perspectives in relation to (un)sustainable development, climate change and the SDGs -- for example: (1) with A.V. Portocarrero, A.L. St.Clair, 1a) 2013: The Framing of Climate Change and Development:  A Comparative Analysis of the Human Development Report 2007/8 and the World Development Report 2010.  Global Environmental Change, 23(1): 28-39; 1b) 2013: An Analysis of the Human Development Report 2011 ‘Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All’. S. African J. on Human Rights, 29(1): 91-124. (2) 2013: Elements and value-added of a human security approach in the study of climate change. In Handbook on Climate Change and Human Security, eds. M. Redclift and M. Grasso, pp. 41-66. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.  (3) Chapters in Andrew Crabtree (ed., 2020), Sustainability, Capabilities and Human Security, Palgrave Macmillan.

Chair: Jay Drydyk is President of the Human Development and Capabilities Association and Professor of philosophy at Carleton University.

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