Belgrade, December 15, 2020 - According to the latest UNDP Human Development Report, the Human Development Index (HDI) of Serbia for 2019 is 0.806, which ranks the country 64th out of 189 countries and territories covered by the report, and among the countries with very high human developement. Norway is again at the top of the list, followed by two pairs of countries equal in HDI value - Ireland and Switzerland, and Hong Kong and Iceland.

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living. According to HDI, countries are ranked from low to very high human development countries.

Of the surrounding countries, is Slovenia placed the best in the 22nd place, while Croatia (43) and Montenegro (48), as well as Hungary (40), Romania (49) and Bulgaria (56) are also among the very highly developed countries In the lower category, among the highly developed countries are Albania (69), Bosnia and Herzegovina (73) and Northern Macedonia (82).

According to the latest Human Development Report, life expectancy in Serbia is 76 years. Citizens of Serbia have completed an average of 11.2 years of schooling, while the younger generation can expect an average of 14.7 years of schooling.

According to the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which identifies multiple deprivations within the same household in terms of education, health and living standards, 0.3% of the population in Serbia, or 30,000 people, are multidimensionally poor, while additional 299 thousand people, or 3.4% of the population are at risk of falling into this category.

On the occasion of the 30th Human Development Report, UNDP also analyzed the progress of countries from the first report in 1990 to the last, which processes available data on health and life expectancy, education level and gross national income, as of 2019.

According to this analysis, in the last 30 years, life expectancy in Serbia has increased by an average of 4.5 years, the number of completed years of schooling in the population aged 25 and older has increased by 3.2 years, or 2.3 years when it comes to the expected number of years which the generations who have yet to go start school will spend in the education system. In the same period, gross national income (GNI) fell by 0.6 percent.


A new lens that shows the impact of human development on the planet

The COVID-19 pandemic is the latest crisis facing the world, but unless humans release their grip on nature, it won’t be the last, according to a new report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which includes a new experimental index on human progress that takes into account countries’ carbon dioxide emissions and material footprint.

By adjusting the HDI, which measures a nation’s health, education, and standards of living, to include two more elements: a country’s carbon dioxide emissions and its material footprint, the new Planetary-Pressures Adjusted HDI – or PHDI shows how the global development landscape would change if both the wellbeing of people and also the planet were central to defining humanity’s progress. For example, more than 50 countries drop out of the very high human development group, reflecting their dependence on fossil fuels and material footprint.

“Humans wield more power over the planet than ever before. In the wake of COVID-19, recordbreaking temperatures and spiraling inequality, it is time to use that power to redefine what we mean by progress, where our carbon and consumption footprints are no longer hidden. As this report shows, no country in the world has yet achieved very high human development without putting immense strain on the planet. But we could be the first generation to right this wrong. That is the next frontier for human development,” said Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator.

The report lays out a stark choice for world leaders - take bold steps to reduce the immense pressure that is being exerted on the environment and the natural world, or humanity’s progress will stall.

Easing planetary pressures in a way that enables all people to flourish in this new age requires dismantling the gross imbalances of power and opportunity that stand in the way of transformation.

Inequalities within and between countries, with deep roots in colonialism and racism, mean that people who have more capture the benefits of nature and export the costs, the report shows.

For example, new estimates project that by 2100 the poorest countries in the world could experience up to 100 more days of extreme weather due to climate change each year- a number that could be cut in half if the Paris Agreement on climate change is fully implemented.

Land stewarded by indigenous peoples in the Amazon absorbs, on a per person basis, the equivalent carbon dioxide of that emitted by the richest 1 percent of people in the world. However, indigenous peoples continue to face hardship, persecution and discrimination, and have little voice in decision-making, according to the report.

And yet fossil fuels are still being subsidized: the full cost to societies of publicly financed subsidies for fossil fuels - including indirect costs - is estimated at over US$5 trillion a year, or 6.5 percent of global GDP, according to International Monetary Fund figures cited in the report.

Public action, the report argues, can address these inequalities, with examples ranging from increasingly progressive taxation, to protecting coastal communities through preventive investment and insurance, a move that could safeguard the lives of 840 million people who live along the world’s low elevation coastlines. But there must be a concerted effort to ensure that actions do not further pit people against planet.

Reforestation and taking better care of forests could alone account for roughly a quarter of the pre-2030 actions we must take to stop global warming from reaching two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

“By tackling inequality, capitalizing on innovation and working with nature, human development could take a transformational step forward to support societies and the planet together,” said Pedro Conceição, Director of UNDP’s Human Development Report Office and lead author of the report.

The next frontier for human development will require transforming social norms, values, and government and financial incentives, the report argue.


To learn more about the 2020 Human Development report and UNDP’s analysis on the experimental Planetary Pressures-Adjusted HDI, visit

Icon of SDG 17

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Serbia 
Go to UNDP Global