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The Global Urban Futures Project reports on the Habitat Commitment Index

By on November 8, 2016

The Global Urban Futures Project (GUF) has developed the Habitat Commitment Index (HCI), a way of measuring country performance on a set of indicators taking per capita income levels into account to gauge progress over time. The HCI seeks to analyze the progress made on the commitments, goals, and principles of the 1996 Habitat Agenda. While socioeconomic indicators, such as measures of poverty, access to basic services, and education, can provide a meaningful representation of the well-being of individuals, the goal of the HCI is to look not only at well-being, but at levels of commitment on the part of national governments to meeting the goals and objectives set forth at Habitat II.

Overall, there has been extremely little progress, with the average HCI score increasing only 1.49 points, from a global average of 69.68 in 1996 to a current average score of 71.17. Globally change has varied. While Latin America and Southeast Asia, with a few exceptions, increased their HCI scores, Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa showed extremes in both directions, with both large increases and decreases in HCI scores. Also troubling was the finding that the two most populous countries either made no progress, as was the case in India, or actually had a significant decline in the HCI score, as was the case in China.

Among the drivers of the changes (or lack thereof) in the HCI scores, the greatest change was in the Gender dimension. The average gender HCI score increased by 8.62 points in the period between Habitat II and the present, rising to a global average of 76.82—one of the highest among the HCI categories. Minimal progress was made in the Infrastructure dimension (+1.78), while Poverty (+5.69) and Sustainability (+3.63) improved modestly. Two dimensions saw declines in average HCI scores—Employment and Institutional Capacity.

For more information on the GUF/HCI, see the Global Urban Futures webpage.

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