Expert tailors index and breaks new ground to help focus on ground efforts in Papua New Guinea

3 April 2012

A new tool which will help Papua New Guinea's government and aid agencies focus their efforts to improve the population's health, education and income will be unveiled by Deakin University's expert in International Development, Professor Mark McGillivray, at the two day conference – Papua New Guinea: Securing a Prosperous Future (April 12 and 13).

"The United Nations Development Program's Human Development Index (HDI) (link to is well-known and widely used in research and policy circles," Professor McGillivray explained.

"It combines achievements in health, education and income and is primarily used to compare levels of human development between countries.

"What we are doing is taking the principals of the Human Development Index and creating a new index specifically for Papua New Guinea but one which drills down to the districts and provinces within the country.

"This has not been done before.

"In fact there are hardly any Human Development Indexes which look at States and Districts within a particular country.

"So it is very exciting and pretty new stuff."

Professor McGillivray said the index would use data provided by the PNG National Research Institute.

"Ultimately the results of the index will highlight which parts of Papua New Guinea are doing well in terms of human development, but also which are doing not so well and the extent of disparity this points to," he said.

"This will then allow those parts of the country that are not doing so well to be targeted with additional government resources both financial and human. "

Professor McGillivray said significantly the index would also show up which areas of Papua New Guinea were doing well in areas of human development.

"The identification of the better performing parts of the country is important because it enables us to ask why they have higher levels of human development, and whether there are any lessons we can learn from them that can be transferred to those areas that are performing poorly," he said.

Professor McGillivray is currently leading a research team developing another index this time for PNG and Pacific Island Countries which will assess the impact donor countries are having across aid, trade, migration, private investment, security, the creation and dissemination of new technologies and the promotion of environmental sustainability in the region.

The index is being funded by Sustineo and an Australian Research Council Linkage grant.


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