7 July, 2011, Kyiv - United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine has launched the National Human Development Report 2011 – Ukraine: Towards Social Inclusion and the Regional Human Development Report 2011 – Beyond Transition: Towards Inclusive Societies.

Presenting the report UNDP Country Director Ricarda Rieger emphasised: “The HDR gave equal weight to school enrolment, life expectancy, health. Not just how much a country earns, but how well its people live. Yes, economic growth matters. But what matters more is giving each individual a better chance at a long, healthy and productive life”.

Report’s team leader of authors, Aacademician Ella Libabova said “Overcoming social exclusion means expanding real opportunities for choice and freedom of every individual, development of the society where diversity is not a weakness but a strength increasing the competiveness of Ukraine”.

The National Human Development Report 2011 :

  • introduces new concepts and definitions of social inclusion and social exclusion and their relations to the human development concept
  • provides analysis of specifics of social exclusion in Ukraine, identifies some vulnerable groups and suggests the recommendations for policies on social inclusion of all
  • introduces a novel methodology to assess multidimensional aspects of social exclusion to inform better evidence-based recommendations allowing for the prioritization and targeting of inclusion policies.

This National Human Development Report – Ukraine: Towards Social Inclusion – calls attention to the specifics and the roots of social exclusion in Ukraine, identifies socially excluded groups and proposes a range of recommendations in support to the Government for the development of policies and programmes to address the current barriers to social inclusion for all. The Report investigates the issue of social inclusion from a human development perspective, treating both concepts – social inclusion and human development – as mutually complementary and reinforcing. The key drivers of social exclusion are examined across core domains of people’s life: political, cultural, economic and social. The Report also provides an account of individual experiences of exclusion that demonstrate the magnitude and severity of the challenges vulnerable individuals face. It also introduces a novel methodology to assess the multidimensional aspects of social exclusion to allow for the effective

prioritization and targeting of social inclusion policies.

Key Findings

Social exclusion and inclusion and human development concepts complement each other. High levels of human development cannot be achieved when some groups and individuals are excluded socially and face barriers to their participation in economic, social, cultural and political life.

Acute social exclusion is experienced by 37.7 percent of Ukrainian households. Extremely high risks of social exclusion (2.2 times higher compared with the average and 2.5 times higher compared with families consisting solely of working-age people) exist for families with many children and pensioners. Higher education is the most important factor determining social inclusion.

Critical exclusion is experienced by 16.9 percent of households. The risk of critical exclusion is very high for families with children: 2.7 times higher than the average in the country and 2.8 times higher than for families without children. The presence of at least one unemployed person in a household results in a 1.7 times higher risk of critical exclusion than for the average and a twice higher risk than for families without unemployed people. Critical exclusion is much more present in rural areas, especially when compared with large cities.

Exclusion from economic life leads to low standards of living and limits opportunities in other areas namely, accessing high-quality education, receiving adequate health care services and participating in the cultural and social life of society. The key drivers of economic exclusion are: unemployment or low status in the labour market, and low incomes which prevents access to resources, assets and services.

Insufficient income to meet fundamental needs is traditionally considered as the main manifestation of economic exclusion. If a household’s income per adult is lower than the nationally defined poverty

line, that household is considered economically excluded. This was the case, in 2009, for 26.4 percent of the Ukrainian households. This economic exclusion negatively impacts most children below 16 years and people aged 80 and above in a given household.

The highest risks of labour market exclusion fall on the unemployed, especially the long-term unemployed; on a few categories of the economically inactive population, in particular people who are no longer searching for a job, having lost hope of finding one; and on the employed with non-standard labour contract conditions or a specific nature of work which makes them socially vulnerable.

Youth is one of the most vulnerable groups of population on the labour market. They constitute almost 26 percent of the total number of the unemployed.

More than half the country’s households are excluded in terms of decent housing conditions; around one-third of these are poor.

Although the Constitution of Ukraine guarantees the right to receive free of charge health care services, access to health care is de facto restricted by level of income, social status and place of residence. Low income individuals usually cannot afford paying fees to doctors for the provision of better quality services, stay in hospitals and purchase of medicines.

Levels of exclusion from the social protection system depend on the specifics of the state’s social programmes and their targeting. Child birth benefits and child benefits until children are three years old are accessed by almost all eligible families. At the same time, only half of poor people benefit from the programme of assistance to low-income families. Over 80 percent of the homeless do not receive social assistan ce, as, often, they do not have identification documents. The majority of labour migrants are excluded from any social protection system, since they live abroad, most of the time illegally. Children of labour migrants suffer from a lack of parental care and support, which may lead to behaviours inconsistent with society’s norms and to their ending up homeless. The social exclusion risks for elderly people are linked to the conditions determining pensions, as well as the existence of family support.

Differences in cultural practices in the capital, oblast centres and the periphery (small towns and villages) create drivers of exclusion. Residents of cities can access a wide range of resources, such as television, internet, print publications, theatres, cinemas, sport clubs and tourism services, which are often unavailable in rural settlements. Rural inhabitants – one-third of the Ukrainian population – can usually access three or four television channels, wired radio and a local newspaper with limited scope.

Accessibility of quality education is critically important to social inclusion. The number of children in pre-school education establishments that not only provide child care services but also prepare for primary school entry has decreased, mainly because of a scaling-down of the preschool network during the transition period, especially in rural areas. The number of secondary school institutions has also reduced due to demographic changes in rural areas and cities throughout the country.

Social inclusion policies should include the following components:

Measures to foster general economic and political reforms aimed at comprehensive improvement of the social and economic situation, sustainable economic growth, provision of all groups with access to basic social services and economic resources, etc.;

Targeted measures aimed at eliminating the barriers to inclusion that specific groups face.

The Regional Human Development Report

The Regional Human Development Report articulates a single conceptual framework for social inclusion and human development. It treats human development as the ultimate goal and social inclusion as the means to get there.

The Report develops a new indicator, the Multidimensional Social Exclusion Index, which is experimental in nature and can be adapted to specific country circumstances. This includes 24 indicators reflecting deprivations in three dimensions: economic exclusion; exclusion from social services; and civic exclusion. These should not be understood as “fixed” but rather as a point of departure in national discourses on measuring social exclusion, from which nationally relevant indicators should be selected in an inclusive and participatory way.

Key Findings

More than one-third of the population of the region is socially excluded. The report estimates that, on average, 35 percent of the population in the region experiences social exclusion, ranging from 12 percent in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to 72 percent in Tajikistan.

Social exclusion is not determined by economic deprivation alone. On the contrary, the three dimensions of social exclusion all make a broadly similar contribution, and each plays a specific, necessary and complementary role in bringing about exclusion as an outcome. As such, in order to tackle social exclusion, all three dimensions of exclusion must be addressed.

The share of socially excluded people varies from country to country but the depth of their social exclusion is similar. Despite the wide range of population sizes, GDPs and levels of human development, the intensity of social exclusion is remarkably similar across the six countries. Being socially excluded in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or Kazakhstan means facing generally the same number of deprivations.

Children, youth, the elderly, the unemployed, those with poor education and people living in rural areas face a larger than average magnitude of social exclusion. Social exclusion is highest for elderly people in all countries, at almost twice the national average, as in Ukraine (43 percent) and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (22 percent). On average, 42 percent of children and 35 percent of youth (aged 15–29) in the six countries live in households that experience social exclusion. The share of socially excluded children is particularly high in Tajikistan (73 percent) and the Republic of Moldova (47 percent).

Social exclusion outcomes are linked to drivers and local context. The report links the outcome of social exclusion to individual risks, drivers and local context, demonstrating that values and behaviour matter. For example, persons with disabilities constitute an important group at risk of social exclusion. The data allow a correlation of exclusion outcomes for persons with disabilities with the level of the local population’s tolerance of diversity. The magnitude of social exclusion of a person with disabilities ranges from 16 percent when living in a community in which the vast majority of the population is either in favour of, or at least not against, inclusive education, to 30 percent when living in a community less open to educational inclusion (with at least one-third of the population against such measures).

Tolerance of corruption increases exclusion outcomes. Magnitude of social exclusion is nine times higher in villages and seven times higher in small towns where most respondents are tolerant of informal side payments not only for medical treatment, education and social benefits but also to for results from local administrations.

Social exclusion also has a clear territorial dimension. The further people live from the capital city, the higher the magnitude of exclusion. The share of people found to be socially excluded is almost four times higher in rural areas than in urban areas. Living in rural areas with fewer job opportunities; limited access to goods, social services and means of transport; and weak social networks adds up to a massive disadvantage, driving more people into cities.

Social exclusion is highest in communities that were dominated by one or two companies prior to 1989. If these communities were to diversify their economic base and provide more employment opportunities, their average magnitude of social exclusion would decrease from 18 to 11 percent. Expansion of employment opportunities would be particularly effective in addressing social exclusion among young people. Magnitude of social exclusion for a young person with secondary education in a rural community with only one employment provider is more than three times higher than that for a young person with primary education in a small town with a variety of employers.

Recommendations. The Report concludes that social exclusion is a multidimensional phenomenon that can and should be measured. The specifics of the local context have profound implications for social exclusion. Governments need to break the vicious cycle of social exclusion and ensure an enabling environment that curtails the risks of social exclusion and enhances the opportunities for people to participate in society. Focusing on reducing income poverty or economic inclusion alone will not face down the challenge of social exclusion sustainably. The Report therefore argues that social inclusion requires integrated approaches targeting all three dimensions of social exclusion simultaneously – cases where addressing a single individual risk or driver leads to a sustainable and marked reduction in the magnitude of social exclusion would be the exception. As such, approaches based on multiple areas of interventions implemented in a concerted manner are needed, reflecting the complexity and dynamic nature of social exclusion.

More information:
Victoria Andrievska
Communications Officer
UN Office in Ukraine
Tel.: +38 (044) 254 00 35
Email: andrievska@un.org