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Tharman reappointed as co-chair to advisory board of UN report

[SINGAPORE] Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has been reappointed as co-chair to the advisory board of the Human Development Report (HDR) 2020.

He will co-chair the board together with Nobel laureate Michael Spence.

Started by economists Amartya Sen and Mahbub ul Haq 30 years ago, the report, published by the Human Development Report Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), discusses pressing development issues facing the world.

Set against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, this year's report will explore social vulnerabilities in the face of climate change and biodiversity loss.

It will also discuss the steps needed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the role of science and technology, and the allocation of capital and resources, among other issues.

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The role of the advisory board is to provide intellectual advice and guidance on the overall vision, direction and messages of each year's report. It usually meets in the lead-up to the release of the report towards the end of the year.

Mr Tharman's co-chair last year was Professor Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics and the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences.

Mr Tharman, who is also Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, said in a Twitter post on Tuesday: "The challenges to development have never been greater. They did not start with the pandemic, but are now greatly magnified - with weaker global prospects and much wider gaps in access to opportunities.

"The scale of these challenges requires new and forceful efforts everywhere - nationally and through global actions - to restart growth, development and sustainability in the years to come. But it is also a real opportunity to build back better."

He will be joined on the board by other government officials, academics and leading global development experts.

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