National Post

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Saturday, July 10, 1999

Canada is No. 1 in the world again
Top of the UN index

Eric Beauchesne
Southam News

OTTAWA - For the sixth straight year, Canada will occupy the No. 1 spot on the United Nations' Human Development Index when it is released next week.

Canada edged out Norway, which secured the No. 2 spot, and the United States, which was ranked third. Sierra Leone, which has been ravaged by civil war, is at the bottom of the rankings.

The rankings are based on statistical measures of the quality of life in a country, including the longevity of its citizens, their levels of education and per-capita incomes. Those categories are further broken down into adult literacy, education enrollment, equality between the sexes and the levels of relative poverty.

This year, Canada has improved its relative performance in reducing poverty, moving into ninth from 10th spot among industrial countries, and in the empowerment of women, jumping to No. 4 from No. 7. The empowerment of women is measured by the proportion that hold public office, senior positions in business, and are employed in professional and technical fields.

Canada, however, is criticized in the report as a major greenhouse gas polluter because of its relatively high levels of emissions of carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide. Canada and other highly developed countries are also chided for their unwillingness to share their intellectual property with lesser developed countries after having benefited in earlier times from the importation of industrial knowledge.

"Many of today's developed countries -- ironically now the strongest advocates of tighter intellectual property rights -- themselves had loose rules when they were setting up their national industries, changing their tune only after they became technology exporters," the report says, urging a fairer sharing of knowledge.

"Canada and Italy had no trouble attracting foreign investors even when they lacked patent protection."

This year, Canada has improved its relative performance in reducing poverty, moving into ninth from 10th spot among industrial countries, and in the empowerment of women, jumping to No. 4 from No. 7.

The empowerment of women is measured by the proportion that hold public office, senior positions in business, and are employed in professional and technical fields.

Canada, however, is criticized in the report as a major greenhouse gas polluter because of its relatively high levels of emissions of carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide.

Canada and other highly developed countries are also chided for their unwillingness to share their intellectual property with lesser developed countries after having benefited in earlier times from the importation of industrial knowledge.

"Many of today's developed countries -- ironically now the strongest advocates of tighter intellectual property rights -- themselves had loose rules when they were setting up their national industries, changing their tune only after they became technology exporters," the report says, urging a fairer sharing of knowledge.

"Canada and Italy had no trouble attracting foreign investors even when they lacked patent protection."

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