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Human Resources Development


Human resources development lies at the heart of economic, social and environmental development. It is also a vital component for achieving internationally agreed sustainable development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, and for expanding opportunities to all people, particularly the most vulnerable groups and individuals in society. 

Human resources development has been defined as empowering people by fostering the contributory capacities that they can bring to the improvement of their own quality of life and that of their families, communities, enterprises and societies. Over the years, the concept of human resources development has evolved from solely focusing on individual capacity to also building institutional capacity at the national level, through socio-economic policies and development plan and strategies. Human resources development is, therefore, regarded as facilitating the development of national human capacities to achieve sustainable, inclusive, equitable development and, at the same time, enhance well-being of individuals.  As such, human resources development strategies are increasingly part of national development planning, and are crucial to enlighted policy.

As global labour markets both shape and adapt to the emerging occupational structures of growing economies, human resources development strategies must balance the demands of new employment sectors with the supply of required skill.  Information and communication technology (ICT), “Green/Blue Economy”, and agricultural development, are among the most vital sectors for the socio-economic development in almost all countries.  The need to enhance skills for emerging sectors (i.e., green growth, knowledge economy, intellectual property policy evaluation and management, etc.) has become particularly important in developing countries.

A comprehensive, cross-sectoral and integrated human resources development approach that is sensitive to gender considerations and attuned to specific needs of vulnerable population should be adopted, incorporating multiple vital areas, such as population, health, nutrition, water, sanitation, housing, communications, education and training, science and technology, and employment.  Conscious efforts should be made not to confine these dimensions of human resources development in separate ministries. Human resources development also has respect for fundamental human rights, the rights of workers, and occupational safety and health considerations.  Approaches that centre on economic and financial policies are threatened by the recent economic and financial crises, so an international community paradigm which seeks transformation of the whole society is needed.  Furthermore, strategies for sustainable livelihoods must be grounded in local communities and governance structures, with full involvement of key representatives of civil society in transparent respect for unique geopolitical and cultural settings and diversity.

Reports of the Secretary-General:

A/66/206 - Human resources development, 28 July 2011
A/64/329 - Human resources Development, 25 August 2009
A/62/308 - Human resources development, 27 August 2007
A/60/318 - Human resources development, 31 August 2005
A/58/348 - Human resources development, 5 September 2003
A/56/162 - Advancing human resources development in developing countries: implementation of General Assembly resolution 54/211
A/54/408 - Developing human resources for development, 28 September 1999
A/52/540 - Sustainable development and international economic cooperation: human resources development, 29 October 1997
A/50/330 - Sustainable Development and International Economic Cooperation: Human Resource Development, 4 August 1995
A/48/364 - Developing Human Resources for Development, 9 September 1993

General Assembly Resolutions on Human Resources Development:

A/RES/64/218 - Human resources development, 23 March 2010
A/RES/62/207 - Human resources development, 10 March 2008
A/RES/60/211 - Human resources development, 22 March 2006
A/RES/58/207 - Human resources development, 11 February 2004
A/RES/56/189 - Human resources development, 5 February 2002
A/RES/54/211 - Developing human resources for development, 1 February 2000
A/RES/52/196 - Developing human resources for development, 26 February 1998
A/RES/51/240 - Agenda for Development, 15 October 1997
A/RES/50/105 - Developing human resources for development, 9 February 1996
A/RES/48/205 - Developing human resources for development, 21 December 1993


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