Presentation of draft National Human Development Report (NHDR) 2012: ‘People are the real wealth of the country’ How rich is Montenegro?

 

27 July 2012

Politicians, probably everywhere in the world, tend to repeat that “people are the real wealth of their countries. Are the people the greatest wealth or perhaps natural and economic resources? If people are in fact the greatest wealth of a nation – how rich is Montenegro?

According to the draft NHDR, more than 60% of people would rather work in the public administration for a €450 monthly salary than in the private sector for €300 more. Every other Montenegrin thinks that hard work does not mean success, and that success can be achieved sooner with the help of ‘Lady Luck’ and indispensable connections. In addition, almost every one of them considers it important to be well connected with someone holding a significant position.  

Unlike the traditional approach to human capital, which is defined by basic components such as educational achievements, labor skills and health, in the latest National Human Development Report we go further to take into account skills, innovation and the entrepreneur spirit, aspirations, values, including also the component of social capital, which is the question of trust in people, institutions and the significance of social networks.

The UNDP Montenegro organised a public debate on the draft National human development report 2012 titled: ‘People are the real wealth of the country’ How rich is Montenegro? The representatives of resource ministries and system institutions, universities, the Parliament, social partners, the civil society, independent intellectuals, as well as international organisations, including UN agencies in Montenegro, were invited to share their comments to answer the questions: Are the people the greatest wealth of Montenegro?, What actions must we take today in order to acquire human capital for the Montenegro of tomorrow?, as well as other important issues that will translate into constructive recommendations. It is hoped that those comments will be taken into account by decision-makers given that human capital is a precondition for the success of Montenegro's integration into the EU.

Montenegro's human capital is represented by its collective citizen body. The old and the young, the employed and the unemployed,  housewives, the rich and the poor, persons with disabilities, children, even those yet to be born. Montenegrins' human capital is their knowledge, capabilities, experiences, a set system of values, our health; essentially all that which makes society productive in an economic, but also in a non-economic sense.

On Montengrins' path towards EU integration, the reforms in sectors which concern themselves with the creation of human capital and its valorisation, should be harmonised with EU policies and strategies.  This is why, above all, this Report represents a very important question: do we have available staff and human capital for EU membership, and what actions must we take today in order to acquire these resources for the Montenegro of tomorrow?

Contributors to making the Report: the main author Božena Jelušić, associates Milijana Komar, Maja Baćović, Arkadi Toritsyn, Dragana Radević, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development (CEED) and her colleagues conducted the research. Segments from TV Atlas serial episodes under the tittle „I have an opinion”, thematically tied to the Report, were presented by Duška Pejović, a TV Atlas journalist. Ms Pejović is highly acknowledged for a series of twenty seven programs that are in fact a sort of TV edition of the Report. Printed editions of such documents seldom reach the people concerned. Therefore, getting this TV edition of the Report into every Montenegrin household should be considered as an encouragement to all to think about topics relevant for the quality of life.

Montenegro's human capital is represented by its collective citizen body. The old and the young, the employed and the unemployed,  housewives, the rich and the poor, persons with disabilities, children, even those yet to be born. Montenegrins' human capital is their knowledge, capabilities, experiences, a set system of values, our health; essentially all that which makes society productive in an economic, but also in a non-economic sense.

On Montengrins' path towards EU integration, the reforms in sectors which concern themselves with the creation of human capital and its valorisation, should be harmonised with EU policies and strategies.  This is why, above all, this Report represents a very important question: do we have available staff and human capital for EU membership, and what actions must we take today in order to acquire these resources for the Montenegro of tomorrow?

Contributors to making the Report: the main author Božena Jelušić, associates Milijana Komar, Maja Baćović, Arkadi Toritsyn, Dragana Radević, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development (CEED) and her colleagues conducted the research. Segments from TV Atlas serial episodes under the tittle „I have an opinion”, thematically tied to the Report, were presented by Duška Pejović, a TV Atlas journalist. Ms Pejović is highly acknowledged for a series of twenty seven programs that are in fact a sort of TV edition of the Report. Printed editions of such documents seldom reach the people concerned. Therefore, getting this TV edition of the Report into every Montenegrin household should be considered as an encouragement to all to think about topics relevant for the quality of life.

At the presentation of the draft Report, Božena Jelušić, the main author of the Report said: „Let us try and move from dead point, because there are signs of recovery – but, it is neither fast enough nor flexible enough, mobile enough, and the society of 21st century will not wait for us to slowly correct all your mistakes. When asked where they see themselves in in 2030 – one correspondent replied - 'I see myself in Norway, because there's a better standard of living and because they respect the rules' and in that way he really summed up everything that we need.“

Ms. Jelušić also mentioned that three quarters of inhabitants of Montenegro have never been outside the home country: “The good news is that 53% do not plan to emigrate, but still 21% do.”

Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development (CEED) Dragana Radević said that most people do not believe in their own abilities, as evidenced by the fact that most want to work in the civil service for a low income. “The majority believes the government is responsible for providing for all. Only 15% of interviewees expressed opinion that it is us ourselves who should ensure that we get what we want and that we should provide for ourselves,” she explained.

In contrast to Norway, almost half of respondents in Montenegro do not work in their profession, and as much as 95% feel that they do not need any training. Also, every other unemployed would not be willing to work if someone offered him a job in the next 15 days.

Rastislav Vrbensky, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative said: „Not every development is good. For example, there can be so called jobless growth –which implies economic growth that does not bring the possibility of creating new jobs. Or, futureless growth, i. e. growth at the expense of future generations, along with theft or uncontrolled use of natural resources, development burdened with debt, undemocratic (voiceless) development, and similar. UNDP is committed to this paradigm shift: people are, namely, the goal of development rather than a means to achieve that aim. The purpose of development is to improve the wealth of human life. To accomplish this one must have the opportunity to realize their potential. In order to reach full potential we need to be well educated, to have health care and access to resources, civil and political freedoms.“

„Yes, I'm an optimist,“  Jelušić concluded. „No matter whether I see so many problems, but by definition, a professor is an optimist and I would not otherwise do this if i didn't believe in the future human capital of Montenegro.“

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Human capital plays a crucial role in pursuing objectives of human development. Human development is about expanding of people’s choices. These choices are diverse but the most fundamental are those which lead to a long and healthy life, an education and a decent standard of living. Other choices may include freedom of expression, association and movement, as well as social justice and protection against discrimination based or racial, religious and/or ethnic origins, and an ability to influence decision-making and contribute to the society’s wellbeing.

The degree of development is usually measured by gross national product per capita. Instead of this measure, the UNDP promotes the Human Development Index which, in addition to GDP per capita, measures the level of education and life expectancy of the population. Montenegro belongs to the group of countries with a high level of human development, and is ranked 54th in the world (HDR 2011).

Increased global competition means that Montenegro will not be able to compete on cost and price, and as all European countries will have to offer high quality products and services. This is possible to achieve only if the country’s human capital improves. A well-educated and trained population is an objective in itself as well as a crucial factor contributing to accelerated social, economic and ultimately human development.

Since the 'real wealth of a country is found in its people', through the consultative process it was decided that the theme of the latest Report be devoted to the human capital of Montenegro. The human capital of Montenegro is represented by all of its inhabitants - employed and unemployed, housewives, rich and poor, old and young, and those who are yet to be born. Montenegro's human capital is also built on knowledge, skills, health, experience, values, aspirations, innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, i. e. of all the ingredients that make us productive in economic and non-economic terms.

Unlike traditional approaches to human capital which boil down to basic components such as educational attainment, work ability and health, our Report also deals with aspects of human capital such as skills, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, aspirations and values. We also tackle social capital by dealing with issues of trust in people, institutions and the importance of social networks.

 

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