The Planning Minister also called for concentrated efforts to reduce inequality and protect the environment
Though Bangladesh has moved two notches in new Human Development Index (HDI) by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Planning Minister MA Mannan stressed on maintaining the upward trend rather than remain obsessed with the improvement.
Apart from improvement in the index, the minister also feels concentrated efforts should be made to reduce inequality and protect environment.
At a report unveiling at the NEC auditorium in Dhaka on Monday, the minister termed inequality as injustice, and noted that many people still remain poor due to inequality, despite the country's continuous robust economic growth over the last decade.
Analysing last year's data, the UNDP published the "Human Development Report-2020" on 15 December in which Bangladesh stands at 133rd among 189 countries, scoring 0.632 points out of 1.
The country also remains fifth among its eight south Asian neighbours covered in the report, but bounced up nine notches in the new planetary pressures-adjusted human development index (PHDI).
The country's previous position was 135th. The country ranked 142nd, 139th and 136th In 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively, indicating a slow but consistent progress.
Attending as the chief guest, the planning minister unveiled the Bangladesh portion of the report on Monday, while UNDP's Senior Economic Advisor Balazs Hovarth shed light on different aspects of the report.
"The government is working to eradicate inequality, but the role of elite exploiters make this a challenging task," said MA Mannan.
According to the report, per capita gross national income (GNI) in Bangladesh has tripled in the last three decades, which played a significant role in doubling expected years of schooling and in increasing life expectancy at birth.
The report said that the impact of social and economic developments led Bangladesh to increase the value of human development index by 60% from 1990 levels.
Mannan also said that Bangladesh is on the right track in adopting development policies, and its favourable outlook is globally recognised.
"Despite numerous challenges, Bangladesh is committed to nourishing the health of our planet. The rising tensions on our planet mirror the pressures faced by many of our societies.
"Climate change, amongst other adverse effects, will only make the situation worse," added the minister.
UNDP official Balazs Hovarth said that the 30th anniversary edition of the report, which usually measures a nation's health, education, and living standards, has included a new feature on the country's carbon dioxide emission and its material footprint.
He said the new adjustments demonstrate how the global development landscape will change if people's wellbeing and the planet were central to defining the progress of humanity.
During the event, UNDP Bangladesh's Resident Representative Sudipto Mukerjee said that although the country had lost 7,000 people to Covid-19 thus far, the overall impact of the pandemic is far more widespread and evident.
He said a large number of people had slipped into poverty due to the loss of livelihood, while inequality, gender-based violence and dropout risks are on the rise.
"The HDR-2020 points out that our future is not about choosing between people or trees. It is about choosing to do things differently," he added.
"Choices that could stop the pandemic and end poverty, close the digital divide, and tackle the climate emergency so that we use this unique moment to move to the next frontier for people and planet," he said.
The report revealed that more than 50 countries had dropped out from the very high human development group -- reflecting their heavy dependence on fossil fuels and material footprint.
Meantime, UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said, "No country in the world has yet achieved very high human development without putting immense pressure on the planet. But we could be the first generation to right this wrong."
Following the unveiling of the report, a panel discussion was held, in which Planning Commission General Economics Division Member Shamsul Alam; Prof Saleemul Huq; Fahmida Khatun; Samia Huq; and Iqbal Habib were participants.
Former Foreign Affairs Senior Secretary Shahidul Haque moderated the discussion.