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Ana María Diaz, representante residente del PNUD

“The most striking thing is the emergence of more intermediate cities,” Anna Maria Diaz, representative of the United Nations Development Program

Yesterday, the latest National Human Development Report (INDH) was presented, which reveals inequality in Guatemala. This time, the measurement was carried out at the municipal level and in four areas.

The report was published during an official event in San Pedro Carcha, Alta Verapaz.

Ana Maria Díaz, UNDP representative for Guatemala, spoke with Prensa Libre hours before the report was published, about aspects to consider in this assessment, which covers 2002 and 2019.

Diaz elaborates on some of the aspects that the report broadly presents, such as the phenomenon of immigration and the impact of remittances on human development, given the large number of Guatemalans residing in the United States and the money they send to the country setting unprecedented numbers.

In addition, the UN official highlights the lack of access to technology and how this affects education, particularly when Covid has forced virtual classes, and in the special case of Guatemala, when it has not yet normalized. Face to face, amid a rebound in coronavirus cases and delays in vaccinating children under 12 years of age.

What is the topic of this report?

In this case, the deep issue that we are addressing is the phenomenon of the speed of change occurring in the territory of the state. Of course, always with this view that the human development model casts on us, which places people at the center, as true representatives and representatives of change, to understand what is happening, what the regions look like and what these phenomena are. , is important to keep in mind as it helps reshape areas in some dimensions.

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What is the basic basis for creating these indicators?

We built, from the 2002 and 2018 censuses, this row of municipal-level HDIs, which then allows us to compare how many changes there have been in terms of indicators over the past 16 years.

From 2002 to 2018, the Human Development Index at the municipal level increased in all municipalities of the country; However, it did not perform homogeneously. Some improved more than others.

Does representative growth appear?

It grew faster in the first ten or fifteen years of this century. They started to grow much slower than in 2015.

What are the main shortcomings of Guatemala, according to this assessment?

In many homes there are many very important shortcomings, such as shortcomings in technology, education, health, social services and various dimensions. It is precisely defects and structural, and then the epidemic arrives and it will be precisely in 2020 in a complex scenario, and the report analyzes the response provided by the government with different programs.

UNDP Ana Maria Diaz (left) hands a copy of the INDH to Keila Gramajo, President of Segeplan. (Free press photo: UNDP)

Considering that the report shows that Guatemala has a positive macroeconomic performance, what are the current business conditions in the country?

Guatemala has a macroeconomic behavior that is perhaps one of the best in the region. The recession was at an all-time low and the recovery was quick as well; However, the cascading effect, that is, downward in employment, is still not visible because people have regained their jobs, yes, but it is a risky job, because the level of income was not the same as before the pandemic and there is more informality – work -.

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Women, in particular, have suffered severely from job loss, such as having to take responsibility for educational support at home and caring for children, the elderly, and the sick.

How much progress has been made in urbanization in Guatemala?

Guatemala, between 2002 and 2018, looking at the census data, the most noticeable was the emergence of more intermediate cities. There are currently 19, before there were three or four, where the largest population lived, moving from 3% to 14% of the population, and they are found precisely in the municipalities with high municipal HDIs. And the challenges involved are in terms of green space, in terms of forest loss, in water resource management, in waste, to name a few.

Migration is also measured. Where was this phenomenon most noticeable?

are municipalities where the income is low; So there is a relationship between the desire to leave the country and the economic ability and the motivation to search for better living conditions.

What are the sites with the highest rate of immigration?

The provinces are Quiché, Baja Verapaz and the northwest of the country, where it intensified the most, because the report also notes that the issue of human mobility and migration is not a new phenomenon, it occurs historically, but has especially intensified the search for better economic conditions. It was also analyzed that the number of external migrants is greater than in 2018.

In the case of remittances, what is the behavior?

We are of the opinion that there is no relationship between higher remittances and higher HDIs; That is, remittances that are very valuable in their own right and that undoubtedly help survival strategies, based on not falling into poverty, have no effect.

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What are the percentages of access to housing, employment, education and technology in Guatemala?

More than 70% of the population of Guatemala suffers from a deficiency in at least one dimension of human development. So, approximately 42% of households in Guatemala will suffer from a lack of housing, 47% in employment, 50% in access to basic services, 71% in education and 76% in technology. This is out of the census. That is, in 2018 that was the reality.