At the top of the Human Development Index are Switzerland, Norway and Iceland, while South Sudan, Chad and Niger occupy the bottom of the rankings.
The report notes that the recent setbacks have impacted more than 90 percent of the world’s nations — making it a truly global phenomenon.
The researchers warned that the next year’s results may be even poorer still, with the fallout on food and energy security from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine having not yet hit the index.
Mr Steiner said: “Without any doubt, the outlook for 2022 is grim.”
A large part of the decline noted to date centres around a decrease in the average life expectancy, which is down from 73 years in 2019 to 71.4 in 2021.
Report lead author and public policy expert Professor Pedro Conceição described this as an “unprecedented shock” — highlighting that some countries, including the US, saw drops in life expectancy of two years or more.
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