Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a World in Transformation


25 January 2023, New York, USA - Specialists from the Human Development Report Office (HDRO) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) delivered a comprehensive workshop on 2021-2022 Human Development Report Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a World in Transformation for over 150 participants from more than 100 nationalities. The tailored workshop was opened by the Chief Statistician of the HDRO and the Director of UNITAR Office in New York, Ms Yanchun Zhan and Mr Marco Suazo, respectively. The workshop aimed to connect the dots between various development challenges and showed interacting layers of uncertainty. 

In this framework, research specialists from the HDRO, Josefin Pasanen, Christina Lengfelder, Rehana Mohammed, and Fernanda Pavez Esbry, also talked about planetary challenges and their negative effects. The presenters talked about feelings of stress that have increased with negative effects. In addition, the virtual training allowed participants to strengthen their knowledge of dangerous planetary changes, transformations, and political polarization. The workshop which was composed of two parts included the questions and comments section. Questions from the audience encouraged presenters to provide real-case scenarios that covered spanning issues of mental well-being to human security, inequalities, and understanding uncertainty.


During the session presenters also expressed further ideas like the one that uncertainty is part of human life, and the holistic approach which refers to connecting mental and physical health. “If people do not act and take mental distress seriously during as childhood, it can tend to create illnesses as cancer, diabetes, and other illness”, one of the presenters highlighted. Measuring mental wellbeing should not be a stigma. Only 10% of people who needs access to mental assistance get this type of service. 

During the second round of Q&A, questions from the audience like how radicalization in future can be prevented for a better future of children in conflict areas or how to reflect if we can expect better times were analyzed. Presenters invited participants to reflect on big challenges ahead us but for sure, always expect better times if we choose to. Also, presenters suggested about ways to handle mental health challenges especially when young girls have to be married at an early age or what can be done to increase awareness of mental health issues in countries where there's little awareness and sensitization.


The participants used the HDRO website for data published in the digital report 2021-2022 Human Development Report Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a World in Transformation, through which they could easily understand the relation to individual and collective choices from uncertainty. The report provides information that may help participants account for why actions may be delayed. 

The UNITAR office in New York is currently looking forward to more opportunities like this with UNDP offices to build on the legacy of training and workshop activities and support countries by integrating excellent presenters, developing critical thinking from the audience, and encouraging participants to think sustainably. 

The head of UNITAR office in New York, Mr. Marco Suazo, ended the workshop by dedicating his words to encouraging the audience to make an impact in our communities. Let’s push for better medicine, access to mental health assistance, and making personal contributions to reduce effects that accelerate climate change, he concluded.

Uncertainty and unsettledness come from a lack of predictability. Predictability comes from knowledge. Knowledge comes from education.

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