UNITED NATIONS, March 14 (Xinhua) -- A new UN report said on Thursday that rapid growth in the developing countries is shifting the world's balance of power and creating vast implications on the future of global development.
"The South has risen at an unprecedented speed and scale," said the 2013 Human Development Report. "During these uncertain times, countries of the South are collectively bolstering world economic growth, lifting other developing economies, reducing poverty and increasing wealth on a grand scale."
The report was released by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Mexico City, Mexico on Thursday, the UN deputy spokesman, Eduardo del Buey, told reporters here.
For the first time in 150 years, the South, a term used to describe developing countries, is producing about half of the world's output, compared to 1990 when it only produced about one- third, according to the report titled "Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Developed World."
"Never in history have the living conditions and prospects of so many people changed so dramatically and so fast," the report said.
According to rankings of the human development index (HDI), a statistical index based on life expectancy, education and income, more than 40 developing countries, including the big four of Brazil, Russia, India and China, have made significant gains in the last decade.
"All groups and regions have seen notable improvement in all HDI components, with faster progress in low and medium HDI countries," said the report. "On this basis, the world is becoming less unequal."
It attributed this swift growth to active governments committed to human development factors, a strategic approach to the world markets and an increase of social services.
"Few countries have sustained rapid growth without impressive levels of public investment -- not just in infrastructure but also in health and education," the report noted.
There has also been a massive expansion of the global middle class, which has increased from 26 percent of the world population in 1990 to 58 percent of the world population in 2010, giving the South new importance to the world economy.
"Without the robust growth in these (emerging and developing) economies, led by India and China, the global economic recession would have been deeper," said the report.
In the last decade, there has been more South-South trade than North-North trade, and the number of Internet users in the South now actually exceeds that in the North.
The North is a term to denote developed countries.
"The economic take-offs in China and India began when their respective populations reached about one billion and per capita output doubled in less than 20 years, resulting in an economic growth that affected a much larger population than the Industrial Revolution," the report said.
"Emerging powers in the developing world are already sources of innovative social and economic policies and are major trade, investment and increasingly development cooperation partners for other developing countries," UNDP Administrator Helen Clark pointed out in the report's foreword.
Thanks to its unprecedented growth, "the South is now in a position to influence, even reshape, old models of development cooperation with augmented resources and home-grown lessons," the report observed.
It recommended that the increasing power of the South should be reflected by a stronger presence in regional and global institutions, and that together the North and the South should confront shared challenges, such as climate change.
"The South needs the North and the North increasingly needs the South," the report said. "The world is getting more interconnected, not less."