19th February 2011
OPHI Director, Sabina Alkire participated in the recent ninth Kolkata Group workshop chaired by Professor Amartya Sen. The workshop assessed dimensions of social equity in India, especially related to poverty. Read more
This paper focuses on changes in multidimensional poverty as measured by the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (global MPI) in Sub-Saharan Africa. Using data for 35 countries, we describe the changes in level, intensity, and composition of multidimensional poverty at the national level. For a subset of countries we discuss results at the subnational level and provide a brief comparison to changes in income poverty. Our findings suggest that 30 countries, home to 92% of the population in our sample, significantly reduced multidimensional poverty as measured by the global MPI for at least one comparison and significantly reduced the share of poor people. Looking within countries, we find different patterns of poverty reduction, with some countries reducing poverty for the poorest regions while poorer regions in other countries do not seem to benefit from the general reduction in poverty to the same extent. When comparing trends in income and multidimensional poverty reduction we find significant differences, indicating that a holistic approach to poverty reduction should look at both multidimensional and income poverty.
Citation: Alkire, S., Jindra, C., Robles-Aguilar, G., and Vaz, A. (2017). ‘Multidimensional poverty reduction among countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.’ OPHI Working Paper 112, University of Oxford.
This paper proposes a measure for deprivation in social participation, an important but so far neglected dimension of human well-being. Operationalisation and empirical implementation of the measures are conceptually guided by the capability approach. Essentially, the paper argues that deprivation in social participation can often be convincingly established by drawing on extensive non-participation in customary social activities. In doing so, the present paper synthesises philosophical considerations, axiomatic research on poverty and deprivation, previous empirical research on social exclusion and subjective well-being. An empirical application illustrates the measurement approach using high-quality survey data for Germany. To evaluate the validity of the proposed measures, I also explore the empirical relation to adjacent concepts including material deprivation, income poverty, other potential determinants of social participation, and life satisfaction using regression techniques.
Citation: Suppa, N. (2017). ‘Walls of glass. Measuring deprivation in social participation.’ OPHI Research in Progress 49a, University of Oxford.
Summary of High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (July 10th – 19th)
Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF
Poverty is disproportionately about children. They comprise nearly a third of the world’s population, but half of all of the multidimensionally poor people. And it is obvious but too little recognised that we cannot defeat poverty in the next generation without giving today’s children a fair chance in life. About 689 million children face one or more deprivations: lack of education, poor access to health or nutrition, inadequate housing, water, or sanitation, infrastructure, unable to withstand repeated shocks of natural disasters or sustained conflicts. Just as each right denied or combination of rights denied, is an individual tragedy for each child affected, it is also a tragedy for that child’s family, her community, the future of her society, and indeed for our common future.
By themselves, monetary-based poverty measures so often miss the struggle of those children who might enjoy relatively high living standard but are failing to gain quality education, or being denied healthcare, nutrition, or water, or being abused. Much in the same way that measuring our progress towards the Millennium Development Goals by using national averages obscures the lives of millions who were left behind in the march of progress in every society. As the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative reminds us in its shocking new report, “over two thirds of poor children live in middle-income countries”. A reminder of why the Convention of the Rights of Child and UNICEF’s mandate, cover all children everywhere.
Countries are increasingly working with NGOs, UN agencies and the World Bank to establish and use multidimensional measures of poverty. We heard about Columbia’s great progress in this. For other examples, Bhutan’s National Statistics Office, supported by UNICEF, found that 34% of children suffered from multiple deprivations, notably from a lack of investment in cognitive development, as well as from malnutrition and child labour. Tanzania, examined the youngest children of up to the age of 23 months, and found that 88% of them suffered from two or more deprivations. 88%. From inadequate housing and nutrition to poor health and child protection services, to a lack of safe water and sanitation. Or the work of partners like the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative whose new reports shines a disturbing but necessary light on the multiple challenges that so many children face.
Sabina Alkire, OPHI Director
In a book called “Numbers that move the world,” Miguel Szekely observed that at points, numbers can motivate action. They can mobilise reluctance. They can ignite policies, generate discussion, and even in some points end a pressing problem.
What I’d like to do is to think about the kinds of numbers we’d need, to push the agenda on poverty in the SDGs. We are here this week to talk about different policies that as Elixia Bartonize said, address the inter-institutional, intersectorial and interconnected aspects of poverty effectively and so no one is left behind. And yet our instruments of measurement for doing so are multiple, and so the question is how do these measures inform action. And the answer is evident, it’s governance. They must analyse this new evidence base, and mobilise it into action. But that’s quite a bit of work. What I’d like to do is introduce Multidimensional Poverty Indices, or MPI, which takes a set of poverty related indicators from different SDGs that vary by country, and link them together, at the individual level and as a statistic that gives one headline figure, but then can be unpacked to inform policy. So the MPI can be used and is being used by many countries, and I hope we will hear from you also in the discussion as a management tool.
The motivation for having better measures of course came from the SDG discussions including the Secretary General’s observation that poverty measures should reflect poverty’s multidimensional nature. And also the World Bank’s commission on measuring global poverty led by our late and beloved Sir Tony Atkinson, which recommended that global poverty be monitored not only by $1.90 a day, but also by a multiple poverty index encompassing health nutrition education work living standards and violence.
So what is an MPI, a methodology I’d the privilege to develop with James Foster. First you define the indicators that create poverty in your context. Second you go door to door, and see which of those deprivations each hh experiences at the same time, how they are connected at the person level…Third you create a deprivation score for each person, and if they’re deprived in a critical mass, they are poor. Using this information you create a MPI.
But what you do need to know is that many governments have taken that step. They’ve built national MPIs that like Mexico reflect their law; like Colombia their constitution and national plan; like El Salvador, their participatory work in voices of the poor.
You can also create comparable measures, like SEPAL’s measure for Latin America, or the Global MPI published by UNDP, which can be used to compare across countries and to track global priorities like cutting by one half MPI.
What I’d like to bring your attention is how governments are using MPI for policy. I want to introduce to you first to a movement you may not know that since even September 2015 many countries have launched their first official MPI, and the voluntary reviews you’ll hear over the next week also contain mentions to the ongoing developments of MPIs. There’s a network with 53 participating countries and 12 international agencies, which is a south-south space to share imagination, creativity, passion and pain, and try to use measures to ignite action.
So what are these governments doing? And I as an academic learned from them? First they compliment monetary poverty. When Chile launched its official MPI, that was the headline, that now we have two measures like we have 2 eyes, and together they show poverty with greater precision.
They also want to of course reduce poverty overtime, and the MPI shows whether that has happened, and also how it has happened, indicator by indicator, so you see what drives change. And when governments like Ecuador, Colombia, Panama updates their MPI every year, this becomes a management tool that monitors what is lagging.
Now to accelerate poverty [reduction] you need to increase the resources. Costa Rica found that there were some indicators for which there is no budgetary allocation. It fixed that, and later President Solis issued a Presidential Decree by which the MPI and other income poverty measures must be part of budget allocation.
And of course many social policies are universal but some do target. And there are many uses of the MPI for this. An inspiring one we visited in May was China’s Accurate Targeting Poverty Reduction Programme, which used a multiple set of indicators to target over 50 million people who will come out of poverty by 2020.
There’s also policy coordination which Colombia will show. And I’d also mention the inclusive cabinet of Mexico which goes across the 7 indicators and shows the different parts of governments that are included in it.
And finally every country uses MPI that leaves no one behind. Panama launched it 2 weeks ago, with poverty rates from 4 to over 90%. In Pakistan the poorest district reduces poverty the fastest. Across Europe women were poorer than men, and when we decompose the global MPI covering 103 countries, we found that of all people that were acutely poor, ½ of them were children.
So the MPI is not a silver bullet. There is no silver bullet for ending poverty. But numbers can move the world. And governments who are committed and passionate have found multidimensional poverty indices to be more than statistics, to be tools for governance and accountability. Not only them, but NGOs, businesses and other actors. And our hope, is that in learning with you and in dialogue with you, this movement can go forward.
More info on this debate here.
Janet Gornick, Professor of Political Science and Director, Stone Centre on Social Economic Inequality, CUNY
“Let me make a plea for more investment and capacity building and micro-data. In particular, the SDGs call for disaggregation. We need micro-data. We also need surveys and datasets that combine multiple measures – income, consumption, assets, health, wellbeing. We need a lot of investments. We need much more international norm setting in terms of releasing data for research and analysis. And we need complimentary institutional data.”
“We’re pleased to report Indonesia’s substantial poverty reduction and improvement in living standard over the last decade. Close to 20 percentage point reduction since 2006. However, beyond monetary poverty, harder work is needed to mitigate high incidents of vulnerability and stunting, and expand access to quality education, healthcare, proper living condition and financial services.”
“Despite these [climate] concerns, we are committed to moving forward. We encourage policymakers to continue taking a multidimensional approach to addressing poverty and inequality that includes a full understanding of the 2030 agenda.”
Children & Youth Platform
“In line with the mandate of the HLPF, we would like to expand the conversation to emerging issues and barriers pertaining to Goal 1. Firstly, increasing but not an evidence-based focus on austerity is having significant adverse effects on multidimensional poverty, and reversing previously positive trends. We urge all governments to discuss this issue and abandon austerity programmes.”
Asian Farmer’s Association
“The problems of hunger and malnutrition and unsustainable agriculture is complex and multidimensional. Thus, eradicating hunger, poverty and malnutrition go hand in hand. These problems need a transformation where sustainable agricultural means a holistic approach to development that is socially just, environmentally sound and economically viable for the millions of the poor and hungry farmers.”
“It [malnutrition] is particularly devastating on children. Through improved composite indicators – including those from the SDGs – measuring multidimensional poverty, in South Africa we now know that 45% of the deaths of children under 3 are related to malnutrition.”
World Bank Group
We need to work together and we need to work together in different ways. And if we are all measuring our progress towards achieving those objectives with our own different metrics, we’re not going to know that we’re actually getting there. So we need to have that common set of indicators that we’ve actually agreed in the context of SDGs. Let’s use that common framework. Not just at the national but also at the subnational level. So go subnational as well.
Investing in agriculture is one of the most effective way to reduce hunger and poverty, and to generate the type of growth that have real impact on livelihoods, economy and security. However we need agreement on how to measure improvements in sustainable agricultural production that recognises a range of economic, social and environmental contexts. We know that several indicators associated with Target 2.4 on productive and sustainable agriculture are still under development and discussion.
Chile has the major challenge of achieving economic and social development while reducing inequality and tackling climate change, and at the same time it must strengthen its democratic institutions. An instrument that can support this is the Multidimensional Poverty Index, which we dealt with in detail on Monday. This MPI clearly demonstrates how education, health, work and social security are all inextricably linked. Of course all of these is linked to housing and habitat. And all of these interlinkages need to be born in mind when we tackle poverty and inequality, because all of these factors are the root causes of poverty. Thank you.
Nabeel Munir, Vice President of the Council and Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN.
First I will refer to the addressing multidimensions of poverty and inequalities. Poverty is not defined by monetary income alone. The many dimensions of poverty and deprivation must be considered and addressed in order to eradicate poverty worldwide. The MDG era saw significant progress in addressing poverty in the developing world, but the progress was uneven, allowing high levels of inequality to persist, and leaving many populations and communities behind. Deprivations in the areas of healthcare, education, economic opportunity, gender empowerment, housing and natural resource management, among others, can have a direct correlation with poverty. The Multidimensional Poverty Index, the MPI, developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, was presented as a tool that many countries are using to analyse their poverty situation, complementing traditional income based measures. Good governance is needed to assess the information coming from the MPIs and other sources, and to take action. Social inclusion and engagement of all stakeholders is an important precondition to poverty eradication. National ownership and leadership is essential for effective policies and strategies to address poverty. Children suffer disproportionally from poverty, particularly in terms of the severity of how they experience poverty. High quality, disaggregated data is central to any successful effort to eradicate poverty. Multidimensional poverty is influenced by a number of interlocking negative trends, such as climate change, destruction of natural resources which cause pollution, and other natural stressors that can undermine poverty efforts. We need to promote quality employment and a living wage as well as entrepreneurship to help people help themselves.
Voluntary National Review: Maria Luisa Navarro, Deputy Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Panama
Video on MPI Panama entitled: Building an MPI in Panama
One of the most important aspect that I wish to highlight in this Voluntary Review is the sustained reduction of poverty. This is a result of our economic growth and the strengthening of our social protection system. Between 2013 and 2016, the general poverty index and extreme poverty at the national level dropped from 26.2% to 22.1% and 11.1% to 9.9% respectively. And let me point out that for the first time, the level of extreme poverty were under 10%. However, when we looked at this information, we saw that there were gaps between the urban and rural areas, and also between the indigenous populations and other areas. Considering that if we are to eradicate poverty in all its forms and dimensions, we must have a tool that helps us to measure that poverty, not only based on income. The national government of the Republic of Panama undertook the commitment here two years ago to adopt the MPI, the Multidimensional Poverty Index. On the 26th of June, Panama published its first version of the MPI, this means that 19.1% of Panamanians are multidimensionally poor, which is 12.2% of our households. We have specific programmes to ensure that we can reduce poverty in a targeted way, and here I’d like to highlight the programme for monetary transfer, on the indigenous such as Zero Poverty, and these are geared towards reducing development gaps across our territory.
In conclusion, Mr. President, if we are to achieve the 2030 agenda, we must do so and look at it as a historic opportunity to pull efforts to improve the lives of the persons and to tackle the emerging challenges in this globalised world. We recognise that if we are to achieve the targets and goals of the 2030 Agenda, we must strengthen the inter-institutional coordination, especially with non-government actors. We must bolster the multidimensional approach in formulating and targeting our public policies. We must strengthen the national statistic system when it comes to producing and transmitting data for our monitoring SDGs. We must strengthen non-governmental participation and participation of the private sector and other groups. With this Voluntary Review, Panama reaffirms its commitment to the SDGs and protecting its citizens’ human rights. Likewise, we declare our intention to continue to work towards achieving these SDGs, which will not only benefit each individual in Panama, but will also enhance international and intra-national cooperation.
Many countries are reporting the incidence of multidimensional poverty associated with their global and/or national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) for SDG indicator 1.2.2. In 2016 four countries reported or mentioned the MPI as tool to inform SDG 1.2.2. In 2017, other nine countries are doing so.
Bangladesh writes of plans “for introducing Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) measurement in future” (page 13). Chile announced that in January 2015 it released a new multidimensional Poverty Index which is reported for SDG indicator 1.2.2. Full Report Here
Belize writes that “the enhanced methodology due to be employed in the Caribbean Development Bank (COB) sponsored country poverty assessment will allow Belize to measure poverty using a national multidimensional definition, which is currently being finalized after a draft was developed as part of the Comprehensive Review of the Social Protection System in Belize conducted last year. This follows the methodology of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI). (Page 20) Full Report Here
In Chile, the national MPI identifies 20.9% of the population as poor. Chile’s MPI is disaggregated by subnational regions, rural-urban, gender, age cohort, indigenous status. And policy reflects not just the level but also the composition of poverty in terms of education, health, work, housing and environment, and social networks. In Chile’s consultations preparing for the VNR, they found that one of the most relevant challenges was Poverty in all its dimensions – monetary, and multidimensional. Full Report Here
According to Colombia (2016) poverty reduction in Colombia occurred in all its dimensions. Non-monetary reductions were tracked and accelerated using a multidimensional measure that implemented the Alkire Foster methodology. In 2010, 30.4% of the population were MPI por where as in 2015 it was 20.2%. Colombia’s MPI is disaggregated by gender, age, urban/rural, and regions. Full Report Here
Costa Rica also uses an Alkire-Foster (AF) MPI, because it sees the challenge of Poverty reduction should be approached in a multidimensional form, as it’s national strategy outlines. Since October 2015, Costa Rica has used its MPI to coordinate policies and implement novel initiatives – especially those that address traditionally excluded populations like those with disability, indigenous persons, women, and migrants. Full Report Here
Egypt (2016) drew attention to its reduction of the global MPI published by UNDP and Oxford University, which is a recommended indicator for SDG Target 1.2. Full Report Here
Guatemala uses the Global MPI as measure of poverty to track SDG indicator 1.2.2 as a provisional basis. Nowadays, Guatemala is in the first phase of a national MPI construction process, which would imply to estimate this index in an official way at country level for the first time, in order to complement the income poverty measure. Full Report Here
Honduras uses a national MPI as an official measure of poverty to track SDG1. It observed that its MPI helps it to advance not only in SDG1 but also in other SDGs such as food security (SDG2), Education (SDG4), Water and sanitation (SDG6) and others. Full Report Here
India made a significant move towards addressing multidimensional poverty by using a multidimensional targeting approach, in order to leave no one behind. Full Report Here
Indonesia flagged multidimensional Poverty as an ‘emerging issue’ that is related to education, health, living standards. Indonesia is working “to ascertain multidimensional poverty in order to improve poverty alleviation programs to be effective in identifying the roots causes of poverty, which are different in each region.” (page 19 and 20). Full Report Here
Jordan described that it is developing “a multi-dimensional poverty index specific to Jordan (still in progress), based on the right to a decent and dignified life as opposed to the fulfillment of basic-needs approach.” (page 40) Full Report Here
Nepal’s VNR says: “Multi-dimensional poverty reduced from 64.7 percent in 2006 to 44.2 percent in 2015 (OPHI 2016) dropping by an average of two percentage points per year. These achievements were largely due to improved health and education and increased remittances incomes.”… “The government aims to bring down the percentage of people living below the poverty line to 4.9 percent and to reduce multi-dimensional poverty to 10 percent by 2030. The NPC has set targets of an annual economic growth rate of 7.2 percent and 4.7 percent annual growth in the agriculture sector during the Fourteenth Plan period (2016/17- 2018/19) and to increase per capita gross national incomes to $2,500 by 2030.” (page 14 and 15) Reference (page 38): OPHI (2016). OPHI Country Briefing December 2016: Nepal. Oxford: Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. Full Report Here
Panama extensively described its official MPI as one of the principle instruments to progressively improve public policies. For example its main messages were:“ The multidimensional poverty index was established as a principal instrument for shaping public policy. To that end, dimensions and indicators were selected, the disadvantages and gaps characterizing poverty were defined, deprivation was quantified and poverty was defined in multidimensional terms.” Full Report Here
Philippines (2016) indicated an intention to conduct studies on MPI. Full Report Here
Sierra Leone (2016), which is reporting MPI as an SDG indicator, indicated an intention to measure multidimensional Poverty, explaining that during its public, regional, and national engagements, one key point that emerged was the “relevance of a multidimensional approach to poverty measurement for the success of the SDGs” (page 10). Full Report Here
Tajikistan reported the incidence of MPI in its country, with urban and rural disaggregations. Its strategy to address the urgent issue of Poverty is multidimensional and includes “addressing food security, food quality and safety, energy security, water sector issues, climate change, other SDGs, affecting the standard of living and well-being of the population.” (page 9). Full Report Here
2nd meeting High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 2017) – Economic and Social Council, 2017 session
The theme of the United Nations’ High Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development this year is eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions. On the opening day took place a session on multidimensions of poverty and inequalities. Colombia’s Director of Economic, Social and Environmental Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Claudia Vazquez and Executive Director of UNICEF Anthony Lake joined Sabina Alkire on the panel. High Commissioner of India to Canada and noted novelist Vikas Swarup was the moderator for the session. Laura Stachel, founder of WeShareSolar and WeCareSolar, and Emem Omokaro, Executive Director of The Dave Omokaro Foundation and LEADS Scholar, National Universities Commission, were the lead discussants. Presiding Officer of the session was Nabeel Munir, Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, Vice-President of Economic and Social Council.
Highlights from the discussion included:
We must set multidimensional approaches to poverty reduction, [to] enable people in poverty to gain capacity, and to develop by paying equal attention to poverty reduction and education…The key to poverty reduction is to carry out concrete measures through many years of practice. China has developed approaches to poverty reduction that are of Chinese characteristics. The Chinese Government will continue to closely align its domestic poverty reduction efforts with the poverty reduction goal of the 2030 Agenda. China has implemented targeted national strategies of poverty reduction on the basis of soundly managed systems and has strengthened policy guarantee and fiscal investments in this regard. Innovative methodologies and modalities have also been established, which resulted in better capacity building and major achievements in poverty reduction…. we will ensure that by 2020 we will lift all poor populations in rural areas out of poverty according to the current standards…
Chile is deeply committed to the integrated, indivisible nature of Agenda 2030 and the 17 SDGs. Against this backdrop, we believe that it is crucially important to have a multidimensional poverty measure which complements the measurement of poverty by income. It is important to design and implement public policies which make it possible to fulfill the goals established and the targets which form part of the 17 SDGs–and of course comply first and foremost with SDG 1–that is to eradicate poverty in all its forms and dimensions.
…In Chile, we have committed to a programme under President Bachelet and since 2015, we have been measuring poverty by income, and it’s updated and looked at in [terms of] consumption patterns, but complementing that we have looked at poverty in a multi-dimensional fashion. And this model, this multi-dimensional model, has been drawn up with the support of civil society, ECLAC, and academia.
We have measured poverty in a multi-dimensional fashion looking at five dimensions of well-being: education, health, work and social security, housing, and the environment. So we’re not simply looking at housing in terms of how easily it can be accessed and how easily basic services can be accessed and how habitable a dwelling is. We’re looking at how close this dwelling is to basic public services such as health care, education, and public transportation. Moreover, we evaluate whether or not housing is close to contamination–sources of pollution–for example, polluted water, or improper sanitation mechanisms. And now a fifth dimension of multi-dimensional poverty, which we measure, is networks and social cohesion. Normally these are overlooked in measuring poverty but are fully acknowledged as important dimensions of poverty by many, because often people are victims of discrimination, become the victims of drug trafficking, etc., etc. So it’s important to look at social integration as a dimension of poverty.
We also should point out that in Chile we have been systematically reducing poverty looking at all of these dimensions. But 11.7 per cent of Chile’s population are suffering poverty if we look at it from an income point of view, and 20.9 per cent suffer from inter-dimensional poverty, multi-dimensional poverty. But if we look at the households living in income-related poverty and multi-dimensional poverty together–well that is only 4.5 per cent of the population. All of this indicates that public policies in Chile go beyond simply looking at income-based poverty and cash transfer. Of course we’re looking at conditional money transfers, because that has been a key tool which Chile has recently been using to tackle poverty. We have multi-dimensional poverty, we’re measuring poverty in a multi-dimensional fashion, and that means that we holistically evaluate both poverty and inequality…This approach will, we believe, allow us to make progress on Agenda 2030.
Joanne Crawford, from International Women’s Development Agency, speaking on behalf the women’s merger group today…In its call to end poverty in all its forms everywhere, the wording of [SDG] Goal 1 implicitly recognizes the need to end multi-dimensional poverty. The MPI has made an enormous contribution to our understanding of poverty beyond money and generating a Multi-dimensional Poverty Index from existing data. But use of existing data also brings its limitations. Addressing this data limitation must be a core priority.
Eradicating poverty, tackling discriminations and inequalities, and leaving no one behind are at the heart of the EU development cooperation policy. …It is not coincidence we have good examples of the Multidimensional Poverty Index coming from middle-income countries.
Argentina is convinced that it is necessary to adopt a multi-dimensional approach when we look at poverty and tackle it. And we do need to tackle poverty with public polices which adopt this multi-dimensional approach.
The need of using multi-dimensional approaches and innovative solutions is now obvious…
There is a lack of data which is due in part to the different understandings of poverty in our countries. There’s income poverty, there’s multidimensional poverty. …. And we … hope that these indicators will be able to have an impact regionally and internationally, and give us the evidence that we need so that everyone can benefit from efforts to eradicate poverty.
When you take an instant snapshot of poverty, of course you realize that there are many dimensions of it, but these dimensions are inter-connected amongst themselves–cause-effect relationships among a number of these items or dimensions.
CHILDREN & YOUTH STAKEHOLDER GROUP
We don’t treasure what we don’t measure.
…The multidimensional nature of poverty requires us to go beyond economic growth. The economic system needs to view the economy as a subset of the environment and society, not the other way around.
What gets measured gets done, and what gets measured most appropriately gets done most efficiently.
When we are doing the survey for the MPI, you are getting the poor, the people who are affected, to describe their core deprivations, because you don’t know it.
We are at an interesting point today, where thanks to Sabina and others’ work, these [multidimensional poverty] measures have been largely accepted in many countries and have achieved real traction…
The whole point of multi-dimensional poverty measures is to respond to the myriad ways in which poverty is manifested.
Economic growth is not necessarily consistent with poverty reduction. Money alone does not determine poverty; it has many dimensions. The three dimensions of education, health and living standards can be found in nearly all countries that have adopted a multi-dimensional approach to poverty reduction. Those dimensions have been a component of measurement as part of national indices, as well as in policy-making.
Multidimensional Poverty Indices based on the solid evidence of household’s own deprivation profiles provide a clear monitoring framework and are powerful tools for policy. Many countries are already reporting or intend to report a multi-dimensional poverty measure using [OPHI’s] counting technique for the SDG’s, and the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network now has 53 participating countries and 12 agencies creating a South-South space for leadership and cross-learning.
[Colombia’s MPI] is a dynamic measure which is being continuously defined to have the maximum impact.
Let’s not be moderate. Let’s be bold. Let’s finish what we started. We are living in the most transformative period of human history. Technologies that once existed only in science fiction are beginning to show up in our homes and our workplaces, enabling us to meet basic human needs on a scale unprecedented in history. The geography of poverty is no longer contained to one region of the globe, and the poor are no longer an undifferentiated mass. Now it is a problem of identification, targeting, and distribution, and that is a problem that can be solved. As Mandela said, overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice. We now have a clear goal: ending poverty in all forms and dimensions by 2030. We have a plan in the form of the Sustainable Development Goals. We have the tools in the form of the MPIs. All we need now is the will to execute that plan to making poverty history.
OPHI at the UN High Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development
The theme of the United Nations’ High Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development at this year is eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions. This is the first time that the multiple dimensions of poverty have had such high level attention. Many MPPN country leaders who have pioneered multidimensional poverty measures and policies will be speaking, as will OPHI’s director Sabina Alkire.
For example, on the opening day starting at 3pm EST a session will discuss multidimensions of poverty and inequalities. This will be livestreamed on the UNTV channel. Colombia’s Director of Economic, Social and Environmental Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Claudia Vazquez Marazzani and Executive Director of UNICEF Anthony Lake will join Dr Alkire on the panel.
The panel will debate how to design a multidimensional approach to address poverty and who the key stakeholders are to engage. Discussion will cover what institutional changes are required; how well are we measuring multidimensional poverty and what are good criteria for measurement. Emphasis will be placed on what readily available tools should be recommended to policymakers to better address the multidimensions of poverty. High Commissioner of India to Canada and noted novelist Vikas Swarup will be the moderator for the session. Laura Stachel, founder of WeShareSolar and WeCareSolar, and Mpho Parks Tau, president of the United Cities and former Mayor of Johannesburg, will be the lead discussants.
The focus of the HLPF this week is Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1, which recognises poverty in all its forms and dimensions. The focus is on policy and action. So why are governments talking about multidimensional poverty indices (MPIs)? There is a reason: they have found that MPIs are governance tools, that show interlinkages across indicators and are used for policy coordination, allocation, targeting, disaggregation, and so on. MPIs complement monetary measures but also are management and accountability tools.
Many governments say in their Voluntary National Reviews that they are already reporting or intend to report a multidimensional poverty measure using the global MPI measure of acute poverty for SDGs. These include VNRs of Bangladesh, Chile, Costa Rica, Egypt, Honduras, Indonesia, Panama, Philippines, Sierra Leone, and Tajikistan.
Many other countries already use national Multidimensional Poverty Indices. These include Colombia, Mexico, Pakistan, El Salvador, Mozambique, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Armenia among others.
All existing MPIs cover multiple SDG indicators and show the interlinkages between them. So they reinforce key poverty-related indicators in other SDGs.
The MPIs can be disaggregated to highlight child poverty. According to the global MPI that covers 75% of the world’s population and 93% of low and middle income population, half of the world’s poor people are children.
The World Bank’s 2016 Atkinson Commission Report recommended a multi-dimensioned measure with the same methodology as the existing global MPI, and including (presently unavailable) on employment and violence, be developed and used alongside US$1.90.
Data-permitting, MPIs can be disaggregated into subnational regions, by urban-rural areas, ethnicity, gender, caste, disability, indigenous groups, etc.
OPHI Briefing 49 (pdf, 4pp)
How to choose dimensions and indicators that better target public policies? This question was asked in El Salvador in the early stages of creating the MPI-ES. Several paths were tested. There were many suggestions for dimensions and indicators. But, understanding that poverty is more than income level, which dimensional deprivations are felt most by the poor population? To answer this question, El Salvador conducted a participatory process that was instrumental in defining the dimensions and indicators of the final index.
Author: Carolina Moreno
OPHI Briefing 48 (pdf)
The global MPI is a new generation of multidimensional measures that supports key priorities in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). High-resolution poverty diagnostics are needed to leave no one behind. The global MPI is disaggregated by children, disability status, sub-national regions and rural/urban areas. Linked indices of destitution and severe poverty highlight the very poorest. The SDGs call for analyses of interlinkages across indicators, and the global MPI is built upon household-level multidimensional poverty profiles. The SDGs advocate integrated multisectoral policies. The global MPI unfolds to show the composition of poverty by indicator nationally, and in every disaggregated group.
Authors: Sabina Alkire and Gisela Robles
Year: 2017Monday 28 November
19th February 2011
OPHI Director, Sabina Alkire participated in the recent ninth Kolkata Group workshop chaired by Professor Amartya Sen. The workshop assessed dimensions of social equity in India, especially related to poverty. Read more