President of Colombia calls for Poverty Network to lead ambitious social change

On 6 June, President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia joined high-level representatives from Mexico and around 20 other governments to launch a Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network in Oxford. The network, for policymakers engaged in implementing multidimensional poverty measures, enables early adopters to share their experiences directly with other members.

The President described Colombia’s experience of implementing a national multidimensional poverty measure based on the Alkire Foster method developed at OPHI.

‘Radical social advances are only possible if we understand – through careful observation and analysis – the deep roots of our poverty and the many shades of inequality within our society,’ he said.

‘Hence, the urgency of implementing a multidimensional approach in our battle against poverty. We know this challenge has more than one side, more than one face, and to outsmart it we need to uncover them all.’

The President said that in the two years since the Colombia-MPI was introduced, it had inspired social programmes and strategies that were improving most aspects of peoples’ lives in his country. The Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network would be a platform to lead ambitious social change in all member countries, he said.

‘The time has come for us to share our experiences in a broader manner and to build collective experience and knowledge. So far, six countries – including Colombia – have taken a step forward by adapting the methodology to their own set of circumstances. And it is paying off.
This system of peers will show many other countries the way to foster true and lasting transformations within the poorest communities and households.’

Read the President’s speech in full.