Category Archives: mppn

Bhutan reports national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) for 2012

The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, renowned for its philosophy of Gross National Happiness, has joined a pioneer set of countries which use an official Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) to complement income measures and assess the core human needs of their people.

The National Statistics Bureau (NSB) of the Government of Bhutan has reported a national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) for 2012 based on data from the Bhutan Living Standards Survey (BLSS) 2012, conducted by the NSB (with support from the Asian Development Bank).

Bhutan’s MPI considers 13 indicators of poverty in three dimensions: health, education, and living standards. If someone is deprived in a third or more of the (weighted) indicators, they are identified as multidimensionally poor.

‘The report shows a positive picture of a range of initiatives that have been implemented by different agencies in different situations aimed at enhancing the quality of life for all,’ said Kuenga Tshering, Director General of the NSB. ‘It also draws our eyes to places like Gasa where multidimensional poverty rates are far higher than income poverty.’

The MPI value for the country is estimated to be at 0.051, indicating that poor people in Bhutan experience 1/20 of the deprivations that would be experienced if all people were deprived in all indicators. The report finds that people who are income poor are not necessarily multidimensionally poor – with only 3.2 percent of the 12 percent of people who are income poor being identified as multidimensionally poor.

The report also covers changes in the MPI over time using three datasets: BLSS 2007, the Bhutan Multiple Indicators Survey (BMIS) 2010, and BLSS 2012. The results show that poverty has reduced over time between 2007 and 2012, led by improvements in sanitation and access to electricity and roads, which reflect government investments during the period.

The index developed by Bhutan uses the Alkire Foster method, which has also been used to report the Global MPI published in UNDP’s Human Development Report each year since 2010.

You can read the report published by Bhutan here. To read a briefing on the Alkire-Foster method click here.

MPPN and OPHI propose ‘light-powerful’ household survey modules for post-2015



The Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) and OPHI, which acts as the Network’s Secretariat, have launched the third collaborative draft proposal for light but powerful household survey modules, in response to the widely agreed need for a ‘data revolution’ post-2015. Previous drafts were launched in November 2013 and April 2014, and revised following extensive discussion and input.

The MPPN Post-2015 survey modules proposed aims to provide data that are:

  • Frequent and accurate – to be able to track changes over time and inform policy;
  • Representative at large-scale – so they can be disaggregated to leave no one behind;
  • Multi-topic  so they take an integrated, balanced approach, and are used to break policy silos;
  • Gendered – so they can provide data on women and men, and some data on girls and boys;
  • Internationally comparable core module reflecting key poverty-related draft SDGs
  • Flexible: able to incorporate additional modules and questions that reflect national priorities, such as a shortened consumption-expenditure module; or governance and political voice; the environment; empowerment; or social capital or child poverty;

The Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) proposes these light survey modules to obtain frequent data from the same survey instrument on a subset of poverty-related SDGs. This thrice-revised survey modules reflects the technical, cultural, and political insights of MPPN members, and were deemed to be feasible and informative across a wide range of country contexts.

The household survey modules proposed could be used to collect data to underlie a new headline indicator of multidimensional poverty post-2015 – a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2015+, which could complement income poverty measures and show how the different dimensions of poverty interconnect and overlap.

You can read the proposed household survey modules in full HERE.


Pakistan signs agreement to develop a national Multidimensional Poverty Index

OPHI,-UNDP,-Pakistan-signing-WEBPakistan’s Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and OPHI have signed an agreement to develop a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) for Pakistan.

The signing marks the beginning of the process of regularly calculating a new poverty index for Pakistan which will be based on the Alkire Foster method developed at OPHI. This method underlies the Global MPI, an international measure of acute poverty covering over 100 developing countries which has been calculated by OPHI and published in UNDP’s flagship Human Development Report since 2010.

At the signing, Pakistan’s Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal (pictured centre, above) said: “The traditional one-dimensional indices cannot reflect the true poverty levels in Pakistan. The MPI is more comprehensive, integrated and holistic as it covers education, health and living standards. This partnership between the Government, UNDP and University of Oxford will help us understand, and better address issues related to poverty in Pakistan.”

A comprehensive national report on multidimensional poverty at the district and provincial level is being prepared using Pakistan Social & Living Standard Measurement (PSLM) survey data for the last four to five years, the Dawn newspaper reported. Pakistan’s MPI will enable policymakers to ‘develop robust revenue-sharing formulas for the National Finance Commission and provincial NFC awards for allocation of resources to provinces and districts’, it said.

Marc-André Franche, UNDP Country Director in Pakistan (pictured left, above), said: “The MPI is crucial for policymaking and improving the targeting of social policy. It is vital to develop a robust revenue formula, improve policy design and monitor effectiveness of policy over time. Each country needs to choose dimensions that are most important for measuring poverty. In Pakistan, this is the first step for measuring the multidimensional poverty both at the federal and provincial levels and UNDP is extremely pleased to be part of this process.”

Islamabad-training-WEBThe signing followed a 10-day training course on the AF method at the Pakistan Planning and Management Institute in Islamabad (pictured right), which was run by OPHI’s Director Sabina Alkire (pictured right in the photo above) with researchers Adriana Conconi and Moizza Sarwar.

In addition to the report in the Dawn newspaper, the signing was covered by The News, The Hindu, The Express Tribune, The Nation, Pakistan Today and the Business Recorder.

Government of Spain calls for the adoption of a multidimensional poverty index post-2015

The Government of Spain has issued a statement calling for an index of multidimensional poverty to be incorporated in the new development agenda after 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire.

The Government’s General Secretariat of International Cooperation for Development (SGCID) issued the statement following a workshop held in Salamanca on ‘Development with equality: Reducing inequality in middle-income countries’, in which OPHI took part. The workshop was hosted by the Government of Spain on 20-21 March 2014 and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

‘Over recent years, the international community has made significant progress in the fight against absolute poverty thanks to the Millennium Development Goals momentum. However, the way in which this phenomenon has been measured up to now is unsatisfactory. The definition of poverty lines based solely on money income limits the perception of a phenomenon that is essentially multidimensional,’ the statement says.

‘Therefore, it is high time to move towards its richer and more comprehensive understanding. In this regard, the progress made by UNDP along with some academic institutions in order to define a multidimensional poverty measure is very positive. This index should be incorporated in the new agenda post-2015.’

SGCID issued the statement – titled ‘Salamanca Conclusions on Equitable Development‘ – with the aim of contributing to discussions on the post-2015 development agenda; most immediately, at the High Level meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation, to be held in Mexico on 15-16 April, at which OPHI will also have a presence.

BRAINPOoL final conference on alternative indicators held in Paris

The BRAINPOoL (Bringing Alternative Indicators into Policy) final conference, which was held in Paris on 24 March, marked the culmination of a two-and-a-half year project which focussed on promoting indicators measuring societal progress in a broader sense than traditional Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The project was set up in October 2011 and is delivered by a consortium of partners across Europe, including universities and think-tanks. Funded by the European Commission, the project aimed to increase the influence of Beyond GDP  indicators in policy, by improving knowledge transfer between those creating and promoting such indicators and their potential users.

During the project, BRAINPOoL analysed the demand for Beyond GDP indicators, catalogued the range of such indicators in use, and looked at the factors which make some indicators more successful than others. Alongside this work, it conducted seven case studies across Europe, looking at where Beyond GDP indicators could be used, in order to identify common barriers to use and how these might be overcome.

BRAINPOoL also produced a fact sheet on Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index, which is based on the Alkire Foster method, citing it as ‘a useful measurement system for surveying people’s subjective feelings about their day to day living conditions’, and highlighting its potential to ‘serve as inspiration for similar tools in different settings’.

You can find out more about the BRAINPOoL project here, and view documents from the final conference here.

International workshop on multidimensional poverty measurement held in China

Sabina-presenting-for-websiteThe International Poverty Reduction Center of China (IPRCC) hosted a two-day International Workshop on Accurate Poverty Alleviation and Multidimensional Poverty Measurement on 27-28 March 2014, in Beijing, China. China is a member of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN).

The workshop was opened by Zheng Wenkai, Deputy Director General of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development of China, and Dr. Zuo Changsheng, Director General of the IPRCC. The keynote speech was given by Sabina Alkire (left), Director of OPHI.  MPPN members from Colombia, Mexico and Minas Gerais (Brazil) shared their experiences of how the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) works as a measurement, policymaking and targeting tool.  The workshop brought together representatives of Chinese regional and national government bodies.

The workshop built on the work of the IPRCC with OPHI over the last years in developing an MPI methodology for use in China.  China also shared its experiences and lessons learned in its application of the Alkire Foster method.  The workshop also explored the operationalisation of the newly formed China Latin America Poverty Reduction Network.

OPHI takes part in workshop on inequality hosted by Government of Spain

OPHI Director Sabina Alkire was one of the speakers at a workshop in Salamanca on ‘Development with equality: Reducing inequality in middle-income countries’, which was hosted by the Government of Spain and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The meeting, which took place from 20-21 March 2014, brought together international experts to discuss ways of fighting inequality in middle-income countries. Other speakers included Rebeca Grynspan, Associate Administrator at UNDP; Olav Kjørven, Special Advisor to the UNDP Administrator on the Post2015 Development Agenda; and Gonzalo Robles, Secretary-General of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).

The conference working sessions considered the rise of middle-income countries; metrics for measuring inequality; the development of policies to combat inequality; and the commitment of international institutions and the Government of Spain to the fight against inequality.

You can read the press release from the workshop here (English) and here (Spanish).

Public consultation open on indicators for post-2015 development goals

Indicators for Sustainable Development Goals, a new draft report by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Leadership Council, is open for public consultation until 28 March 2014.

The draft report presents an integrated framework of 100 indicators within the framework of the goals and targets proposed last year by the SDSN, which was set up by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to mobilise scientific and technical expertise from academia, civil society, and the private sector in support of sustainable development problem solving. It is directed by Jeffrey Sachs, the Secretary-General’s special advisor on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In June 2013, SDSN published a report titled An Action Agenda for Sustainable Development, which proposed 10 goals with 30 associated targets (three per goal). Drawing on the work of the SDSN Thematic Groups, the current indicator report further proposes principles and responsibilities for sustainable development goal (SDG) monitoring.

The draft report includes a proposal for an indicator of extreme multidimensional poverty. This would be an “MDG continuation” indicator that tracks extreme deprivation in income, food security, health, education, and access to basic infrastructure – the core dimensions of the MDGs in a single indicator. It would complement the more traditional $1.25 a day indicator, which measures income poverty alone.

All indicators are at an early stage, and public comments can be submitted using the comment form or sent via email to

You can read more on the SDSN website here.

Government of the Philippines adopts multidimensional poverty measure

The Government of the Philippines has adopted an official multidimensional poverty measure in its updated Philippine Development Plan (2011-2016). The measure has been used to set a key poverty reduction target in an effort to secure inclusive growth and improvements in quality of life in the country, which has nearly 97 million inhabitants.

The updated plan, which spells out the government’s policy actions and investment priorities in 2014-2016, pledges to reduce the incidence of multidimensional poverty to 16-18 percent.

The new multidimensional poverty indicator is based on the Alkire Foster method for multidimensional measurement, developed at OPHI by Sabina Alkire and Professor James Foster. It has been adapted to the national context and priorities of the Philippines.

Balisacan-for-web“Multidimensional poverty incidence, unlike income poverty, looks at deprivation in various dimensions – health, education, access to water, sanitation, secure housing, etc. This indicator can then track the supposed outcomes of the different human development strategies, which impact on future income poverty,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary of the Philippines, Arsenio M. Balisacan (left), of the mid-term update. The Plan seeks to substantially reduce poverty by improving the skill sets of the poorest families and helping get the poor into work.

In September 2013, Balisacan spoke at the UN General Assembly about the benefits of using a multidimensional approach to measuring poverty. He explained that strong economic growth in the Philippines had not translated into expected reductions in income poverty. But a multidimensional poverty measure showed important improvements in other aspects of peoples’ lives – particularly in access to services, education and the accumulation of assets.

You can read a paper on ‘What Has Really Happened to Poverty in the Philippines? New Measures, Evidence, and Policy Implications’ by Arsenio M. Balisacan here.

The additional information provided by a multidimensional poverty measure – which acts as a ‘high resolution’ lens on poverty – has sparked much interest among policymakers worldwide. In June 2013, the global Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network was launched, in response to overwhelming demand for information on implementing such measures.

The Philippines is a key participant in this growing network of innovators in the use of multidimensional poverty measures for more effective poverty reduction.

New multidimensional measure of extreme poverty and vulnerability proposed in Chile

An Expert Commission convened by the President of Chile, Sebastian Piñera, to review the way poverty is measured, has presented it final proposals.

Alongside suggestions as to how the current income poverty measure could be improved, the Commission also recommended that the President introduce a new multidimensional measure of vulnerability and extreme poverty to better capture the full reality of poverty in a high-income context.

The new measure divides households into four groups: the extremely poor; the poor; the vulnerable; and those who are neither poor nor vulnerable. The new category of vulnerability is designed to capture those people whose income is precarious (even if above the income poverty line), and people who are not income poor, but who are deprived in other important aspects of poverty, such as health, education and housing.

The multidimensional measure is based on the Alkire Foster method and has five dimensions: education; health; employment and social security; housing; and the community, environment and security.

The new measure is intended to complement the existing income poverty line by providing additional information for policymakers about the complex and diverse situations facing Chile’s population. Detailed information is available on the Government of Chile’s website.