On Tuesday, June 6, Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, Vice President of the Dominican Republic, will talk on “Efforts to tackle multidimensional poverty in the Dominican Republic” at Oxford University.
Time: 2 to 3 PM
On Tuesday, June 6, Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, Vice President of the Dominican Republic, will talk on “Efforts to tackle multidimensional poverty in the Dominican Republic” at Oxford University.
Time: 2 to 3 PM
The Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) will be holding a special High-Level Side Event at the UN Statistical Commission in New York from 1:15pm to 2:30pm on Tuesday 7 March.
The event will highlight the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) as a tool that can measure poverty in its many dimensions, track progress in the SDGs according to national definitions, and focus on interlinkages across SDGs and integrated policies. The MPI has been implemented as an official national statistic of poverty in a number of countries, including Mexico, Colombia, Bhutan, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ecuador, Honduras, Pakistan, and Armenia.
This event will bring together leading statisticians at the forefront of innovations in poverty measurement, in order to discuss the value-added of multidimensional poverty measures, their data requirements and robustness. A number of countries are reporting the MPI to meet SDG Target 1.2 and will share their experiences and rationale.
The event will also highlight a global MPI to compare national achievements across countries and to provide internationally comparable data to complement $1.90/day measure, and discuss proposed SDG-related dimensions suggested by the recent Atkinson Commission Report of the World Bank.
Please note: the event will be held in UN Headquarters, so it is unfortunately only accessible to those who have a UN security pass. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
Both Costa Rica and El Salvador launched a national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) on the same day, October 29th 2015. OPHI’s co-founder John Hammock and Outreach Technical Director Adriana Conconi participated in these launches, John Hammock in Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, and Adriana Conconi in San Salvador. In their remarks the OPHI representatives stressed both the academic validity and robustness of the measure and its potential for impacting people who live in poverty through better and more targeted social policies.
The President of Costa Rica, Mr. Luis Guillermo Solís, was joined by Second Vice President Ms. Ana Helena Chacón and Human Development Minister Mr.Carlos Alvarado in presenting the new measure to the country. The President stressed that the MPI will be used to reduce extreme poverty by allowing the government to target government resources to those that need it. He also stressed that the MPI was the result of a strong partnership between the Government, the private sector through Horizonte Positivo and OPHI.
In El Salvador Christian Salazar, UNDP representative in the country, explained the need for a poverty measure that goes beyond income and that is not subject to price and exchange rate volatility. He was joined by Lilian Vega a technical advisor for the multidimensional poverty measurement team who presented the national MPI which has 20 indicators grouped in 5 dimensions. Mr. Roberto Lorenzana, the Technical Secretary of the Presidency, closed the event by summing up the relevance of the MPI as a tool for policy.
Press Coverage (in Spanish)
Photo Gallery from the Event in Costa Rica
Photo credit: Costa Rica President’s Office
Photo Gallery from the Event in El Salvador
Photo credit: Secretaría Técnica y de Planificación El Salvador
The Global Monitoring Report (GMR) 2015/2016, produced jointly by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, details findings from the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) for the first time.
While the report details a decline of those living in global poverty, reclassified as living on $1.90 or less a day, it stresses that ‘Pockets of very deep and multidimensional poverty continue to persist’ and emphasises that ‘more attention is needed to the non-income dimensions of development’ in order to ‘sustainably end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity’.
The GMR explores multidimensional poverty measurement and profiles the MPI as a possible implementation. In particular, it highlights how the MPI can be broken down to reveal the different types of deprivation faced by the poor across different regions of countries, noting that ‘Breaking down poverty by dimension provides policy makers with localized information for reducing multidimensional poverty’.
The report describes how, according to recent updates of the Global MPI, Niger is the country with the highest rates of multidimensional poverty, while the poorest subnational region in the world is Salamat in southeast Chad, where nearly 98% of inhabitants are MPI poor. The region with the highest deprivation in nutrition is Affar in Ethiopia, and that with most child mortality is Nord-Ouest in Cote d’Ivoire. Karamoja in Uganda is the most deprived region for sanitation, and Wad Fira in Chad for drinking water, electricity and years of schooling.
The report also highlights how several countries have already implemented their own multidimensional poverty measures, noting that ‘as the post-2015 process unfolds, demand for harmonized multidimensional poverty assessments at the country and global levels is likely to rise.’
The Global MPI is an internationally-comparable measure of acute poverty covering more than 100 developing countries. It has been calculated by OPHI and published in the UN Development Programme’s Human Development Report since 2010. Overall, 1.6 billion people are multidimensionally poor according to the Global MPI, with the largest global share in South Asia and the highest intensity in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Read the full Global Monitoring Report: “Development Goals in an Era of Demographic Change”
Read OPHI’s briefing paper on how the Global MPI can be broken down to reveal a clearer picture of poverty: High Visibility: How disaggregated metrics help to reduce multidimensional poverty
OPHI’s work has been included in the top 20 most impressive examples of UK research contributing to global development, a list compiled by the UK Collaborative on Development Sciences (UKDCS).
The UKDCS selected the list from the 6,975 impact case studies submitted to the Research Excellence Framework, the system used to assess the research quality of UK universities.
OPHI was recognised for its work to develop the Alkire Foster (AF) method for multidimensional poverty measurement. The AF method is a flexible tool that captures the overlapping deprivations that a person or household experiences in different indicators of poverty, such as poor health, a lack of education and inadequate living standards. It provides a headline measure of poverty and can also be broken down to reveal what poverty is like in different areas of a country and among different groups of the population.
The AF method is being used by a growing number of governments to develop their own national or regional multidimensional poverty measures, incorporating indicators of poverty relevant to their own specific contexts. It enables policymakers to develop coordinated poverty-reduction initiatives and target their resources at those most in need.
The AF method has also been used to construct the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index, which has been calculated by OPHI and published in the UN Development Programme’s Human Development Report since 2010. The Global MPI is an internationally-comparable measure of acute poverty covering more than 100 developing countries.
Read the UKCDS case study about OPHI’s work: Revolutionising the world’s understanding of poverty and how to fight it
Find out more about countries that have launched or are in the process of developing multidimensional poverty measures.
New York, 27 September 2015
During the United Nations summit to agree a historic new global development agenda, twenty eminent speakers stressed the importance of adopting a multidimensional approach to measuring and eradicating poverty at the national and global levels.
The event celebrated the sea-change embodied within the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which recognises that ‘eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions’ as ‘the greatest global challenge’. The 20 speakers shared with passion and commitment their work to address poverty, using Multidimensional Poverty Indices (MPIs) that catalyse integrated policies and disaggregated data to leave no one behind.
Many calls were also made for an internationally comparable Global MPI to be a tier 1 indicator within the SDGs and for National MPIs, that measure poverty according to national definitions, to be aspirational indicators for Target 1.2. Speakers shared how multidimensional poverty metrics can help to fight poverty in all its forms and dimensions, how they can be disaggregated to help leave no one behind, and help catalyse integrated policies that address interlinked deprivations together – key principles of the SDGs.
The distinguished speakers, including Heads of State, Ministers of Planning and Ministers of Social Development, Finance and Foreign Affairs, are at the forefront of practical efforts to reduce all forms of poverty. The measures they use inform their efforts to improve lives of poor people. In their observations they showed how multidimensional poverty measures can complement monetary poverty measures.
The eminent leaders addressing the 200-strong audience included:
Their contributions stressed the importance of putting poor people at the heart of the sustainable development agenda via multidimensional approaches to measuring and eradicating poverty.
The other speakers sharing important contributions on multidimensional poverty included:
The discussion was fast-paced, focused and substantive. President Solis of Costa Rica called for a poverty narrative that inspires commitment and action – by government, but also by civil society and the private sector. Prime Minister Tobgay of Bhutan shared how multidimensional poverty and well-being measures create an insightful measurement framework for multi-level policy and programme design. Presidetn Hernandez of Honduras shared a compelling example of a campesino farmer whose life is trapped in a battery of interlocking deprivations, but also observed how the Global MPI enables Honduras to be compared on the world stage to countries in Asia and the Arab world. Prime Minister Anthony of St Lucia brought in Bob Marley to call for attention to the hidden, forgotten, and isolated people and the links between poverty and environmental degradation.
In the Ministerial Discussion, Arsenio Balisacan (Philippines) shared how their multidimensional poverty measures – which are incorporated in their national development plan – better reflected the impact of economic growth, while Tayana Orozco (Colombia) shared a distilled and compact overview of Colombia’s many-layered innovative policy uses of the MPI. Jeff Radebe (South Africa), stressed how measures that display the interlinkages of poverty can stimulate and guide integrated policy, and also mentioned how South Africa’s census-based MPI was a ‘precision measure of poverty’ that interested many. Marcos Barraza (Chile) shared the structure and findings of Chile’s official National MPI launched in January 2015, and Dang Huy Dong (Vietnam) explained the need to have a ‘headline’ indicator of multidimensional poverty to give visibility to social progress. Cecilia Vaca Jones (Ecuador), whose country will shortly release a national MPI, articulated how it resonated with the indigenous cosmology of Buen Vivir, of harmony between peoples, and with the environment. Savas Alpay (Islamic Development Bank) described the interest in Islamic Development Bank member countries in building national MPIs, and of their work in supporting capacity building in statistical offices.
In a closing set of brief and pity remarks as well as submitted statements, other important points emerged. Mikheil Janelidze (Georgia) shared how MPI is a natural next step given their history of social policy interventions. Maria Luisa Navarro (Panama) charted Panama’s trajectory which has spawned an interest in multidimensional poverty measurement. Amadou Ba (Senegal) shared their work on building a national MPI – the first in Africa, and Tarek Nabulsi (League of Arab States) described the need in the Arab region for a comparable MPI, but one focused on moderate poverty, and their collaboration with UNESWA to bring this into being. Ingolf Dietrich (Germany) articulated Germany’s interest in following how multidimensional poverty metrics are evolving, and Noam Unger (USAID) shared how USAID’s new vision for extreme poverty is, for the first time, multidimensional. Mexico, the country who had released their National MPI even before UNDP’s Global MPI launch in 2010, closed the session, and welcomed participants to come to the next meeting of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (mppn.org), which will be hosted by Mexico.
Highlights from the discussion included:
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, whose message to the audience was delivered by H.E. Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations, shared with participants the number of Global MPI poor people in developing countries and said:
“Our challenge, at the global, national and local levels, is to reduce these numbers and ensure lives of dignity for all. That means accurately tracking vulnerability, exclusion and other key variables. It means seizing the great potential of the data revolution to help us better measure poverty and get a full picture of its impacts. Only then will Governments, which will be in the driver’s seat of implementation, be able to determine and pursue their national priorities.”
H.E. Mr. Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, President of Costa Rica who celebrated the priority of poverty in all its forms and dimensions in the SDGs, and stressed how national multidimensional poverty index, or MPI, can improve the effectiveness of social policy. He said
“…leaders that are committed to fighting against poverty in all its dimensions need to join forces to create mechanisms to achieve our objectives. I believe in the relevance of making the complexity of our challenges visible: we must understand poverty as the deprivation of several capacities and living conditions, and not merely as the lack of income.”
Stressing the need to include a Global MPI within the SDGs he said:
“…similarly to the case of the $1.25-a-day indicator of extreme poverty, we need an index of multidimensional poverty that is comparable across countries and over time, such as the existing Global MPI of UNDP and OPHI. We need an index that considers acute and moderate poverty. And we need this index to be disaggregated by region and indicator.”
H.E. Mr. Tshering Tobgay, Prime Minister of Bhutan talked about Bhutan’s two-pronged approach to multidimensional measurement which captures the multiple dimensions of wellbeing in the form of the Gross National Happiness Index and the multiple dimensions of poverty in their official national MPI.
He observed that ‘Indicators are like eyes: they help us to see things; they bring matters into focus’ – and so shape action:
“Bhutan’s national MPI is not only a measure, it is also a tool – a policy tool. We use it to inform our allocation of resources. It identifies people who are poor because of gaps in infrastructure and social services, even where people are not income poor, as in one of our remotest district.”
He raised “the call to have a Global MPI as a Tier 1 indicator of the SDGs, and to support others to develop the use National MPIs” – yet he also encouraged linked measures of poverty and well-being:
“Together we can design a new metric by which to assess our societies and our own lives, one that not only leaves no person behind, but also leaves no part of human life and potential behind.”
H.E. Mr. Juan Orlando Hernández, President of Honduras, who grew up in the rural areas, used the case of Don Camilo to illustrate interconnected deprivations faced by farmers and their multiple causes. He said:
“It has taken us a long time to understand that poverty is multidimensional – that it is a complex phenomenon, and must be confronted with different tools and from different angles.”
He also showed how the Global MPI can be used to compare poverty in Honduras with situations in Asia and the Arab States. He said:
“This ability to differentiate between countries and regions using the MPI shows us the territorial imbalances that we must break.”
H.E. Mr. Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia who spoke about the particular challenges of the hidden, forgotten and isolated poor among small island developing states, drew out the potential of joining together efforts to fight poverty and to strike out environmental threats within the SDGs. He said that
“A Global MPI helps us know and understand poverty better, allows us to compare clearer, and gives us a stronger platform to remove the scourge of poverty from the human family.”
Of the new global development agenda he said:
“Lifting people out of poverty means uplifting the entire human experience. Target 1.2 of our new Sustainable Development Goals affirms this and promotes efforts for a Global Multidimensional Poverty Index.”
The further contributions from senior representatives of governments who have adopted or are establishing official national MPIs showed the energy, vitality and rapid pace of growth in this emerging area of poverty measurement. The meeting agenda shows the diversity of participants from around the world.
Leaders who could not speak in person shared statements on multidimensional poverty measurement efforts at the global and national levels including the President of Colombia, the Vice President of the Dominican Republic, the Head of Statistics of Sudan, and senior government officials from Turkey and Seychelles.
Photography credit: Zach Damberger
A new study published in the OPHI working paper series proposes a multidimensional poverty index (MPI) for Germany to reveal the overlapping disadvantages poor people can face across different areas of life.
Nicolai Suppa from the Technical University of Dortmund constructed an MPI using German data from 2001-02, 2006-07 and 2011-12. Based on the Alkire Foster method, his MPI for Germany incorporates six dimensions of poverty:
His analysis of the MPI revealed substantive differences in the prevalence of multidimensional poverty among different groups of the population and in different areas of the country. For example, people living by themselves tended to experience more poverty than those living in a couple, regardless of children in the household. Similarly, people with fathers who had limited education or where their education was unknown were associated with higher multidimensional poverty.
There were also significant differences in the dimensions that contributed most to poverty among different groups of people. For people with a background of migration, the dimensions of material deprivation and housing contributed relatively more to multidimensional poverty, while health contributed less. The relative contributions of deprivations in social participation and health increased with age, while the roles of housing and material deprivation decreased.
The study also looked at changes in multidimensional poverty over time and suggests that the overall increase in multidimensional poverty from 2001/02 to 2006/07 was due to deprivations in employment and material deprivation. Similarly, indicators for education and unemployment played a crucial role in reducing multidimensional poverty during the second half of the decade.
Changes in multidimensional poverty over time varied for different groups of the population. For example, the findings showed that migrants experienced a stronger increase in multidimensional poverty than non-migrants during the first half of the decade and a greater decrease during the second half. This decrease resulted in a reduced poverty gap between migrants and non-migrants by 2011/12. There were also variations in the way poverty changed over time among different age groups.
Overall, using data from 2011/2012, the study found that 8% of people in Germany lived in multidimensional poverty, compared to 5% who were income poor. The author highlights the discrepancy between multidimensional and income poverty measures in showing who is poor, emphasising that the choice of measure can make a difference to targeting poverty-reduction initiatives.
Read the full paper
‘Towards a Multidimensional Poverty Index for Germany’, by Nicolai Suppa, was published in the OPHI working paper series in September 2015.
Find out about countries that have launched official national measures of multidimensional poverty.
The way we define poverty has changed. At the Sustainable Development Summit on 25-27 September 2015, the UN will formally adopt a new sustainable development agenda that will include a goal to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. The new goals officially recognise that poverty is more than a lack of money. This is a significant turning point that brings us closer to understanding the true extent of poverty – and a crucial step towards fighting it.
With 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) finalised, attention will now turn to how they will be measured, and how to use new measures to improve governance. And fortunately governments have some experience on how this can be done. Later this month at a high-level side event during the Sustainable Development Summit, leaders and ministers from governments around the world will underline their experience with a Multidimensional Poverty Index at the national level, used to complement the traditional income measure. The Presidents of Costa Rica, Ecuador and Honduras and the Prime Ministers of Bhutan and Saint Lucia, and senior ministers from Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and the Philippines, are among those who will argue, based on their experience, for a Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) to be embedded in the new development framework as a measure of target 1.2 – to reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions by 2030. Such a global indicator to measure progress towards poverty reduction would complement MPIs at the national level.
A new Global MPI would build on the current Global MPI that has been published by the UN Development Programme’s Human Development Report Office since 2010, developed with and calculated by the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI), a research centre at the University of Oxford. It complements traditional measures of income poverty by combining different indicators of deprivation such as poor sanitation, malnutrition, unsafe water, poor quality housing and lack of education. According to the latest updates of the Global MPI, released in June this year and covering 101 developing countries, 1.6 billion people are living in multidimensional poverty around the world.
An improved Global MPI for the SDGs (the MPI 2015+) would draw together SDG indicators and help us gain an even richer picture of the true reality of poverty.
The side event is organised by the government of Costa Rica with the support of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN), a group of 40 governments that is championing the use of multidimensional poverty measures alongside traditional income measures at both the national and global levels. These governments also include China, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Vietnam, among many others.
With such diverse nations committed to multidimensional poverty measurement in the SDGs, the Global MPI 2015+ can be complemented by countries’ national MPIs – as is already occurring. Using indicators of poverty relevant to their own specific contexts, the governments of Bhutan, Colombia, Chile, Malaysia and Mexico, as well as the state government of Minas Gerais in Brazil and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, have already launched such measures. Many others – including Pakistan, Philippines, Ecuador, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Tunisia and Vietnam – are in the process of developing theirs.
Global and national MPIs drive forward the emphasis on leaving no one behind because they can be disaggregated by states or provinces, and by other groups. They incentivise synergistic and integrated policies because they show which deprivations affect people at the same time. By identifying how and where people are poor, multidimensional poverty measures enable governments to allocate resources, and design targeted and integrated policy interventions more effectively. People’s lives are complex and we need to take a joined up approach to fighting poverty.
Poverty goes beyond income – by next week that will be official. Now we must equip governments at the national level and the global community with the most effective tools for fighting it. National MPIs and a Global Multidimensional Poverty Index for the SDGs can complement income poverty measures and help energise a coordinated, effective and multi-sectoral attack on poverty in all its dimensions, driving forward real social change.
Sabina Alkire is Director of the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford and the Oliver T. Carr Professor and Professor of Economics and International Affairs at George Washington University.
The country will adopt a national measure of multidimensional poverty, based on OPHI’s Alkire-Foster method, which will show the disadvantages poor people face across five different areas:
Households that cannot meet over a third of their basic needs in these areas will be identified as multidimensionally poor, while those lacking more than half will be considered critically poor.
The new measure can be broken down to reveal what poverty is like in specific areas of the country and among different communities, helping policymakers to target their resources effectively and implement coordinated poverty-reduction initiatives.
In December 2014, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam launched the first city-wide multidimensional poverty index. The measure revealed significant differences between income and multidimensional poverty. While only 0.1% of the city’s population lives below Vietnam’s national income poverty line, the MPI shows that 11.35% of people are multidimensionally poor.
The governments of Bhutan, Colombia, Chile, Malaysia and Mexico, as well as the state government of Minas Gerais in Brazil, have also already launched official multidimensional poverty measures using indicators of poverty relevant to their own specific contexts. Many others – including Pakistan, Philippines, Ecuador, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Tunisia – are in the process of developing such measures.
Find out more about the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network, a group of over 40 countries and institutions that support the use of multidimensional poverty measures alongside traditional measures of income poverty at both the global and national levels.
Read about results from the Ho Chi Minh City MPI.
Photo credit: Cameron Thibos
Oxford-based theatre company Justice in Motion have produced a short play on behalf of OPHI, exploring the multidimensional layers of poverty. Watch a video of the performance below.
A high resolution version of this video is available to watch on YouTube.
Find out more about multidimensional poverty.
A national Multidimensional Poverty Index is a country-specific poverty measure tailored to each country’s unique situation. Such measures generally take the dimensions of health, education and living standards as their starting point, and supplement with different dimensions measured by locally appropriate indicators.