Philippines minister pushes multidimensional poverty measures for the post-2015 agenda

Multidimensional poverty measures should be included in the menu of performance indicators for the post-2015 development agenda, the Socioeconomic Planning Secretary for the Philippines has said.

Arsenio Balisacan, who spoke at the side-event at the UN General Assembly organised by the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network on 24 September 2013,  said multidimensional poverty measures should be considered as an extremely useful complement to income poverty measures based on a US$1.25 per person per day poverty line.

‘Multidimensional poverty measurement is highly relevant and extremely useful for our efforts to substantially reduce poverty in the Philippines and, I believe, elsewhere,’ Balisacan said in a statement issued by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and reported by the Manila Bulletin.

The Minister expressed concern that countries around the world were reporting on their progress towards meeting individual Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), ‘almost as if these are unrelated’.

‘I would not even be surprised if our strategies to meet the MDGs follow a silo approach. In fact, we may have encouraged this practice by not specifying a multidimensional poverty target,’ he said.

Balisacan also expressed concern about the dearth of data that can be used to measure multidimensional poverty, and the lack of nationally representative data that can be robustly compared across countries.

‘Rectifying this matter amounts to only adding a few questions to our regular household surveys, although the challenge can be greater for the least developed countries,’ he said. ‘What is needed is a political resolve at the national, regional, and international levels to invest in good-quality data critical for informing policy decisions and monitoring progress in poverty reduction.’

The Philippines is a member of the Global Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network, which was launched in Oxford in June 2013 to connect policymakers engaged in exploring or implementing multidimensional poverty measures. It has over 20 member governments and institutions.

You can read the NEDA statement in full here, and find out all about the Network side-event on multidimensional poverty measurement in the post-2015 context here.