Secretary-General’s post-2015 synthesis report calls for multi-dimensional poverty measures

The UN Secretary-General’s global synthesis report on the post-2015 development agenda highlights the need for poverty measures that reflect the multiple deprivations experienced by the poor.

OPHI welcomes the acknowledgement of the multidimensionality of poverty and calls for the post-2015 implementation of a headline Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) that shows the level of poverty as well as:

  • How people are poor (what disadvantages they experience at the same time)
  • Which regions or ethnic groups they belong to
  • The intensity of deprivations experienced by those living in poverty.

The MPI 2015+ would complement the $1.25 a day income measure to ensure that the many overlapping disadvantages faced by the poor, including malnutrition, poor sanitation, and lack of education, are not overlooked.  Like the $1.25/day, the MPI 2015+ would be comparable across countries. The methodology could also be adapted to create national MPIs with different poverty indicators, cut-offs and values that reflect the priorities within each country.

The Secretary-General’s report states that developing alternative measures of progress, beyond GDP, must receive the dedicated attention of the UN, international financial institutions, the scientific community, and public institutions, and OPHI draws attention to Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index as one such measure.

The report acknowledges that contributions to the post-2015 agenda have underlined the need to fill key sustainable development gaps left by the Millennium Development Goals, including the multi-dimensional aspects of poverty, as described above.

The Secretary-General also emphasises that concessionality levels of aid loans should take into account different development stages, circumstances and multiple dimensions of poverty.

The report synthesises the full range of inputs that have been made to the post-2015 development agenda. It will contribute to intergovernmental negotiations before the agenda is launched by the UN in September 2015.

Read more about OPHI’s work on multidimensional poverty.