Southern NGOs call on High Level Panel to recognise that poverty is multidimensional

A recognition of the fact that poverty is multidimensional is top of the list of concerns sent by a group of Southern NGOs to the High Level Panel advising the UN on the content of a post-2015 development agenda.

The panel is meeting in New York on 15 May to finalise its recommendations, which will be presented to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 30 May and made public on 31 May.

In an open letter, which has already been signed by well over 100 organisations, the NGOs call on the High Level Panel to ensure that their report includes six critical concerns.

‘1. Poverty is multidimensional and should not be narrowly defined and measured only as a matter of income,’ the letter reads.

OPHI Director Sabina Alkire and Research Associate Andy Sumner recently published a brief proposing the consideration of a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2.0 (now known as the MPI 2015+) for the post-2015 development agenda. The brief suggests that a headline MPI could provide an eye-catching and intuitive overview measure, which would complement a $1.25/day poverty line by showing how people are poor (what disadvantages they experience); in which regions or ethnic groups they are poor; and the inequalities between those living in poverty. Read the brief.

The other five concerns raised in the open letter cover human rights issues; the link between peace, security and democratic governance; the right to self-determination; a recognition of the barriers posed by climate change, deregulated global finance and an unfair global trade regime; and accountability, of governments, international financial institutions, development actors and corporations.

‘As all of these issues are based on existing international agreements and commitments, to not take them into account would be a scandal and would be detrimental to development and social justice goals,’ the letter concludes.

The group, led by Social Watch, ANND and DAWN, had gathered signatures from 122 NGOs from around the world by 14 May. You can read the letter and see the full list of signatories here.