The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is pushing for the inclusion of multi-dimensional poverty measures in the menu of performance indicators for post-2015 development agenda.
Socio-economic Planning Sec. Arsenio Balisacan said the summary multi-dimentional poverty measures should be considered as an extremely useful complement to income poverty based on US$1.25 per person per day poverty line.
“We support the call for data revolution and despite the tremendous improvement in information technology and the international community’s zeal to accelerate millennium development goals’ progress, there is a dearth of data that can be used to measure multidimensional poverty.
Balisacan said nationally representative data that can be robustly compared across countries is also lacking. 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,” said Balisakan.
“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,” said Balisacan.
The millennium development goals (MDGs) number eight in all and these are, in turn, translated into 48 indicator targets. And we have been reporting on our progress corresponding to each indicator target, 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,” said Balisacan.
“Our strategy to reduce poverty is being challenged by the data we have on poverty. Despite a respectable economic growth during the past dozen years, especially during the past three years when the economy grew over 6% a year, official poverty headcount, based on income data, remained virtually unchanged at about one-fourth of the population that poverty, as characterized by simultaneous deprivation of certain poverty dimensions,”
Balisacan said that from a policy perspective, the contrasting results matter a lot. The first result suggests that economic growth did not reach the poor and that the quality of life for the poor did not significantly improve even as we increased the coverage of our conditional cash transfer program and implemented wide-ranging governance reforms.”
“This has led many sectors and observers, including many in government, to call for an alternative strategy for development. In contrast, the second result demonstrates that quality of life did improve, as evidenced by the declining trend in acute deprivation.”
Balisacan stressed that economic growth resulted in improved access to services and facilities and encouraged asset build up and even human capital improvements among the “multidimensionally” poor.
As a policymaker, that multidimensional poverty measurement is highly relevant and extremely useful for our efforts to substantially reduce poverty in the country, Balisacan added.