Philippines calls for global use of multi-dimensional poverty measures

BalisacanThe Philippines has called for the global use of multi-dimensional measures for countries to see more clearly how economic growth affects poverty in different areas.

Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told a high-level event on “Anchoring a Universal Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) at the United Nations in New York that poverty in the Philippines is seen as a multi-dimensional concept.

“It is the deprivation not only in income but also, simultaneously, access to health, education, clean water, sanitation, and secure housing.”

“The Philippine economy was growing at 6.2 percent on the average in the last five years but we saw that the growth was weakly correlated with income-based poverty measures.”

“When we developed a multidimensional poverty index (MPI) for the Philippines, based on the Alkire-Foster methodology, we saw that there was a very strong response of multidimensional poverty on growth. This led us to believe that it is high time to shift or to complement income poverty measures by adopting the MPI framework,” Balisacan said.

“The challenges for us moving forward are to expand our household surveys to cover disaggregation by locality and to cover the basic sectors of our society. We have to make sure that this measure is comparable not only across locality and over time but also as much as possible internationally. We need to find a way to linking these with the SDGs,” he added.

Colombia, Chile, and Bhutan, as well as Minas Gerais in Brazil and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam have adopted official multidimensional poverty measures. The Philippines joins about eight other countries in developing their own MPIs.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is working on the methodology that will serve as the official basis of the country’s MPI.

The high-level event was organized by the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica, the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network, and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.

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