Call for new indicator on global poverty

A call has been made for a new headline indicator designed to measure progress towards eradicating global poverty in its many dimensions.

The case for the new indicator is made in the latest Development Co-operation Report published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, in a chapter written by Sabina Alkire (Director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative - OPHI).

Key points

  • Ending poverty measured by 1.25 US dollars per day is unlikely to mean the end of the many overlapping disadvantages faced by poor people, including malnutrition, poor sanitation, a lack of electricity, or ramshackle schools. Ending poverty means addressing its multiple dimensions, argues Alkire.   
  • There is a case for a new headline indicator to measure progress towards eradicating poverty in its many dimensions. This indicator could be an adaptation of the Multidimensional Poverty Index, or MPI, (developed by the OPHI)that is already being used internationally in the United Nations Human Development Report and by many countries around the world. The index combines ten indicators reflecting education, health and standard of living.
  • Experience in using such an indicator suggests that it could feasibly complement an income poverty measure. It would help to bring into view those in poverty who are currently overlooked, and to unleash energies for ending other dimensions of poverty as well.
  • This measure would inform, guide and monitor multi-dimensional poverty-reduction policies, adding real value for policy makers. It would also help to monitor the degree to which economic growth is equitable and to show the important links between poverty and sustainability.
  • Eradicating poverty as measured by this new multi-dimensional index would dismantle a critical mass of deprivations, achieving much more than eradicating USD 1.25 income poverty alone.

SourceDevelopment Co-operation Report 2013: Ending Poverty, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
LinksReport | Guardian report

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Publication date: 
Dec 5 2013