High-level Panel at UN Makes Case for Multidimensional Poverty Measure

30 September, 2014

The Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI) co-hosted a side event at the 69th UN General Assembly at which senior leaders from eight governments and institutions called on the UN to adopt a new multidimensional poverty measure to support the eradication of poverty in all its forms in the post-2015 development agenda.

Together, officials from nations as diverse as Mexico, China, South Africa, Colombia, Ecuador and the Seychelles proposed that the next round of global development targets – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – should incorporate a new Multidimensional Poverty Index (the MPI 2015+).

The distinguished panellists outlined how such a critical innovation would support efforts to ensure that globally we 'end poverty in all its forms everywhere' – the first goal of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals final Outcome Document (19 July 2014). They illuminated how a comparable and global MPI 2015+ could complement income poverty measures by shining a high-resolution lens on poverty, showing who is poor and how they are poor, helping to ensure that the SDGs 'leave no one behind'. To make the comparisons universal they called for the new MPI2015+ to have two levels: one reflecting acute multidimensional poverty, and another of moderate poverty or vulnerability.

The event, 'Universal Multidimensional Poverty Measurement for the Effective Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals', was held at the UN’s New York HQ on 25 September. It was co-hosted by the governments of Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Germany, and supported by the Government of Colombia and the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN), which brings together senior officials from nearly 40 governments and international and regional institutions.

Speakers included:

  • José Antonio Meade Kuribreña, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Government of Mexico
  • Pali Lehohla, Statistician General, Government of South Africa
  • Sabina Alkire, Director, OPHI, Oxford Department of International Development
  • Tatyana Orozco de la Cruz, Director, Department for Social Prosperity, Government of Colombia
  • Tan Weiping, Deputy Director-General, International Poverty Reduction Center in China
  • Cecilia Vaca Jones, Minister of Social Development, Ecuador
  • Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary General, Ibero-American Secretary General

To find out more and watch a recording of the event, visit the OPHI website.