The Multidimensional Poverty
An international peer network for policy makers engaged in implementing multidimensional poverty measures
Providing peer-to-peer technical and policy support, and mutual input into design and institutional arrangements
Poverty is often defined by one-dimensional measures, such as income. But no one indicator alone can capture the multiple aspects that constitute poverty.
A rapidly increasing number of policy makers around the world are working to establish multidimensional poverty measures, using the Alkire Foster methodology developed by OPHI and CONEVAL’s idea of a poverty measure based on a social rights approach. These measures enable them to:
- Allocate resources more effectively;
- Improve policy design;
- Identify interconnections among deprivations;
- Monitor the effectiveness of policies over time;
- Target poor people as beneficiaries of services or conditional cash transfers.
The Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network, which is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), provides international support to policy makers engaged in constructing multidimensional poverty measures, including input into the design of the measures, and the political processes and institutional arrangements that will sustain them.
The network enables early adopters of multidimensional poverty measures to share their experiences directly with policy makers in other countries who are exploring the possibility or who are in the process of implementing such measures (‘South-South’ learning). It also provides access to resources including technical support, executive training courses and an online store of knowledge and lessons learned.
The Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network has been created in response to the overwhelming demand for information on implementing multidimensional measures, and for technical and institutional support. OPHI manages and coordinates the network, along with founding members CONEVAL, Mexico’s National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy, and DNP, Colombia’s National Planning Department, both of which have experience of implementing multidimensional poverty measures.
As more and more countries join the network and share their experiences, the resources that can be accessed increase and the impact of multidimensional poverty measurement in the international arena grows. The aim of the network is that this will lead to policies that are better designed, accurately targeted and more effective in alleviating poverty in all its dimensions.
OPHI – advancing a framework for reducing multidimensional poverty The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) is an economic research centre at the University of Oxford which develops and implements multidimensional measures of poverty that are tailored to a specific context, in order to capture the complexity of poverty and better inform policies to relieve it.
Mexico – multidimensional measure supports cash transfer programme In 2009, Mexico’s National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL) adopted a multidimensional poverty measure co-developed with OPHI researchers. The innovative measure evaluates income levels alongside other dimensions of poverty, such as education, housing, health, social cohesion and access to food. The same methodology has been used for the targeting of conditional cash transfers under the Mexican government’s flagship anti-poverty programme Oportunidades.
Colombia – pioneering poverty reduction strategy based on an MPI In 2011, the Government of Colombia adopted a national MPI linked to a pioneering new poverty-reduction strategy. Each of the indicators in the national MPI reflects the goals and targets of Colombia’s national plan. Devised by Colombia’s Ministry of Planning, it is the first time the AF method has been used to monitor progress towards targets in a national plan. Underlying the targets is a new national Multidimensional Poverty Index for Colombia (the MPI-Colombia), which assesses social and health-related aspects of poverty in five dimensions. It is a powerful example of how this methodology can inform poverty reduction strategies and help to create a clear system of accountability. Colombia’s MPI complements an income poverty measure.