SDGs and MPI

What is the importance of SDG Target 1.2 for reducing multidimensional poverty?


Why are multidimensional poverty measures included in the Sustainable Development Goals?

Poverty is multidimensional. People living in poverty can experience many different forms of deprivation at the same time – such as poor health, a lack of education, job insecurity or low living standards. These overlapping deprivations are not always a consequence of a lack of money. Whilst there is overlap between those living in monetary poverty and those living in multidimensional poverty, the two groups are not exactly aligned.

It is therefore now widely accepted that poverty-reduction policies should take into account this multidimensional perspective and make use of accurate multidimensional poverty measurement.

That is why the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) explicitly include a target on reducing multidimensional poverty. The SDG Target 1.2 is ‘by 2030 (to) reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions, according to national definitions’. The indicator by which this will be measured is Indicator 1.2.2.

This means, unambiguously, that by 2030 all countries should be measuring poverty in a multidimensional way and reporting on Indicator 1.2.2.

The inclusion of Indicator 1.2.2. in the SDGs places an important focus on multidimensional poverty in a national context in order to drive down poverty. In addition, by sharing progress through Indicator 1.2.2., countries can empower each other to reduce poverty sustainably. Having information and regular updates on all national multidimensional poverty measurements will allow for a comparative analysis of poverty measurement: how are countries approaching multidimensional poverty measurement; what are the differences in their methodologies; what are the similarities. Governments and the development community will have much to learn from this analysis.

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How does the MPI support the SDG agenda?

The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is a measure that helps to monitor progress towards SDG 1. The MPI illuminates for policymakers who is poor, how they are poor. It is based on OPHI’s Alkire-Foster method for multidimensional measurement.

An MPI enables countries to support the SDG agenda because it helps countries:

  • Leave No One Behind:  MPI analysis allows policymakers to see poverty levels within different groups of a population, for example enabling them to monitor poverty in different sub-national regions, across rural and urban areas, and within groups such as children, ethnic groups and caste.
  • Monitor Progress:The MPI can be used to track and compare multidimensional poverty over time. National MPIs can compare regions and groups within a country; a regional or global MPI can also compare countries.
  • Identify interlinkages in policy: The MPI can be used by policymakers to coordinate policy across government and to understand and track the impact of their policies on the poor, helping to break down silos and intensify policy impact.
  • Localize action: National and regional MPIs are all carefully tailored to their local contexts, definitions of poverty and policy priorities.

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How are countries using the MPI?

 The MPI has been used by many countries to energise policies to fight poverty in many dimensions because it:

  • Measures acute or moderate poverty in multiple dimensions according to the thresholds defined by the country
  • Provides a clear, informative poverty headline
  • Tracks changes in poverty
  • Tracks changes in each of its dimensions separately, but also in relation to each other
  • Enables policy coordination across sectors
  • Can be disaggregated by groups and indicators to show success in leaving no one behind
  • Compares non-monetary deprivations directly, independent of prices, inflation, or currency

Across the world— from Mexico to Pakistan, Senegal to Bhutan, Costa Rica to the Philippines — countries are using the MPI in creative and innovative ways as a powerful tool to energise interventions that stop poverty.

Examples of ways in which countries have used the MPI include:

  • Colombia’s former President Santos championed a policy round-tablewith key ministers so that joined-up coordi­nated policies could meet ambitious poverty-reduction targets.
  • Costa Rica’s former President Solis and Vice President Chacón used the MPI to weed out duplication, tighten budget allocation, and spend more where help was most needed.

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What can countries report for SDG indicator 1.2.2. in VNRs?

Many countries are reporting their multidimensional poverty figures for SDG indicator 1.2.2 in their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) at the High-Level Political Forum in the United Nations. Countries are also encouraged to report their progress towards Indicator 1.2.2, halving the ‘proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions’, in the Global SDG Indicators Database. Countries can contact Kazusa Kyoshimura or to include their MPI results in the forthcoming updates of the database, which take place in March, June/July, September and December.

These countries include Bangladesh, Belize, Bhutan, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico, Nepal, Panama, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, and Viet Nam.

The following are suggestions of what countries can report: Incidence – (also called the poverty rate, or the headcount ratio of multidimensional poverty) is the number of poor people divided by the total number of people in the population, intensity, child poverty, among others.

Countries can use either results from their own national MPIs, which are specifically tailored to national definitions of poverty, or their results from the global Multidimensional Poverty Index. The global MPI, which is computed by OPHI and UNDP, is an internationally comparable measure of acute multidimensional poverty for over 100 low- and middle-income countries. It captures the different types of disadvantage that each poor person experiences at the same time in 10 indicators across three dimensions – education, health and living standards.

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How can OPHI help countries measure progress towards SDG-1?

The Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN), coordinated by OPHI, is a South-South initiative created in response to the overwhelming demand from policymakers for information and support on implementing multidimensional poverty measures nationally as well as globally.

OPHI and the MPPN provide technical and policy support to countries through the whole process of introducing and using multidimensional measures.

They have created Post-2015 Light Powerful Survey Modules designed to capture data needed to measure human poverty more accurately. It touches on 30 targets in 12 of the SDGs. The modules help provide better information on indicators such as water, sanitation, assets, electricity, housing, child mortality, and school attendance. They also help provide the necessary data for more innovative indicators like violence, empowerment or informal work.

For more information please contact us.

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