Reducing Poverty at Scale Possible; Study.

Reducing Poverty at Scale Possible; Study

With the lives of poor people becoming complex because of COVID-19 pandemic and Ukraine war,  poverty can be overcome with on-the-ground strategies enabling millions of people around the world to move out of ‘multidimensional poverty’, a new study said.

In the new Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) released on October 17, 2022, finds that reducing poverty at scale is possible. As part of the programme, it also unveiled new ‘poverty profiles’ that can offer a breakthrough in development efforts to tackle the interlinked aspects of poverty.

The analysis by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative(OPHI) at the University of Oxford shows 1.2 billion people in 111 developing countries are living in many layers of poverty but, by showing granular information about specific poverty markers, the data could enable policymakers to unbundle the layers of deprivation and alleviate poverty.

identified a series of ‘deprivation bundles’ — recurring patterns of poverty — that commonly impact those who live in multidimensional poverty across the world. The data are used to identify the different poverty profiles that are more common in certain places. This is a crucial step in designing strategies that address multiple aspects of poverty at the same time.

In the analysis, the authors said, “even before the COVID-19pandemic and the current cost-of-living crisis are accounted for, the data shows that 1.2 billion people in 111 developing countries are living in acute multidimensional poverty. This is nearly double the number who are seen as poor when poverty is defined as living on less than $1.90 per day.”

POVERTY; RECESSION

”With recession clouds on the horizon and debt gripping some 54 developing countries, we are seeing how tight government budgets are becoming even tighter — it is vital to leverage the power of cutting-edge data and analytic to understand where the biggest difference can be made with increasingly scarce resources,” argues Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. “For example, this multidimensional analysis shows us that de-carbonization and expanding access to clean energies will advance climate action -and is also critical for nearly 600 million multidimensionally poor people who still lack access to electricity and clean cooking fuel.”

Before the pandemic hit, 72 countries had significantly reduced poverty.  Yet the report anticipates that some of the efforts to end poverty in line with Sustainable Development Goals are likely to have been derailed as a result of recent overlapping crises.

Identifying poverty profiles relies on a solid evidence base of data on poverty in all its dimensions and the report stresses the need to resume efforts to regularly update poverty data, especially in the poorest countries and in the places where the poorest people live.  

“The MPI is a vital complement to monetary measures of poverty because it illuminates deprivation bundles directly” says Sabina Alkire, Director of OPHI at the University of Oxford. “Our hope is that this year’s data on deprivation bundles will enable responses to surge ahead with extra determination and laser precision to reduce acute poverty in these turbulent times.”

POVERTY; KEY FINDINGS

• Across 111 countries, 1.2 billion people—19.1percent—live in acute multidimensional poverty. Half of these people (593 million) are children under age 18.

• The developing region where the largest number of poor people live is Sub-Saharan Africa (nearly 579 million), followed by South Asia (385 million).

• Simulations in 2020 suggested that the COVID- 19 pandemic had set progress in reducing Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) values back by 3–10 years.

• In India 415 million people exited poverty between 2005/06 and 2019/21, demonstrating that the Sustainable Development Goal target 1.2 of reducing 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 by 2030 is possible to achieve.

• Of the 81 countries with trend data, covering roughly 5 billion people, 72 experienced a statistically significant reduction in absolute terms in MPI value during at least one of the periods analysed.

• Addressing poverty requires better data. The infrequency of household surveys makes it difficult to assess the true impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on poverty. The data revolution must not leave the collection of poverty data behind.

• Identifying the overlaps between poverty indicators—that is, when deprivations affect the same person or household simultaneously— can make the MPI a more precise policy tool.

• Almost half of poor people (470.1 million) are deprived in both nutrition and sanitation, potentially making them more vulnerable to infectious diseases. In addition, over half of poor people (593.3 million) are simultaneously deprived in both cooking fuel and electricity.

• The magnitude of existing deprivation bundles reveals the fragility of poverty in the current context. The existing structure of deprivations is likely to amplify the shocks of rising food prices (affecting nutrition and living standards) and rising energy prices (affecting access to clean cooking fuel) and to limit the effectiveness of development strategies centred on closing digital gaps (impossible without affordable electricity).

• Deprivation profiles vary by developing region. A poor person in South Asia is more likely to be deprived in nutrition, cooking fuel, sanitation and housing, while a poor person in Sub-Saharan Africa is more likely to have those deprivations and to be deprived in drinking water and electricity as well.

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