Islamabad - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has congratulated Federal and Provincial Governments for initiating development of the Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) for Pakistan.

According to UNDP, this marks the beginning of the process of regularly calculating a new poverty index in Pakistan based on the global MPI methodology.

This index was inspired by the global MPI, developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and released by UNDP in the Human Development Reports 2010, 2011, and 2013. This index is a novel measure for policy analysis, resource allocation, dialogue and monitoring. MPI approaches poverty as a multifaceted issue, enabling policymakers to allocate resources more effectively, improve policy design, monitor policy efficiency over time, and target poor people as beneficiaries of services and social safety nets.

Mapping multidimensional poverty at the provincial and district level will be undertaken and sub national calculations will be envisaged in the future. Different sectors will be integrated in determining the final index with weights including health, education, and income. The national multidimensional poverty line will serve as the baseline for comparison to determine the number of people below the multidimensional poverty line and those above it. For ease of comparison, different districts will be ranked and mapped on the severity/range of multidimensional poverty.

Today, at the Planning Commission, Dr Sabina Alkire, Director of OPHI at the University of Oxford talked about the concept, measurement, and objectives of the Multidimensional Poverty Measurement and shared the results of the training session.

Professor Ahsan Iqbal, Minister, Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform said, “The traditional one-dimensional indices cannot reflect the true poverty levels in Pakistan. The MPI is more comprehensive, integrated and holistic as it covers education, health and living standards. This partnership between the Government, UNDP and University of Oxford will help us understand, and better address issues related to poverty in Pakistan.”  Marc-André Franche, Country Director UNDP in Pakistan said, “The MPI is crucial for policymaking and improving the targeting of social policy. It is vital to develop a robust revenue formula, improve policy design and monitor effectiveness of policy over time. Each country needs to choose dimensions that are most important for measuring poverty. In Pakistan, this is the first step for measuring the multidimensional poverty both at the federal and provincial levels and UNDP is extremely pleased to be part of this process.”  A letter of agreement was signed by the Ministry of Planning, Development & Reform, Government of Pakistan, UNDP and OPHI.

The agreement brings participants together to collaborate in the following three areas:

To promote multidimensional poverty measurements and policy applications via knowledge exchange between participants; knowledge sharing; and joint advocacy.

To have an effective and informed role in the post-2015 discussions about multidimensional poverty measurements, and to promote the multidimensional measurement of development goals in the post-2015 context;

To promote joint research and develop measurement tools, policy design and analysis and to assist with the dissemination and technical validation of efforts to implement multidimensional poverty alleviation measures.