OPHI e-update August 2017

UN High Level Political Forum debates eradicating poverty
Panama and the Dominican Republic launch MPIs
Costa Rica launches the Business MPI -  the bMPI
Dimensions - Voices of Experience
OPHI's Summer School in Marrakesh
More news 

UN High Level Political Forum debates eradicating poverty in all its forms


In July, UN Member States spent two weeks debating how to “eradicate poverty and promote prosperity in a changing world” at the 2017 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) for Sustainable Development.

At an event focused on poverty in its many dimensions Colombia’s director of economic, social and environmental affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Claudia Vazquez said: “The MPI makes it possible for the country to pinpoint the most visible needs which need to be tackled, overcome and met indeed if we were to properly focus the work of programmes and plans which need to be implemented at the national and territorial level.”

UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake said: “Building the future envisioned in the Agenda 2030 requires tackling many interrelated and interlocking drivers of poverty as found throughout the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Poverty is disproportionately about children," Lake continued. "The work of partners like OPHI whose new reports shine a disturbing but necessary light on the multiple challenges that so many children face...”

OPHI director Sabina Alkire said: “Numbers can move the world. Governments who are committed and passionate have found multidimensional poverty indices to be more than statistics, to be tools for governance and accountability.”

Contributions from Argentina, China, Chile, EU, Mali, Sierra Leone and Sudan enlivened this session, which was expertly moderated by the High Commissioner of India to Canada and noted novelist Vikas Swarup.

In their National Voluntary Reports, many countries mentioned the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) or their national MPIs to track Indicator 1.2.2 of the SDGs. In addition, several requested that the global MPI be considered as a new comparable indicator in 2020 to monitor the reduction of multidimensional poverty alongside national MPis, which cannot be compared.

Panama launches its MPI

On 26 June, Panama’s government published the results of the country’s first Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), thereby reaffirming the Administration’s commitment to tackle poverty, eradicate extreme poverty (categorised by income) and reduce the levels of multidimensional poverty before the Sustainable Development Objectives deadline in 2030. With the aim of adding sustainability to the MPI, the President signed an Executive Decree making the MPI the official means of implementing multidimensional poverty measurement, as a complement to poverty measurement by income.

The Panamanian MPI consists of seventeen indicators spread over five dimensions: education; employment; environment, neighbourhood and sanitation; housing, basic services and internet access; and health. A household is considered to be in multidimensional poverty if it is deprived in five or more of the indicators

The Dominican Republic 

The Government of the Dominican Republic launched its MPI on June 27, 2017 in an official ceremony led by Vice President Margarita Cedeño Fernández and attended by a number of Government Ministers, international agencies including UNDP and Sabina Alkire of OPHI.

The Dominican Republic MPI has 5 dimensions and 24 indicators. Among them are the digital gap, discrimination and participation — all highly innovative.

UNDP representative Lorenzo Jiménez de Luis said, “the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 recognises that addressing … development as a multi-dimensional process is indispensable for sustainably overcoming …  poverty. That is why the generation of multidimensional poverty indices, such as the one that the Dominican Republic launches today, is becoming increasingly relevant for the design of comprehensive interventions that respond to the different spheres of human development.”

Costa Rica launches the business tool - the bMPI

Costa Rica is the first country in the world to use the MPI in the private sector. The Business MPI was developed by Horizonte Positivo, a private sector association, in partnership with OPHI. The bMPI uses the same indicators as the National Cost Rican MPI, adopted by the Costa Rican Government in 2015. It is designed to identify multidimensionally poor employees at all levels of the company and their families.

Information collected through the bMPI is then used by companies to find solutions to that poverty either through corporate means or through public-private partnerships.

'Dimensions' – Voices of Experience 

Our bimonthly magazine Dimensions documents how multidimensional poverty indices can be a tool for supporting action as it allows governments and other actors to monitor overlapping deprivations over time and to assign resources to those most in need. This is already happening in many countries. In the current issue we speak with Ana Helena Chacon, Vice President of Costa Rica, about collaborating with the private sector in efforts to eradicate poverty.

Michelle Muscett, Vice Minister of Social Development of Panama, inaugurates a new column offering first-hand accounts of how multidimensional measures are implemented.

Dimensions also reports on a workshop for the media on MPI, and complements our data section with stories of people living in poverty in order to learn about the lives of those most in need.


OPHI's Summer School in Marrakesh 

OPHI ran its Summer School from 3-15 July 2017 in Marrakesh, Morocco, with a record number of participants – 80 from 36 countries. The school was co-organised by the Moroccan High Commission of Planning (HCP). The opening address by Minister Ahmed Lahlimi Alami was followed by a lecture given by Khalid Soudi, HCP's Director of the Observatory of Population Living Conditions. The intensive sessions provided a thorough technical and practical introduction to multidimensional poverty measurement with a strong emphasis in the Alkire-Foster method. 


Alkire, S., Jindra, C., Robles-Aguilar, G, and Vaz, A. (2017) ‘Multidimensional poverty reduction among countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.' OPHI Working Paper 112, University of Oxford 
Moreno, C. (2017).. ‘Defining MPI dimensions through participation: the case of El Salvador’. OPHI Briefing 49,  University of Oxford
Suppa, N. (2017). 'Towards a multidimensional poverty index for Germany.' Empirica, University of Oxford
Suppa, N. (2017). ‘Measuring deprivation in social participation’. OPHI Research in Progress 49a, University of Oxford


The High Level Side-event of the UN General Assembly in the United Nations, New York will take place on 19 September 2017 11am-1pm in Conference Room 2.

The annual High Level Meeting of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) will take place at the International Conference Centre of Beijing between 11-13 October 2017.


Postdoctoral Research Officers Gisela Robles-AguilarChristoph Jindra and Bouba Housseini have moved to new positions. They were deeply appreciated on the OPHI team, with Gisela superbly at the helm of the global MPI computations and analysis for three years running; Christoph working extensively on the child decompositions and changes over time; and Bouba supporting OPHI's entrance to working on African MPIs. We send them warmest wishes in their new positions. 

Natalie Quinn has joined OPHI as a Senior Research Officer in September 2017.

Corinne Mitchell will join as Policy and Research Manager in October 2017.

View older versions of the OPHI e-update here.

Copyright © 2017 Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list