UNDP Nepal launches new initiative to foster development debate; first debate focuses on challenges in measuring poverty

Mar 18, 2013

imageUNDP Nepal launches new initiative to foster development debate; first debate focuses on challenges in measuring poverty

Kathmandu, 18 March, 2013: As a part of its new initiative to foster debate and on development issues and challenges, UNDP Nepal organized its first Dialogue Series on Friday. The first debate looked into challenges of measuring poverty focusing on Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). Dr.  Sabina Alkire, Director, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, Oxford University, and a key architect of the MPI presented latest MPI findings on Nepal.

The MPI, introduced in 2010 by The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, provides a broad portrait of people living in poverty based on an assessment of many different factors, from basic household goods and daily living expenses to education, health care, and employment. MPI has been calculated for many countries including Nepal. The latest findings of 2013 put Nepal’s poverty rate at 44.2 percent, down 23 percent from 2010 findings.

“If Nepal continues at this rate, it will reduce poverty in less than 20 years,” Dr. Alkire said presenting latest findings on Nepal to an audience of economists, planners, civil society, media government officials and development partners.

Nepal has leapfrogged India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, moving from the poorest to the fourth-poorest country in South Asia. All but 3 of Nepal’s regions have significant reductions in MPI, Dr. Alkire said. Poverty rate is lowest in the Western region overall, and highest in Mid-western and Far-Western, according to the latest MPI analysis.

She urged Nepali policy makers to adapt a national MPI to enable better targeting of national poverty reduction measures.

Dr. Yubaraj Khatiwada, Governor, Nepal Rastra Bank, said that MPI could be adapted nationally and urged the MPI team to develop a set of absolute and optional indicators that countries could adapt to.

Dr. Uttam Narayan Malla, Director General of Central Bureau of Statistics said that poverty reduction rate shown by MPI is consistent with other national measures.

There was lively discussion on the relevance of different poverty measurements. Some in the audience called for a unified index to avoid confusion and duplication.

UNDP Country Director Ms. Shoko Noda thanked Dr. Alkire for her presentation and said that debates like these contribute to better policy making.