NEW YORK CITY – To effectively eradicate poverty in all its forms, The Philippine government urges the global community to look more at poverty from a multidimensional lens.

Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan made this statement during the High-level Event on Anchoring a Universal Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) within the Sustainable Development Goals, a side event of the 70th UN General Assembly held on September 27, 2015 at the UN Headquarters in New York, USA.

Citing the Philippine experience, the Cabinet official said that poverty in the country is seen as a multidimensional concept. It is the deprivation not only in income but also, simultaneously, access to health, education, clean water, sanitation, and secure housing, among others. With this, he called for the global use of multidimensional poverty measures for countries to see more clearly how economic growth affects poverty in different areas.

“The Philippine economy was growing at 6.2 percent on the average in the last five years but we saw that the growth was weakly correlated with income-based poverty measures. When we developed a multidimensional poverty index (MPI) for the Philippines, based on the Alkire-Foster methodology, we saw that there was a very strong response of multidimensional poverty on growth. This led us to believe that it is high time to shift or to complement income poverty measures by adopting the MPI framework,” Balisacan said.

“The challenges for us moving forward are to expand our household surveys to cover disaggregation by locality and to cover the basic sectors of our society. We have to make sure that this measure is comparable not only across locality and over time but also as much as possible internationally. We need to find a way to linking these with the SDGs,” he added.

To date, Colombia, Chile, and Bhutan, as well as Minas Gerais in Brazil and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam have adopted official multidimensional poverty measures. The Philippines joins about eight (8) other countries in developing their own MPIs.

Currently, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is working on the methodology that will serve as the official basis of the country’s MPI.

The high-level event was organized by the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica, the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network, and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.