Ministers from Latin America and the Caribbean commit to reduce poverty beyond income measurementsOct 31, 2014
Mexico City - After two days sharing poverty eradication experiences, more than 30 ministers and other experts from Latin America and the Caribbean closed today the 7th Ministerial Forum for Development committed to improve income distribution tools and strengthen their institutions to ensure better social outcomes.
Ministers, two Vice Presidents and experts stressed the need to find new ways to measure wellbeing and progress, beyond the traditional income-based poverty measures. This entails focusing not only on ensuring basic coverage, but on the quality of essential social services like education and health.
"The region must move towards sustainable development, in order to converge the economic and social progress and, at the same time, protect the environment," said Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Jessica Faieta.
"Thus, the multidimensional poverty measurement is particularly important to provide new indicators and targets for an integral concept of development of human development and people’s access to their own rights."
There was consensus among Latin American and Caribbean official that it is essential to go beyond the cash transfer programmes, which, in spite of their important role in curbing poverty, cannot be the region’s only social policy pillar.
The intersection between social protection coverage and expanded employment poses a new frontier for social and economic inclusion, according to the discussions that took place in Mexico City. The region has some good examples, including Argentina, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Mexico and Nicaragua, which have shown innovative approaches to deal with a common challenge: how to generate massive incentives for formal labor insertion.
"Thinking of poverty reduction in its many dimensions is moving towards a vision of citizenship and human development that is the real strength and wealth of our countries," said Mexico’s Secretary of Social Development Rosario Robles.
Vice President of Uruguay Danilo Astori added that “a country’s economic policy has to be tailored in view of its social policy. The big risk is to think we cannot leave the middle-income trap and put ourselves on autopilot.”
All participating countries shared their experiences in working with multidimensional poverty measurements.
Colombia, for example, created a strategy among various institutions for decision-making, and noticed that the same measurement would have to be different for rural and urban areas.
Deputy Minister Coordinator of Social Development Etzon Romo of Ecuador stated that the concept of multidimensional poverty has led to a transformation in the country’s vision of social policy, capturing gains from different development dimensions to generate comprehensive policies.
Host from SEDESOL, Mexico, showed that measuring poverty by geographical zones has enabled assigning responsibilities to the different levels of government (states, municipalities) in terms of poverty reduction.
New stage- After signing an agreement today, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has become a new partner for the next Ministerial Forum, in addition to the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID).
"UNDP and ECLAC are natural partners in the region, and the new alliance will result in a strengthened Forum: with more monitoring and policy and instrument formulation tailored to the needs of the region and its countries," said ECLAC’s Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena.
Faieta and Bárcena also announced that the next meeting of the Ministerial Forum for Development, in 2015, will be held in Lima, Peru.Contact
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