Globally, 1.3 billion people are multidimensionally poor, according to the 2018 Multidimensional Poverty Index. Photo: UNDP Guatemala

New York, 25 September 2018 – Two presidents, two vice-presidents and several ministers from Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Arab States gathered during the UN General Assembly today to share experiences using the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) in partnership with Oxford University and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

“Ending poverty in all its forms is a moral imperative. It means we need to be able to measure it beyond traditional income measurements,” said President Juan Carlos Varela of Panama, stressing that of his country’s multidimensionally poor, two in every five are children.

President Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras highlighted how his country is using the MPI to target those most at-need, particularly in rural areas. He also stressed that the goal of ending poverty in all its forms must also be a global effort. He reminded the audience that when they pay US$3.5 for a cup of coffee in New York, farmers in Honduras and beyond earn only five cents, which pushes them into poverty, while also opening space for cultivation of illegal crops. He called for fair trade as a crucial means to leave no one behind.

“Globally, 1.3 billion people are multidimensionally poor. Half of them are children,” stressed UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Luis Felipe López-Calva representing Administrator Achim Steiner, highlighting results from the 2018 Mutidimensional  Poverty Index launched on 21 September.

“It is remarkable that after adopting the MPI at the national level, Panama recently became the first country in our region to focus on the situation of children,” Calva added, also stressing steps taken by Colombia and Mexico, among other countries in the region that use the MPI to better tailor public polices that promote social and economic inclusion.

Vice-President Epsy Cambpell of Costa-Rica, the first Afro-descendant to hold such position in Latin America, added that exclusion can only be addressed when policies address more than the total income earned in a household.

Egypt’s Minister of Social Solidarity Gada Waly stressed her country’s emphasis on quality education as a key means to leave no one behind, using the Multidimensional Poverty Index to map and tailor policies to reach the most vulnerable people, especially youth, in partnership with UNDP and sister UN agencies.

Watch the event here

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