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December 19, 2019

Dr Sabina Alkire praises ‘Ehsaas’ approach to poverty eradication


December 19, 2019

Islamabad :Professor at the Oxford University Dr. Sabina Alkire, who visited Pakistan from December 12 to 15 on a special invitation by the PM’s Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar and UNDP, has praised Ehsaas for its coherent problem-focused approach to poverty, using multiple tools.

Dr. Alkire, who is the Director of Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), is a global expert in poverty measurement and has developed the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). She was in Pakistan to assist with poverty estimations for Ehsaas.

During her visit, Dr. Alkire met with President Arif Alvi and had several meetings with Dr. Sania. She also made a presentation at a roundtable on international experiences in the use of the MPI for policy. Pakistan will release its MPI in mid-2020.

Speaking to audience of the roundtable, Dr. Alkire quoted from the book ‘Measuring Poverty Around the World’ by the late Sir Tony Atkinson; the book was published posthumously this year. She quoted “Poverty statistics matter because they motivate people to tackle a key challenge. The link to action – attacking poverty and reducing inequality—is all important,” she further added, “This is what makes Ehsaas a powerful poverty eradication umbrella initiative, with its multicomponent strategy.”

OPHI unction’s as the Secretariat of a South-South network of policy makers who share lessons as they design and use MPIs to accelerate poverty alleviation. Pakistan has been a leading voice in this Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) for many years, with PBS sharing their insights in statistical exchanges and Planning Commission in policy dialogues.

“This year, Dr. Sania Nishtar’s presentation of the Ehsaas Strategy at the MPPN’s UN General Assembly event fomented keen interest. The reason? It had a coherent problem-focused approach to poverty, using multiple tools across different sectors and provinces: legal, financial, judicial, statistical, institutional. Coordination and management are the heart of the Ehsaas approach so diverse actors together could take out the thorns perpetuating poverty,” said Dr. Alkire.

Pakistan’s MPI is reported as SDG Indicator 1.2.2 and it complements the income measure. “As part of measurements within the framework of Ehsaas, Pakistan will measure poverty using both the monetary poverty measure that uses the Cost of Basic Needs (CBN) method as well as the MPI, which measures non-monetary deprivations including education, health and living standards. We will be using Pakistan’s MPI as a tool for policy and resource allocations,” said Dr. Sania.

Dr. Alkire was also a speaker at the UNDP-Ehsaas launch of the 2019 Human Development Report on 12 December where she stated “One very real face of inequality is poverty. And when lives are bettered—by improving ramshackle schools and dilapidated homes, by creating security in food and energy supply or childbirth or physical safety or jobs, by fixing dangerous water or hazardous work, and so on—the most egregious aspects of inequality decrease. The MPI track steps to success.”

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