ISLAMABAD: The Planning Commission launched on Thursday a multi-dimensional poverty index (MPI) for the first time in Pakistan based on global MPI methodology for calculating poverty on a regular basis.

The index was launched following a 10-day training course on MPI which ended on Thursday at the Pakistan Planning and Management Institute.

The index was developed by the Oxford Poverty and the Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and is being released by the UNDP in Human Development Reports annually since 2010.

Mapping multidimensional poverty at the provincial and district level will be undertaken and sub-national calculations will be envisaged in the future.

Different sectors will be integrated in determining the final index with weights, including health, education and income.

The national multidimensional poverty line will serve as baseline for comparison to determine the number of people below the multidimensional poverty line and those above it.

Different districts will be ranked and mapped on the severity and range of multidimensional poverty.

A comprehensive national report on status of multi-dimensional poverty at the district and provincial level is also being prepared using the PSLM survey data for the last four to five years.

The multi-dimensional poverty measures will enable policy makers to develop robust revenue sharing formulas for the National Finance Commission and provincial NFC awards for allocation of resources to provinces and districts.

It will also enable in improving policy design, identify inter-connections among deprivations, monitor the effectiveness of policies over time, and target poor people and regions as beneficiaries of services or conditional cash transfers.

Dr Sabina Alkire, OPHI Director at the University of Oxford explained the concept, measurement, and objectives of the Multidimensional Poverty Measurement and shared the results of the training programme.

Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal said that traditional one-dimensional indices cannot reflect true poverty levels in Pakistan; therefore MPI is more comprehensive, integrated and holistic as it covers education, health and living standards.

An agreement was signed between the Planning Commission, UNDP and OPHI for promoting multidimensional poverty measurements and policy applications via knowledge exchange between participants knowledge sharing and joint advocacy; and having an effective and informed role in the post-2015 discussions about multidimensional poverty measurements, and to promote multidimensional measurement of development goals in the post-2015 context.

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