The Policy and Advocacy Use of Multidimensional Poverty Measures

This seminar is organised jointly with the Institute for International Economic Policy at George Washington University and the UNDP Human Development Report Office. This seminar will be held online:

Multidimensional poverty measures are being used increasingly widely, and indeed included in the Sustainable Development Goals which require countries to reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions by 2030. Despite this increased prominence and adoption of multidimensional poverty measures both at the global and national level – including by UNICEF country offices, there have been few if any comprehensive assessments on the policy and programme use of multidimensional poverty measures.

The talk, and the paper behind it, aims to address this knowledge gap to understand how in practice multidimensional poverty measures – with a focus on child poverty – have been used to guide policy makers and practitioners towards poverty reduction. Accordingly, rather than focus on possible or conceptual pathways of impact, the work intends to review real world examples of how measures have been used to better understand their potential and their limits.

David Stewart is Chief of Child Poverty and Social Protection at UNICEF Headquarters in NY. He is an economist with 20 years of experience at international and country level, including policy and programmes. David has worked on Human Development Report between 1999 and 2005, and joined UNICEF in 2005, where he worked on State of World Children Reports, policy advocacy, child poverty, social protection and public finance. In his role as Chief of Child Poverty and Social Protection, he leads UNICEF’s global advocacy on child poverty and social protection, including chairing the Global Coalition to End Child Poverty. David also oversees the development of UNICEF’s guidance and frameworks to address child poverty and strengthen social protection, and works on enhancing policy uses of child poverty measurement (both monetary and multidimensional) for social protection and beyond. He is currently leading UNICEF’s Universal Child Grants initiative, exploring the practical approaches and challenges to implementing UCGs.

Sola Engilbertsdottir is a Social Policy Specialist at UNICEF Headquarters in NY and has 14 years of social policy and research experience with UNICEF, with a specific focus on child poverty. She has broad experience working in the East Africa region, in Kenya she supported a decentralized social budgeting initiative and the development of the Kenyan social protection strategy. With UNICEF Rwanda she managed the first ever Rwandan multidimensional child poverty analysis and the evaluations of a child sensitive social protection pilot and an integrated ECD programme. Between 2008 and 2012 Sola provided research and policy advocacy support to over 50 countries participating in a Global Study on Child Poverty and Disparities. She currently supervises UNICEF’s child poverty efforts, including support to UNICEF country offices in measuring child poverty and translating child poverty evidence into policy action. Prior to joining UNICEF Sola was a social worker in her native country, Iceland. She holds a degree in Anthropology, as well as a degree in Social Work from the University of Iceland and an MPA from Columbia University.

About the Series: The Institute for International Economic Policy (IIEP) at George Washington University and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), with the support of the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report Office (UNDP HDRO), are pleased to announce new events in our special seminar series on the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (global MPI). Goal 1 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to end poverty in all its forms and dimensions. The global MPI 2020 offers a tool to make progress towards this goal.

Produced in partnership with the UNDP HDRO, the global MPI 2020 compares acute multidimensional poverty for 107 countries in developing regions and provides a detailed image of who is poor and how they are poor. It offers both a global headline and a fine-grained analysis covering 1,279 sub-national regions, and important disaggregation such as children, and people living in urban or rural areas, together with the indicator deprivations of each group. Bringing together the academic and policy spheres, this series of seminars will highlight topics such as sensitivity analyses, overlapping deprivations, changes over time (poverty trends), and inequality using the global data. The sessions will also include work that applies the global MPI methodology, the Alkire-Foster method, to innovative measures.