Belmopan. June 3, 2019. The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation, and Poverty Alleviation are this week hosting its fourth event in the 2018-2019 Social Protection Conferences Series. The five-day conference is being held under the theme “Poverty: Dollars to Dimensions” and takes place in Belize City (June 3-4) and Belmopan (June 5-7).
This latest conference aims to increase national understanding of poverty as an experience of multiple hardships that poor people face in their daily lives. It will also introduce the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) and will seek to reach a national consensus on the purpose and structure of a national MPI for Belize, taking into consideration the dimensions and indicators that are best to characterize poverty in our local context.
The proposed shift from the current poverty measure—which focuses mainly on a lack of income—to the Multidimensional Poverty Index is in recognition of the fact that several factors contribute to poverty and this complex phenomenon cannot only be studied based on what a person earns or expends at a given time. The MPI can provide countries with a more comprehensive understanding of who is poor as well as how they are poor. With this improved understanding, policymakers will be able to provide more targeted interventions to address the root causes and drivers of poverty and ultimately to reduce it.
In delivering his keynote address, Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Dr. Angel Campos noted that the conference is not just an academic exercise.
The Minister said, “We are not just concerned with multidimensional poverty because it is a global trend, we are concerned with measuring poverty in the right way because my government and ministry want to ensure that our policies and programs are tailored to take into account the complexity of poverty. It is only then that we will be truly be responding to what drives poverty.”
The “Poverty: Dollars to Dimensions” features participation from UNICEF, the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), the Statistical Institute of Belize, the Ministry of Economic Development, and the National Assessment Team for the Country Poverty Assessment. The first two days of the workshop is geared at Heads of Departments, members of the National Assessment Team, and other senior and mid-level public officers; while the next three days target statisticians, researchers and data managers.