City mulls new way to measure poverty - City mulls new way to measure poverty - Website Ho Chi Minh City
HCM City, a pioneer in raising the poverty threshold above the national level, plans to adopt the Multi-dimensional Poverty method with support from the United Nations Development Programme.
At a seminar titled Multidimensional Poverty Measurement held in HCM City on December 16, officials said the city has adjusted the poverty line seven times, raising it much higher than the national level.
In 2014-15 it was set at an annual income level of VND16 million, while the "near-poverty" line was between VND16 million and VND21 million.
At these levels, the city has a poverty rate of 2.43 percent and a near-poverty rate of less than 3 percent, meaning it achieved the poverty reduction target a year ahead of schedule.
Hua Ngoc Thuan, deputy Chairman of the city People's Committee and head of the city's Steering Committee for Poverty Reduction and Improved Household Livelihoods, noted the importance of poverty alleviation but warned about the risk of people sliding back into poverty.
According to the committee, a one-dimensional poverty approach based on income is insufficient because it is not able to measure several elements in people's daily lives.
Adoption of the UNDP's multi-dimensional approach can measure the delivery of public services, he said.
According to the UN body, the character of urban poverty is different, being less defined by livelihoods and more by deficiencies in key capabilities and capacities, all linked to access to public services.
A 2012 survey found that the city had no poor people if based on the national standard, but the ratio of households facing a shortage of public services such as healthcare, education, and clean water was high. But since most of these families were not technically poor, they were not eligible for free or subsidised public services.
With the UNDP's support, the city has piloted the multi-dimensional approach in four districts for monitoring, evaluation, and policy formulation before adopting it city-wide between 2016 and 2020.
"Multi-dimensional poverty approaches have achieved global traction by providing a robust alternative to – and complementing – income-based measures," UNDP deputy country director Bakhodir Burkhanov told the seminar.
"They are particularly applicable in middle-income countries like Viet Nam and in such urban context as HCM City where poverty is more complex and defined by a number of interlocking deprivations," he was quoted as saying on the UNDP website.
There are enormous opportunities for the city's work to further inform the national process, and to provide a template for replication elsewhere in Viet Nam."
The seminar was organised by the HCM City Steering Committee for Poverty Reduction and Improved Household Livelihoods and the UNDP in collaboration with the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative.
Viet Nam is among 32 countries in the world to pioneer the research and application of multi-dimensional poverty measures.
This helps the country better understand the root causes of poverty and design better-targeted policies and programmes.