Sunday, July 21, 2024

UNDP partners with the Statistical Institute of Belize and Ministry of Economic Development to enhance the country’s ability to assess and address poverty


Press Release – Belmopan City, Belize – February 19, 2024 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Economic Development signed an agreement to partner with the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) on the development and implementation of an annual Monetary Poverty Measure (MPM) and to assist in the continued development of the national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) statistics program. This support will serve to enhance the country’s capacity to assess and address poverty, including through its policymaking processes.

Eradicating poverty in all its forms everywhere (Sustainable Development Goal 1) is a vital goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. According to the United Nations, at the end of 2022, 8.4 percent of the world’s population (about 670 million people) were still living in extreme poverty.

Nationally, poverty reduction and eradication are the number one priority under the government’s #PlanBelize Medium-Term Development Strategy 2022-2026, highlighting the need for accurate, relevant, and updated poverty statistics to support evidence-based policy making. A significant step forward was achieved with the establishment of the MPI program, through which the SIB is now able to track poverty annually, as opposed to every ten years as was previously the case.

With poverty having many dimensions, including unemployment, social exclusion, disasters, diseases, and others, the MPI is a vital tool which allows countries to track deprivations that go beyond monetary hardship. The MPM serves as a complement to the MPI, measuring the prevalence of monetary deprivation and allowing for a more comprehensive assessment of poverty in Belize. Being able to use this powerful tool to diagnose the condition of poverty and identify changes over time can lead to innovative and articulated actions within and across the government and civil society organizations that will better address the specific needs of the country’s population.

The partnership will focus on six key areas:

1. Participation in the SIB’s annual Data Users Forum, which will allow stakeholders to discuss data needs and challenges related to the poverty measurement and analysis;
2. Capacity-building sessions among key ministries to effectively use the data for policy development and decision-making processes;
3. Developing a proposal for an expanded income module to be used in the April round of the SIB’s Labour Force Survey (LFS) ;
4. Developing a plan of estimation with pilot results to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the monetary poverty measurement methodologies;
5. Producing a final report describing the design of the MPM and an in-depth analysis of the results obtained and;
6. Analyzing the LFS and its contribution to measuring poverty.
Currently, 11 counties in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean have developed and implemented a national MPI for which UNDP has assisted in the implementation of eight of them including El Salvador, Panama, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Paraguay and now being added to the list, Belize. The deliverables are expected to be completed by July 2024.
UNDP continues to partner with the Government of Belize, by providing technical advice and support to end poverty in all its forms by 2030, and with the Statistical Institute of Belize to assist in the continued expansion and enhancement of its statistical programs.

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