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CDB unveils new programme to assess poverty in the Caribbean

CASTRIES, St Lucia -- Across the Caribbean, policymakers rely heavily on the availability of timely, accurate and reliable poverty data to support national and regional development initiatives.

Despite making considerable progress on how they measure poverty, many countries in the region do not frequently update or report on key poverty indicators, and are not able to assess the non-income dimensions of poverty and human development.

On Tuesday, in Saint Lucia, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) launched a programme designed to address these challenges, and improve the way its 19 borrowing member countries (BMCs) assess poverty and gain access to data from these assessments.

“The enhanced country poverty assessment programme launched today responds to the pressing need for high-quality data on poverty. Understanding the causes of poverty, who it affects and how it affects them is at the core of making informed, evidence-based policy decisions and helping Caribbean countries make meaningful, measurable progress in reducing and ending poverty,” said Deidre Clarendon, division chief, social sector division, CDB.

CDB is supporting the programme through a total investment of US$4.1 million. It will be conducted over a five-year period.

The programme will enhance the capacity of CDB’s BMCs to conduct multidimensional poverty assessments. Multidimensional poverty measurement considers how poor people experience poverty that goes beyond income considerations, and takes into account other deprivations -- of education, health, housing, empowerment, personal security, and more. Through the programme, some countries will either adopt multidimensional poverty measurement as stand-alone studies or integrate it into existing national surveys.

Specifically, the Bank’s BMCs in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) will receive support for the implementation of a sustainable household data programme (SDP), which the OECS Commission will oversee. This SDP will deliver harmonised poverty data for OECS countries, and help them conduct regular and timely monetary and multidimensional poverty assessments.

An OECS geographic information system platform will also be developed through the programme. It will enable countries to better analyse, map, monitor and report on different dimensions of social and economic well-being.

CDB will provide programme management support for all BMCs, including training for stakeholders delivered in collaboration with the OECS Commission, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund, International Labour Organisation and World Bank. The requisite data entry and processing equipment will be provided.

The new enhanced country poverty assessment programme will support: Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; The Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Haiti; Jamaica; Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia; Suriname; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; and Turks and Caicos Islands.

Courtesy: Caribbean News Now

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