Climate change and resilience to be factored into Country Poverty Assessment

Ministry of Finance officials at Wednesday's launch of the Enhanced Country Poverty Assessment Project at the Radisson Beach Resort

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Government prepares to undertake 3rd Country Poverty Assessment
  • 16,089 households to be assessed
  • CPA to include education, health, housing, empowerment and personal security

The availability of current and reliable data on poverty indicators across the Caribbean remains a challenge. With the assistance of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), governments around the region are moving to implement the Enhanced Country Poverty Assessment Project which seeks to implement a multidimensional approach to poverty assessment.

Ten years after the 2nd Country Poverty Assessment, the Government of Grenada prepares to undertake its 3rd Country Poverty Assessment (CPA). The focus has shifted from gathering statistical data solely on income, by including accounts of other deprivations in areas of education, health, housing, empowerment and personal security.

CDB’s Social Analyst, Elbert Ellis says 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. “This integrated CDB model has proven useful in supporting members countries poverty measurement and analysis efforts, however, over time people’s socioeconomic realities have been influenced by the differential experience of poverty a vulnerability results from the economic downturn and hurricane impact have which has delayed progress in the region. It is therefore very clear that our understanding of the changing nature of poverty can be enriched by the use of more advanced  multi-dimensional approaches that complement traditional income methodologies through the launch of the Enhanced Country Poverty Assessment Project.”

Also included in the Enhanced Country Poverty Assessment is a toolkit that provides guidance on implementing all components of the CPA which are:

  • The Survey of Living Conditions and Household Budget Survey (SLC/HBS)
  • Macro Socio-Economic Assessment (MSEA)
  • The Participatory Assessment (PPA)
  • The Institutional Assessment (IA).

Ellis said a specific tool to assess natural hazard vulnerability and recommend resilience measures will be introduced for the first time. “The toolkit by design integrates disaster risk reduction climate change, climate variability and adaptation. The time is upon us to mainstream approaches of these vulnerabilities and strengthens the resilience of population to recover as quickly as possible after impact.”

The CDB is supporting the 5-year programme through a total investment of US$4.1 million. The bank anticipates that through the programme, countries will either adopt multidimensional poverty measurement as stand-alone studies or integrate it into existing national surveys.

The 19 Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) in the OECS will receive support for the implementation of a Sustainable Household Data Programme (SDP), which the OECS Commission will oversee. It is expected to 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.

Acting Head of Policy Unit on behalf of Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance Planning Economic Development and Physical Development, Shari Joseph has embraced this new perspective on poverty assessment and welcomes the commence of the project. “The challenge is answering the question how we can translate economic gains into tangible benefits for the poor among us. It is difficult to answer this question with the absence of sound data on poverty and inequality, the lack of resources to conduct regular poverty surveys have been a major challenge in developing appropriate strategies to end poverty, therefore, it is important that these surveys be conducted more frequently since the nature of poverty is continuously changing.”

The government has since established a national assessment team which is responsible for planning, coordinating and implementing the Enhanced Country Poverty Assessment. 16,089 households in Grenada were randomly selected to take part in this participatory assessment and are being asked to cooperate and give accurate information which in turn will assist the government in its policy-making decisions.

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