Issue Brief | UNDP and the concept and measurement of poverty
Oct 4, 2016
UNDP has used and supported countries with monitoring and reporting on poverty measures, and was also a pioneer in broadening perspectives on the concept and measurement of poverty. For example, with the first Human Development Report (HDR) in 1990, UNDP proposed to measure development progress by countries with the Human Development Index (HDI). The HDI was premised on the fundamental tenets of human development, the idea that wellbeing is multidimensional and encompasses multiple aspects of human life, including how people interact with each other and with our physical environment. The HDI as such incorporates information on the level of income per person of a country, as well as indicators measuring achievements in health and education. There is no automatic link between income and the HDI. This clearly shows that advancing development includes, but goes beyond, increasing levels of income in countries.
A multidimensional understanding of poverty has always been relevant – but it is now essential for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Only by understanding that resilience and wellbeing go beyond increasing the level of income will it be possible to meet the interlinked and indivisible Sustainable Development Goals.
UNDP stands ready to support governments and other stakeholders with analysis, advocacy, and programmes to ensure that the concept and measurement of poverty are fit-for-purpose in the context of the 2030 Agenda.