As part of ongoing efforts by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) to support member States in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, ESCWA Executive Secretary Mohamed Ali Alhakim recently highlighted how the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) can guide innovative policies aimed at eradicating poverty in all its dimensions in the Arab region.
On the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Mr. Alhakim addressed senior leaders and experts, highlighting the many challenges that impact the Arab region and lead to an increase in poverty, vulnerability, and humanitarian needs in many countries, such as political instability, conflict and occupation, and the resulting influx of refugees and internal displaced persons.
“This context calls for adopting innovative policy frameworks and tools that integrate social, economic and environmental policies, engage citizens, and bridge the gap between the humanitarian, reconstruction, and development tracks,” he said.
Since the launch of the first Arab Multidimensional Poverty report last year at the 72nd General Assembly, “ESCWA has focused its work on supporting national and regional efforts to design and implement poverty reduction policies,” Mr. Alhakim added. “It is currently supporting seven countries in the region to develop their national capacity, as well as measurement and policy tools.”
The report was released in partnership with the League of Arab States (LAS), the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). It examines household and child poverty using normative methodologies which were adapted to the needs of the Arab region after a consultative process with regional and global experts, and representatives of governments in the region.
After establishing the root causes of multidimensional poverty in the Arab region, the report offers key recommendations for addressing gaps in education, improving social protection systems, investing in children, developing rural areas and accounting for the challenges and limitations in the development of an Arab multidimensional poverty index.
“As Arab countries are increasingly adopting multidimensional poverty measures, ESCWA is supporting that work and preparing to help countries bridge the gap between measurement and policy, making the latter better integrated and effective in addressing poverty. This work covers social, fiscal, employment, and environmental policies,” Mr. Alhakim concluded.
On the sidelines of his mission to the United Nations headquarters, the Executive Secretary separately met with Iraqi and Syrian Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Al-Jaafari and Walid Al-Moallem, and discussed mutual cooperation on economic and social issues, particularly in light with the frameworks to be signed with each country.
Mr. Alhakim also met with LAS Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit and discussed ongoing cooperation between the two organizations.
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