Exchanging Experiences, Expanding Opportunities

Multidimensional Poverty Indexes: Cases from Latin American and Europe

Based on the demand of several countries in the region to deepen the discussions and understanding of some of the progress in terms of Multidimensional Poverty Indexes (MPI), the Inter-American Social Protection Network (IASPN)/OAS and the Government of Colombia –with the support from EUROsociAL II and ECLAC- organized the “Workshop on Multidimensional Poverty Indexes: Good Practices and Lessons Learned from Latin America and Europe” (September 18-19, 2013).

The Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI) expert provided a detailed concept on the multidimensional poverty index developed by them and some of its main components. In addition, the workshop served to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experiences countries like Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay have gained in measuring multidimensional poverty with other countries.


13 countries from LAC and Europe

Colombia (several nacional agencies), Costa Rica, Belize, Brazil, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Italy, Mexico, Paraguay, Perú, Uruguay.

Participating institutions

ECLAC, Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI), UNCIEF and Fundación Capital.


Given that MPI’s provide a broader view of poverty, it allows for public policies to be revisited and viewed through different lenses and approaches, and at the same time try and simplify and/or prioritize the complexities of social phenomena such as poverty. Several examples of multidimensional poverty measurements and their implementation in different social policy settings were discussed among participants.

Another point that came across quite clearly in discussions was the importance of technical consistency in the design and implementation of an MPI by any given country. Moreover, the political dimension regarding the design and implementation processes is also to be taken into consideration.  Questions with regards to the relationship between technical consistency in the design of MPI’s and the need to make them “digestible” or matters of “common sense” for the policy makers, implementers and general public also came up during the sessions.

The workshop methodology included a series of facilitated work sessions in which countries provided some background (on how poverty is currently measured nationally) and identified the sources of data available as well as possible dimensions and variables to include in an MPI. The MPI’s designed by Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay were compared with regards to some of the differences and similarities as a case in point of different approaches and solutions within the region.

Participants had a chance to discuss on progress, challenges, and different perspectives regarding the measurement of multidimensional poverty in each respective country, as well as potential uses of the MPI. UNICEF also presented a MPI application being developed together with the Colombian Government.

[A final conceptual report will be published in the coming weeks. Please note that all the workshop presentations are in Spanish, click here.]

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