Ministry of Human Development to redefine poverty Print E-mail
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Friday, 07 June 2019 00:00

The Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation, and Poverty Alleviation is attempting to establish a comprehensive social protection system for the country. On Tuesday, June 4, 2019, discussions were held at the Biltmore Plaza in Belize City where public and private sector stakeholders in the ministry met. They believe that in order for a comprehensive social protection system to be achieved in Belize, we must first be able to define poverty. It is currently defined by an adult male spending less than $3,400 annually and as it stands, our poverty rate is said to be over 40%.

Over the last thirty years, a poverty assessment has only been conducted thrice. Going forward in establishing the comprehensive social protection system for the country, the Ministry will be working over the next two years towards redefining poverty after which another poverty assessment will be conducted. The new definition will now take into consideration access to basic necessities such as health, education, and food. Mark Antrobus, Social Planner, Ministry of Human Development, says that the inclusion of those factors will give a clearer picture of poverty and its level in the country. “Now we are trying to say that it is not just about money. Sometimes you have money, but if you can’t access health or education; if you live in an area that is vulnerable to crime, then you suffer equally in terms of vulnerability.”

The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, leaders in poverty assessment methodology, has been sought by the ministry to assist in the process. Monica Pinilla-Ronconcio, Co-Director, Metrics and Policy, Oxford Human Development, says that her aim is to determine the dimensions that need more policy actions. The initiative uses different multi-dimensional poverty indices (MPI) which are used to compare poverty on a global scale. Some MPIs will take into consideration health, education, living standards, while others will consider employment, environment, and social security. Pinilla-Ronconcio says that in Belize, there is not a list of MPIs but a quality report was conducted on persons living in multi-dimensional poverty. “Things relating to crime, with access to education, with access to food, healthy food and nutritious food were the dimensions that multi-dimensionally poor people living in Belize mentioned.”

Last Updated on Friday, 07 June 2019 12:52