Samoa Amongst Pacific Nations Preparing for Multidimensional Poverty Index


Apia, Samoa,20th August 2021  The Samoa Bureau of Statistics (SBS) and other key counterparts in Samoa, the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau are undergoing virtual trainings on how their island nations can establish and formulate their own Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI).

The MPI is an international measure of acute multidimensional poverty covering over 100 developing countries. It complements traditional monetary poverty measures by capturing the acute deprivations in health, education, and living standards that a person faces simultaneously. It is published by the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Report Office and tracks deprivation across three dimensions and 10 indicators: health (child mortality, nutrition), education (years of schooling, enrollment), and living standards (water, sanitation, electricity, cooking fuel, assets).

“After the training, the Samoa Bureau of Statistics will commit relevant staff to the development of the first MPI for Samoa, using the recent Household Income and Expenditure Survey data (2018). This will surely add value to the existing monetary poverty measures especially in the identification of who the poor people are and where they live for targeted policymaking and interventions in the future,” said Aliimuamua Malaefono Tauā-Faasalaina, Chief Executive Officer, SBS.

The trainings are done under the Social Protection Joint Programme (SP-JP) of the United Nations, in partnership with the Governments of the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, and Tokelau. They are conducted by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and rolled out online over the next six weeks.

UNDP’s Assistant Resident Representative for the Governance and Poverty Reduction Unit, Christina Mualia said, “UNDP reaffirms its commitment to strengthening social protection to reach the poorest and those left behind. Having the MPI training is a first step towards the adoption and implementation of the global index. The MPI looks beyond income and provides an understanding of how people experience poverty in multiple and simultaneous ways. Furthermore, the development of the MPI for the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau will inform social policy and lawmaking and assist in identifying deprived groups and areas for social protection targeting.”

The Social Protection Joint Programme (SP-JP) aims to increase resilience through viable and financially sustainable social protection (SP) systems that will address life cycle vulnerabilities, strengthen SP floors, and enhance employability. The objective of the SP-JP is to develop universal, evidence-based, nationally owned SP systems and introduce social protection floors to help accelerate the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through integrated programming and leaving no one behind. One of the key activities under Outcome Area 2 to ensure that social protection floors are efficiently and effectively administered, is to ‘develop a MPI for the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau’.

The joint programme began in early 2020, involving five UN agencies: ESCAP (Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific), ILO (International Labour Organisation), UNDP, UNESCO (Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). They are working with stakeholders across the four countries from government to civil society and private sector to implement the activities of the Joint Programme on Social Protection.