CDB launches USD 2.8m programme to help OECS countries assess poverty

CDB launches USD 2.8m programme to help OECS countries assess poverty

St. Lucia, July 26, 2016 – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), in collaboration with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission, today launched a USD 2.8 million programme that will help its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) in the OECS better measure poverty to drive national and regional development.

The launch of the Enhanced Country Poverty Assessment Programme took place in Saint Lucia during an event that officials from the CDB, the OECS Commission, representatives from Member States including Heads of national statistical offices and Ministries (with responsibility for social development and national development planning), United Nations Agencies, including The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund and UN Women, attended.

The Programme addresses the need for more timely, accurate and reliable poverty data in the Caribbean region where, despite making considerable progress on how they measure poverty, many countries do not frequently update or report on key poverty indicators. In addition, many are not able to measure the non-income dimensions of poverty and human development.

We know that when high-quality poverty data is readily available, policymakers are better able to make more informed, evidence-based decisions. The Enhanced Country Poverty Assessment Programme will help our BMCs in the OECS not only build a sustained effort to better measure poverty but also support them in confidently responding to the development challenges they face,”  said Deidre Clarendon, Division Chief, Social Sector Division.

“OECS countries will specifically benefit from an enhanced capacity to conduct multidimensional poverty assessments for better decision-making. These measurements provide a broader picture as to how someone experiences disadvantage beyond just income considerations, such as education, health and housing.  The additional dimensions a multi-dimensional poverty assessment can provide thus enables key decision makers to formulate a holistic response based on more inclusive and quality data,” said Dr. Gale Archibald, Head of Statistics, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.

In addition, through the Programme, the Bank’s BMCs in the OECS will receive support for the implementation of a Sustainable Household Data Programme (SDP), which the OECS Commission will oversee. This SDP will deliver harmonised poverty data for OECS countries, and help them conduct regular and timely monetary and multidimensional poverty assessments.

An OECS Geographic Information System platform will also be developed through the Programme. It will enable countries to better analyse, map, monitor and report on different dimensions of social and economic well-being.

CDB’s support for the OECS for the implementation of the SDP will include the establishment and operation of a Project Coordination Unit within the OECS Commission to provide programme management, technical support to OECS BMCs, and to run a centralised household research facility.

Stakeholders from participating OECS countries will also benefit from national and regional training activities to build capacity to conduct the different elements of SDP, including how to use GIS and computer-aided personal interviewing devices and applications for multidimensional poverty measurement.

In addition to OECS countries, the Enhanced Country Poverty Assessment Programme will support other countries in the Caribbean Region in improving their capacity in multidimensional poverty measurement through USD 1.38 million in CDB funding. These countries are: The Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Cayman Islands; Guyana; Haiti; Jamaica; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; and Turks and Caicos Islands.

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