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RIO GROUP ON POVERTY STATISTICS
Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, India, Indonesia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America and Uruguay.
Organizations and other institutions
Centro Latinoamericano de Demografía, Economic Commission for Africa (ECE), Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat), Human Sciences Research Council, Inter-American Development Bank, International Labour Organization (ILO), Latin American and Caribbean Institute for Economic and Social Planning, London School of Economics and Political Science, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO), Partnership in Statistics for Development in the Twenty-first Century (PARIS21), Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Statistics Division and World Bank.
First meeting, Santiago, 7-9 May 1997
Measurements oriented towards synthetic indicators or policy for poverty alleviation; analytical classifications of synthetic indicators of poverty statistics: absolute poverty (poverty lines and unmet basic needs approach), relative poverty, objective and subjective poverty; poverty dynamics; relationships between poverty and other conceptual categories used in social policy, such as social exclusion, vulnerability and social rights; international comparisons; international strategies to alleviate poverty, their objectives, goals and means of implementation, and strategies for the improvement of information.
The Group embarked upon a major effort to collect information on different experiences and then to systematize that information. It was found that most practices fit quite well into a small number of categories. But it was also seen that less statistically developed countries had to use “shortcuts” in terms of procedures and calculations due to their lack of statistical infrastructure and experience.
The Group therefore decided that, rather than describe those shortcuts in detail, it would be more useful to concentrate on specifying the best practices in the field so that disadvantaged countries could evaluate the steps or stages needed to move towards better measurements.
The fact that the majority of group members come from national statistical offices guided the compilation of material towards measurement practices implemented in relation to their institutional context (even though they did not necessarily represent the official figures of the country in question). This excluded from the discussion those issues or proposals that pertained exclusively to the academic sphere, even though it was recognized that most of the now-widespread measurement approaches originated there. In addition, the shortage of resources limited the participation of many national institutions other than statistical offices, such as NGOs or government social agencies.
Nevertheless, the compendium is considered to be representative of most well-developed practices in poverty measurement. As a consequence, this Compendium offers a “menu” of poverty measurement approaches and methodologies. A discussion is also provided of the most important aspects relating to their implementation. In cases where no measurement method has been adopted, this menu should allow the reader to choose among the available options based on his/her needs and constraints. It is also, however, intended to provide a general guide for the improvement of measurement methods that have not been fully applied.
During its last meeting the Group agreed that an important stage of work has finished. It fulfills the mandate given to the Group by the Statistical Commission of the United Nations. The Group also verified that the work in the area is intense and therefore during 2006 there has been further progress in the area of poverty measurement that is not fully portrayed in the Compendium. Due to these circumstances, the meeting agenda covered relevant areas where work is underway. The large amount of ongoing research provides a great and efficient opportunity for maintaining international cooperation. It is a great asset that most members of the Group are working in the introduction of innovations in the practices. As a result of the work of the Group, cooperating institutions have built a network, which members recommend to keep in operation.
Points of contact
Mr. Eduardo Pereira Nunes
Ms. Elisa Caillaux
Consultant, Instituto Brasileiro de Geografía e Estatística
Tel: 569 98730803
Mr. Juan Carlos Feres
Division of Statistics and Economic Projections
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
Av. Dag Hammarskjöld 3477, Casilla 179-D
Tel: 56 2 210 2408
Fax: 56 2 210 2472