Honourable Presidents and Prime Ministers,
Ladies & Gentlemen;
I am delighted that Bangladesh can add its voice to this important discussion on multidimensional poverty and building back better. Despite many obstacles, Bangladesh has been on the forefront of woman’s empowerment, microfinance, and advancing human development for decades. We are deeply committed to SDG1: ending poverty in all its forms. We are honoured to be part of the poverty network, the MPPN, to share our experience in advancing capabilities and reducing multidimensional poverty.
In Bangladesh, we are about to launch a National MPI. Our National MPI is fit-for-purpose, having been produced by our national statisticians with input from many policy actors and with technical support from OPHI. We chose an MPI because monetary poverty overlooked some disadvantages that deeply scar people’s lives and constrain their capabilities. In the current crisis, the MPI indicators may serve as a key predictor of populations at risk of COVID-19 impacts and shocks.
Our National MPI will be a permanent official statistic of poverty. It provides an information platform that shines a light on interconnections between problems in living standards, education, and health, in disaggregated detail.
Our UNICEF-supported National MPI is linked to a Child MPI that focusses on the well-being of our future: the children of Bangladesh. The Child MPI goes a step further to help monitor progress in reducing child labor and violence against children.
Jointly with the 8th Five Year plan for 2021 to 2025, the National MPI will provide a foundation stone for Bangladesh’s policies. After sustained economic growth and achieving low middle-income status in 2015, Bangladesh now faces the uncertain era of COVID-19. Our health minister is yearning for the COVID-19 vaccine and new public health tools. As the Minister of Planning, I see the National MPI as a powerful new tool for rationally planning and achieving the eradication of multidimensional poverty in Bangladesh even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Strong and rigorous poverty measures provide vital information about the most vulnerable so that they can be protected from hardship and poverty in the years to come. The MPI will inform budget allocations and it will shape and coordinate multisectoral policies. Our National MPI is designed to inform how we target districts and people who are especially vulnerable.
In closing, poverty indeed is at a crossroads. The road map to poverty eradication has been rewritten by the pandemic. It has forced us to reconsider our plans and strategies. The MPI helps provide an information-dense tool. It shows what poverty looks like and suggests how policies can empower people to emerge from their troubles stronger and more resilient. Using it, we will, despite the current trials, turn an important corner.