ESCAP defines poverty as having three inter-related and
inter-locking aspects: (a) lack of regular income, employment
opportunities and purchasing power, (b) lack of access to
services (such as health, education and water) and (c) lack
of political power, participation, dignity and respect.
A multi-dimensional definition of poverty, whereby all deprivations
are inter woven, may make it, however, more difficult to
objectively and quantifiably measure people’s poverty.
Current approaches to measuring poverty such as the 1$
a day measure fail to capture the multi-dimensional nature
of poverty. Current approaches are further problematic for
measuring urban poverty, because poverty has traditionally
been considered a rural problem rather than an urban problem
and, as such, measurement tools have been based on rural
With the majority of the population in this region expected
to be living in urban areas by 2025 and many of those urban
residents being poor it is important to monitor the trends
in order to take policy measures to avoid an ‘urbanization
of poverty’. New ways of measuring urban poverty must
be devised to enable policy makers and researchers to better
understand urban poverty.
This two-day seminar will be structured around a series
of discussion sessions on the following:
- definition of poverty
- what is specifically urban about urban poverty
- data available for measuring urban poverty in Cambodia,
Philippines, India, Indonesia and Thailand
- whether standard methods must simply be improved or
whether they should be replaced.
The structure of the seminar is remaining deliberately
loose as ESCAP wants to hear from the participants involved
their views and opinions on whether urban poverty is different
to rural poverty and why and how.