Main objective Title of the study

Work on poverty in the Economic and
Social Commission for Western Asia
Nadine Shaar
Social Development Division
Regional workshop on poverty statistics in the Western
Asia, November 2004
 Background
World Summit for Social Development (1995)
 Time frame (6 years)
Phase 1: Measurement, characteristics and determinants of poverty
Phase 2: Evaluation of poverty measures in ESCWA region
Phase 3: Operational policies to combat poverty
Activities undertaken by ESCWA
 Eradicating poverty series (14)
 Capacity building initiatives
 MDGs
Title of the study
Main objective
1. Poverty in Western Asia: A
social perspective
- Assessment of poverty situation
- Focus on social dimensions of
poverty: population, employment,
health and education
2. Poverty in Lebanon
- Characteristics and determinant
of poverty (unemployment and
- No well defined policy to combat
poverty (e.g. wage, employment
- Government policy (solely based
on currency stabilization and
Title of the study
Main objective
3. Measuring poverty in ESCWA
- Estimate of poverty in ESCWA
region using unified methodology
(based on private consumption,
nutritional intake, enrolment in
primary education and IMR
- 27% of population in ESCWA
live blow the poverty line in 1992
- 47% of Yemenis and 45% of
Iraqis are poor
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Main objective
4. Poverty in Iraq: Pre and post
Gulf War
- Effects of Gulf war and sanctions
on Iraq’s economy
- Poverty is determined by the
extent of natural resources and
their management, as well as the
ability to utilize these resources
along with the human ones into
income generating activities
5. Social integration after the War
in Lebanon
- Socio-economic characteristics
which prevailed before the war
- Effect of war (migration, increase
in unemployment, geographical
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Main objective
6. Database on poverty in ESCWA
- Bibliography of 85 references on
7. Poverty in West Bank and Gaza
Strip: Preliminary attempt to
estimate size, characteristics and
- Effects of sanctions and war on
the wellbeing of Palestinians
- Unemployment as main
determinant of poverty
- 25% of families live below
poverty line in 1996
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Main objective
8. Proceeding of the EGM on
improvement of the standard of
living in Al-Mashreq countries
(Nov 1997)
- Research papers submitted
during the EGM
- 3 focus areas (external
determinants of poverty, direct
and indirect measurement of
poverty, national policies to
eradicate poverty)
9. Sectoral policies for combating
poverty in Lebanon in the midnineties: Health and education
- Heath and education sectors
- National health strategy (4
- Improving quality of education
in public schools and the
accessibility of poor to this sector
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Main objective
10. Poverty reduction policies in
- Explores policies put in place by
Jordan and Lebanon: An overview government to combat poverty
- Two conditions: pro-poor
economic development strategy
and good governance
11. Poverty reduction policies in
Egypt: An overview
- Analysis of levels, trends and
sources of poverty in Egypt
- Strategies at macro, meso and
micro levels
Title of the study
Main objective
12. The role of micro-credit in
poverty alleviation: Profile of the
micro-credit sector in Lebanon
- Role of micro finance as an
effective tool for improving living
- Different lending schemes and
key players
13. Evaluation of socio-economic
effects of the programme of
productive families and trust fund
executed by the Ministry of Social
Development in Jordan
- Socioeconomic effects of the
programmes ( impact on
- Men benefited from programme
of productive families, majority of
lower education and high age
- Women of younger age groups
used trust fund programme
Title of the study
Main objective
14. Proceedings of the EGM on
governance, socio-economic
development and poverty
alleviation (Nov 2001)
- Final report and expert papers
submitted during the EGM
- Main purpose is to raise
awareness on governance and its
relation to poverty alleviation
- Policies are effective if they are
supported by legitimate
government acting on principles
of democracy, law and
Title of the study
Main objective
Poverty and its measurement in
the ESCWA region
- Focus on two measures of
poverty: human and income
- 5% of ESCWA population suffer
from income poverty
- 26% of population experience the
human poverty
Capacity building
EGM on poverty statistics (Sept 2002)
Forum on technology, employment and poverty alleviation in the
Arab countries (July 2002)
Future work
MDGs report of ESCWA region: According to the report it is
unlikely that Iraq, Palestine and Yemen will be able to reduce by
half the proportion of people living below 1$ a day.
Field projects: community development, integrating social
development policies in ESCWA region
Current status of poverty statistics in ESCWA region
Scarcity of data
Lack of political will (absence of policies)
Main purpose is to estimate consumption level and family
expenditure (SNA) and NOT to measure poverty
Difficulty to make comparison among countries (different
years, groups, aggregate figures)
Main data sources: Household and expenditure surveys
Poverty is defined by the cost of unmet basic needs
Unit of measurement: household /individual
Share of income or expenditure (standard of living)
Absolute poverty line (food basket)
Level of expenditure/consumption necessary to provide
adequate diet and basic necessities of life
Selected characteristics of age, sex, education status, marital
status and household characteristics (Egypt, Yemen,