Rapid economic growth in the region has led to a dramatic improvement in living standards. Extreme poverty, when measured as income or expenditure of less than
But the new report, , says the
Three additional elements should be factored into the poverty picture: cost of consumption specific to
The new report explores how including these elements in poverty assessments changes the region's poverty landscape. Key findings include:
* Broadly following the procedure used to determine the conventional
* Rapidly rising food prices increase food insecurity. The poor spend far more of their income on food than the non-poor. So food insecurity must be accounted for when measuring poverty. Taking into account the fact that the increase in food prices is greater than the increase in the general consumer price index,
* Many low income households living just above extreme poverty can easily fall into extreme poverty due to natural disasters, financial crises, illness or other negative shocks. A vulnerability-adjusted poverty line adds about 11.9 percentage points to
While these factors are not necessarily mutually exclusive, the report finds the combined impact would increase
The report projects that if recent economic growth trends continue, the overall poverty rate would fall to 17.1% in 2030, with most of the poor living in middle income countries.
"To confront this challenge, the report urges a stronger focus on efforts to enhance food security and reduce vulnerability in addition to promoting growth," said
Food security can be improved by enhancing food availability through, for example, more rapid productivity and technological development, expanding affordability and access through targeted food aid for the poor and upgrading farm-to-fork infrastructure, and stabilizing food supply through steps such as the creation of national or regional emergency reserve stocks.
To manage increasing vulnerability, governments can invest in risk-mapping and disaster risk reduction efforts such as early warning systems and livelihood diversification. Fostering the development of insurance products accessible to the poor, making infrastructure more resilient, and strengthening social safety nets are also important components of a poverty reduction strategy.
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