Seychelles supports moves to measure development beyond GDP per capita
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam, welcomed global efforts to move beyond measures of development focused on GDP per capita, and to adopt more inclusive measures at a special side event of the United Nations General Assembly held yesterda?y in New York.
The Minister delivered remarks at the side event of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, on the Multi-dimensional Poverty Peer Network convened by the Government of Mexico, where the Minister highlighted the development paradox facing Small Island Developing States (SIDS), making reference to the multi-dimensional poverty measurement from the perspective of African SIDS.
The Minister also highlighted the importance of properly defining vulnerability in measuring poverty and wealth, as SIDS in particular see development gains very easily eroded by their exposure to global economic forces and their extreme vulnerability in the face of issues such as climate change.
Often times SIDS surpass their Human Development Index targets and reach upper middle-income status finding themselves in a protracted battle to escape the ‘middle income trap’. Minister Adam remarked that middle-income status indicates that SIDS lack access to concessional development financing that would allow for mitigation against shocks and build resilience.
“Too vulnerable to have the required resilience to face up to global processes- local gains are easily erased by global pains. The 2008 financial crisis is a concrete example of how dark clouds on the global horizon become very quickly a massive storm for our economy,” noted the Minister.
Minister Adam commented on the flaws which exist in the traditional measurements used to assess development, in particular, the use of Gross Domestic Product per Capita (GDP). Minister Adam remarked, “Seychelles therefore welcomes initiatives to develop more inclusive and transparent ways of measuring poverty as represented by the initiative to develop a multi-dimensional Poverty measurement.”
People centred development is key to development in the context of Seychelles. Minister Adam mentioned that as part of that process wealth should also be defined as access to services and resources allowing people to act independently and the ability to use the opportunities presented by globalisation rather than viewing it as a threat.
In this respect Minister Adam remarked, “Seychelles- and all small countries with a narrow human resource base- need support to strengthen the databases which we can use to make policy decisions. The Multi-dimensional poverty indicators approach can be very helpful to us.”
By clear definitions of measurement SIDS, like Seychelles, can better plan strategies to address gaps and mitigate development. The United Nations Human Development Report has brought greater diversity to the data set used, however, the Minister remarked that SIDS were often not consulted in this regard.
Minister Adam highlighted Seychelles’ position in advocating for the adoption of a vulnerability index as part of a more inclusive approach to development. “As we work to better measure poverty and development through the Sustainable Development Goal’s through a multidimensional approach to poverty, let us also ensure that this is tied to a framework that also better identifies vulnerability,” said the Minister.
This is particularly relevant to SIDS as they face the adverse effects of climate change which the Minister described as one of the single biggest threats to development and islanders globally.
Minister Adam concluded by stressing the need to adopt a multi-dimensional approach in identifying opportunities, especially in the context of the ‘Blue Economy’, which can create real opportunities for inclusive wealth creation and reduce the vulnerability of people.