The second nation-wide Household Living Conditions survey shows progress in poverty reductions although challenges remain
10 June 2011, Yangon: The United Nations Development Programme in Myanmar launched the results of the second nationwide survey on Household Living Conditions at dissemination workshops in Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon. The launching of the survey reports was attended by the Minister for National Planning and Economic Development and Livestock and Fisheries H.E. U Tin Naing Thein, Deputy Ministers, and nearly 130 representatives from government ministries, diplomatic missions, UN Agencies, development partners and the academic, business and public sectors.
The survey is part of the Integrated Household Living Conditions Assessment (IHLCA),one of UNDP’s projects in Myanmar, and has been implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Funding and technical support also came from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and UNICEF.
The objective of this initiative is to provide the Government of Myanmar, the UN Agencies and other national and international stakeholders with statistical data on living conditions in the country, in order to facilitate development planning and the formulation of poverty reduction strategies. In addition, such data could provide valuable information for the monitoring and reporting of progress towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
A first nation-wide survey was conducted in 2004-05 and resulted in quantitative as well as qualitative data that provided a baseline for statistical analysis. This second survey was conducted in 2009-10, covering a nationwide representative sample of 18,660 households with half of the respondents being the same as in the first survey. In addition to providing information on the most recent state of living conditions and poverty levels, this second survey also provides opportunities to make comparisons and trend analyses for contributing to well-informed, pro-poor decision making.
The results are contained in five reports: 1) a poverty profile 2009-10, 2) a Millennium Development Goals data report 2009-10, 3) a poverty dynamics report 2009-10, 4) a technical report and 5) a quality report of the survey.
The survey results indicate that the overall poverty and food poverty incidence in the country has been reduced, yet expenditure on food as a share of household consumption has risen for the poor, and that landlessness amongst the poorest appears to have increased. However, as with many surveys, the reports caution the interpretation of data on poverty level and trends, in particular on the magnitude of the decline in poverty.
In his opening remarks at the launch in Nay Pyi Taw , H.E. Minister U Tin Naing Thein, Minister for National Planning and Economic Development and Livestock and Fisheries said, “I believe that the poverty profile, MDG relevant information and poverty dynamics reports will be very useful for rural development and poverty alleviation.”
Mr Bengt Ekman Minister Coordinator from SIDA said “Hard data in the reports collected in accordance with international best practice, on the situation of the standards of living for the people in Myanmar, is an absolute must for good governance and for further interventions.”
“UNDP is happy to have contributed to the first such survey to be done in Myanmar since 2005,” said Akbar Usmani, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. “We hope that the survey will contribute to well-informed pro-poor programmes for improving the living conditions of the people of Myanmar.”
“The survey is a good source of data that can be used to address disparities, alleviate and prevent the risks of families and children falling into poverty,” said Ms. Juanita Vasquez, Representative a.i., UNICEF Myanmar.
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About UNDP Myanmar: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the UN’s global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life in 166 countries. UNDP has been implementing the Human Development Initiative (HDI) in Myanmar since 1994 to provide support to poor communities in areas of food security, primary health care, environment, HIV/AIDS, and training and education. UNDP currently works in more than 60 townships around the country. UNDP’s initiatives target the most vulnerable communities and work to improve opportunities for sustainable livelihoods.