In 2013, the World Bank Group announced two goals that would guide its development work worldwide. The first is the eradication of chronic extreme poverty. More formally, it is the target of bringing the number of extremely poor people, defined as those living on less than 1.25 ppp-adjusted dollars a day, to less than 3% of the world population by 2030. The second is the boosting of shared prosperity, defined as promoting the growth of per capita real income of the poorest 40% of the population in each country. While we have begun to track these indicators, in the light of the UN’s post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, and the changing landscape of the world, we are aware that there will be many new challenges that we will have to contend with over the next decade and a half. To help us deal with these better, I, in my capacity as Chief Economist of the World Bank, have just set up a Commission on Global Poverty chaired by Sir Anthony Atkinson and with an advisory board consisting of some of the world’s leading experts in the field.
While the Commission’s report will be written by Professor Atkinson, advised by experts, we felt a need to crowd source ideas. If you have one or more ideas please write to us in the space provided below. This is not meant to be an interactive web page; and so you will not get any reply from us but if you give your email address and members of the Commission feel the need to contact you, they may do so. A new set of questions will be introduced every two weeks so please continue to check this site in order to contribute to the conversation.
The idea of going “beyond GDP” is not new: For over 30 years, economists have been advancing methods for valuing natural capital. It gained new momentum when the methodology for calculating Natural Capital Accounts (NCA) became a standard with the UN Statistical Commission’s adoption of the System for Environmental and Economic Accounts (SEEA) in 2012.
There is growing consensus that GDP is not the best indicator of a country’s true economic status. One major limitation is the poor representation of natural capital. Important contributions to the economy made by forests, wetlands, and minerals are not fully captured in national accounts or may be hidden.
Join us to discuss the advantages of NCA in crafting policy, and possible strategies for promoting its use in making evidence-based decision-making in the public and private sectors, towards the goal of sustainable development.