Above: Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina (UN Photo/Marco Castro)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
International institutions need to devise new measures of human development to break the cycle of global poverty, Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina said during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week.
Global finance institutions use what Medina called “one-dimensional” measurements to examine human development, primarily looking at monetary income. That is leading to a skewed perspective on the problems of poverty, according to the President.
“Our country, the Dominican Republic, according to these kinds of measurements, has been classified in recent years as an upper-middle-income country,” he said. “However, more than a third of our citizenship continues to live in conditions of poverty. So then, how is it that countries like our own are excluded from development assistance?”
The Dominican Republic’s leader, who took office in August, pointed to what he saw as a disparity between the “optimism” espoused by global poverty measures and the “perception of many people around the world.”
“This discrepancy between the optimism of various international measurements and the discontent to be found on our streets, can be attributed to the use of inadequate indicators to measure poverty, development and well-being,” he said. “Poverty in a family and in a community is much more than the lack of income with respect to a predetermined threshold, just as the development of a country is much more than the size of its average income.”
Income classifications can often mean the difference between receiving international bank loans and being left on the outside, among other scenarios, the said.