Monday, November 12, 2007

Updates from CEE/CIS

Regional Social Policy Advisor Gordon Alexander sent in this helpful update on how the Study is progressing in Central and Eastern Europe/ Commonwealth Independent States.
Over the last week or so, we have had quite detailed individual discussions with each of the countries participating in the Global Child Poverty Study from the region (Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo and Turkmenistan).


1. All of the countries have established partnerships with National Research Institutes for the study and are discussing the plan of work.

2. The study is being undertaken in very different circumstances, but in each country there is clearly a strong contribution that can be made with the child poverty analysis, which should lead up to useful policy recommendations.

3. In at least two of these countries, there is still considerable sensitivity around the discussion of poverty. In these settings, by taking a 'child wellbeing' approach, the country offices are finding a much more positive resonance with national decision- makers.

4. One of the areas of expressed concern is around the $1 income definition of extreme poverty in the statistical template, and the request for use of the Bristol indicators of deprivation in the same core template. As you know, in middle income countries such as Ukraine, these cutoffs have little meaning, and the teams are working on identifying indicators of deprivation that have relevence for the policy debate in their countries. This is an area where they may need help. We need to be very careful that if the data requested for the global template is provided, the Global Study doesn't come out with findings that are different to and undermine the dialogue at country level. ie If the gobal study concluded that Ukraine had no extreme poverty on $1 a day and no deprivation on the Bristol indicators, this wd be a setback for country partner efforts to highlight child poverty and vulnerability nationally. I am attaching a note prepared on the basis of this feedback.

5. Where it is feasible, and subject to data availability, a number of countries are exploring the child wellbeing approach. This is particularly important for the middle income countries in the region but also is feasible in other settings. A discussion with other regions experience might be useful.

6. Timelines in terms of fitting into national agenda look broadly ok. However, a number of countries are faced with complex relationships with government partners that have their own cycles of national policy discussions/ PRS / EU that COs need to adjust to.