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More Than A Pretty Picture: Using Poverty Maps to Design Better Policies and Interventions

B-SPAN Webcast

Poverty Mapping conference video
Watch the conference via streaming video. B-SPAN webcasts are free to view and are not edited for content.

Sponsor: Poverty Reduction Group (PRMPR)
When: May 11, 2006, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

The allocation of resources and the design of policies tailored to local-level conditions require highly disaggregated information. Data on poverty at the local level is typically not available because most household surveys are not representative passed the regional level. To produce poverty data accurate at the local level, the research group in the World Bank has developed a technique that allows estimation for small areas, by combining censuses and household survey information.

This conference aims to promote the effective use of Small Area Estimation poverty maps in policy making. The conference will present the range of policies and interventions which have been informed by poverty maps. It will also focus on the political economy of poverty maps and the key elements to their effective use by policy makers. Finally, this conference will look at the future of poverty maps in terms of new techniques and new areas of application.

This conference is targeted to all practitioners who could use poverty maps when designing interventions and dialoguing with country counterparts and other stakeholders.



Why Poverty Maps — and Methods — Matter
The session started with a discussion of the key development issues which have an important geographical dimension, for which poverty maps could be instrumental. It then reviewed different types of maps, present the Small Area Estimation (SAE) method, and highlight potential areas of application. The session also discussed how methodological choices can affect results. Finally, it showcased POVMAP, a software for small area estimation.

Poverty Maps for Policy Making — Beyond the Obvious Targeting Applications
This session presented an overview of the range of policies and interventions which have been informed by poverty maps. More specifically it looked at what poverty maps can do to help analyze, plan and design policies and interventions, strengthen accountability and build capacity; and what they cannot do – the dangers, limitations, and pitfalls of policy making with SAE maps. This overview was followed by three country stories from Africa, MENA and South Asia, illustrating the types of policies and interventions influenced by poverty maps.

Lunch Session

More than a Technical Exercise: Increasing Poverty Maps' Impact on Policy
The processes that underpin the elaboration of poverty maps and their uses in decision making are as important as the technical aspects. This session focused on the political economy of disaggregated poverty data and the key elements to their effective use by policy makers. The session started with the unique experience of a policy maker who is also a map producer in Mexico, followed by panel of practitioners.

Pushing the Frontiers — New Uses and Applications
This last session focused on the future of poverty maps in terms of new techniques. The presentations highlighted opportunities to broaden the policy relevance of poverty maps, as well as how we can realize the full potential of poverty maps for policy formulation and project design in World Bank activities. Sector specialists provided their perspective on potential applications of poverty maps to policies and projects in infrastructure, transport, urban development, rural development, HD and other areas with potentially important geographic dimensions.

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