SDG Media Zone event: “The Vulnerability Paradox: Helping vulnerable countries move beyond blunt tools of measuring development.”
Photo credit: Renee Capozzola
All developing countries are vulnerable to certain degrees - and it is those structural vulnerabilities that hold their development back. The international community has been discussing vulnerability for over 30 years, but with no agreed understanding of what it means.
But different groups experience vulnerability in different ways. Least Developed Countries suffer low incomes and poverty with economies that are unable to transform and become more productive. For Landlocked Developing Countries, their difficulties in accessing markets handicap their ambitions to grow exports and access basic goods.
Small Island Developing States have unique development challenges including small size, remoteness, and narrow economies - and they often find themselves on the frontline of crises, including climate change, sea level rise and COVID-19, which decimated the tourism industry on which they rely.
Traditional measures of development, such as GNI per capita, which are heavily reliant on income, insufficiently capture vulnerability. That’s why the United Nations has convened a High-Level International Panel to devise a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI), which will employ data and evidence to better understand the complexity and impact of vulnerability once and for all. This will assist us all to make informed and consistent choices to maximise the impact of our scarce resources.
This panel will explore the reasons why such an index is necessary, explain how it might look, and discuss ways in which it can better improve the sustainable development efforts of the most vulnerable countries.
Ambassador Walton Alfonso Webson, Permanent Representative of Antigua & Barbuda to the United Nations
H.E. Mr. Fatumanava-o-Upolu III Pa'olelei Luteru, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Samoa to the United Nations
Mr Sandagdorj Erdenebileg, Chief, Policy Coordination, Development, Monitoring and Reporting Service, UN Most Vulnerable States (OHRLLS)