The report highlights vulnerability as “a serious obstacle to development due to the damage caused by exogenous shocks and stressors to which countries are increasingly being exposed”.
It argues that Gross National Income per capita is a weak measure of development, material welfare, or well-being, suggesting the MVI can better guide country development and donor assistance policies, aid, and the identification of nations in need of assistance before a crisis hits.
The Co-Chairs of the High-level Panel of Experts on a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have published an advance unedited version of their final report, which explores how vulnerability should be characterized and measured, to allow for a better flow of targeted international development assistance to build resilience in vulnerable countries.
In a letter dated 18 September 2023, the Co-Chairs informed the UN General Assembly (UNGA) President that the report completes the Panel’s deliverables on the MVI and requested that it be circulated among Member States.
The report highlights vulnerability as “a serious obstacle to development due to the damage caused by exogenous shocks and stressors to which countries are increasingly being exposed,” including fluctuations in the terms of trade, natural disasters, supply chain disruptions, conflicts, civil unrest, and pandemics. It argues that Gross National Income per capita (GNI pc) is a weak measure of development, material welfare, or well-being, suggesting the MVI can better guide country development and donor assistance policies, aid, and the identification of nations in need of assistance before a crisis hits.
The index is structured around: a quantitative assessment of structural vulnerability and resilience using a common methodology for all developing countries, represented by MVI scores for individual countries; and a more detailed characterization of an individual country’s vulnerability and resilience factors.
Guided by the principles of multidimensionality, universality, exogeneity, availability, and readability, the Panel defined a conceptual framework for the MVI capturing a country’s structural vulnerability, which is linked to exposure to external shocks and stressors, and its structural resilience to such shocks, or a lack thereof.
The report, which is a relevant input to the preparatory process of the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) in 2024 and other processes and meetings, underscores that it is of critical importance to secure consensus around and broad support for the MVI framework. Among the next steps, it recommends that:
- The MVI framework be adopted by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and a decision be taken on the future custodial arrangements and governance;
- Donors, including international financial institutions (IFIs), be encouraged to explore how the MVI could be incorporated into existing policies and practices; and
- Determinations of countries’ external debt sustainability and the need for concessional debt restructuring use the MVI in addition to income-based assessments.
Co-chaired by Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne and former Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg, the High-level Panel began its work in March 2022. In a systematic approach to consultation and outreach, it gathered inputs from a diverse pool of stakeholders, including potential user groups, academics, and Member States. [Publication: High Level Panel on the Development of a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index: Final Report] [Multidimensional Vulnerability Index for SIDS] [UNGA President’s Letter to Member States Dated 28 September 2023]