Design of effective programmes and activities would be enhanced by improved collection by governments of information on target groups and target areas.
If the reduction of severe poverty and deprivation is to be a central objective of the next decade of development, it will be necessary for each country to create a monitoring and reporting system that enables it to trace changes in the living conditions of the poor with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Existing data on poverty are sparse and often years out of date. Alternative economic and social indicators, where they exist, often are not accurate. Further work will be necessary in order to fill important gaps in the data, improve reliability and develop "simpler, lower cost, non-conventional methods of information collection and analysis". Governments should improve the collection of information on target groups and target areas. However, lack of complete information should not be used as an excuse to delay the design and implementation of policies to reduce absolute poverty, but nor should the need to monitor progress be neglected.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.