The benefits we obtain from ecosystem goods and services underpin the basis for our livelihoods, health and security. Poor people have limited financial resources and are therefore extremely dependent on the environment for their basic needs such as water, food, and shelter. Environmental degradation diminishes the capacity of poor people to make decisions that contribute to their well-being. When environmental resources are not managed in a sustainable manner, their degradation therefore negatively influences the welfare of poor people. Conversely, promoting the sustainable use of resources on which poor people rely - such as forests, water, and soil - will contribute to the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.
The Poverty and Environment Unit of UNEP is currently supporting seven African countries in implementing a four-year project that aims to increase developing countries' capacity to mainstream environment into poverty reduction policies and other national development strategies. This will ensure that efforts to reduce poverty are not undermined by the unsustainable use of resources. The explicit linking of poverty and environment contributes to the realisation of the MDGs, particularly MDG1.
UNEP works in close collaboration with UNDP on poverty and environment issues. UNDP and UNEP have formally launched a joint Global Partnership on Poverty and the Environment. Through this partnership, UNDP and UNEP will work together with countries around the world to ensure that good environmental management leads to improved livelihoods for poor people. UNDP and UNEP will, furthermore, monitor programmes established to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and will ensure that investment through those programmes is carried out in an environmentally-friendly manner.
Selected UNEP activities of relevance to MDG 1