UNEP Stands-up Against Poverty
Millions of people worldwide will today participate in the annual STAND UP and TAKE ACTION against Poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) event to demand that world leaders keep their promises to end poverty and inequality.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)'s message on this day is simple: investing in environmental management that benefits the poor will deliver strong results in terms of sustained poverty reduction and growth and achieving the MDGs.
For over three years, UNEP and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), through the joint Poverty- Environment Initiative (PEI), have been working with eleven countries in Africa and Asia to launch and sustain poverty-environment mainstreaming programmes.
The results so far speak for themselves.
In Bhutan, the Gross National Happiness Commission has embraced the integration of environmental considerations into all sector development plans, while the country's Constitution stipulates that a minimum of 60 percent of the total land area must always be maintained under forest cover for all time to come.
In Rwanda, environment-poverty linkages have been successfully integrated into the country's development planning process after studies had shown that soil erosion was resulting in a two percent loss in GDP.
In Tanzania, effectively communicating the importance of the environment to development and the country's economy contributed to an 800 percent increase in the Division of Environment's annual budget in 2006.
In Mozambique, the local community in Madal, with support from the environment and planning ministries and the UNDP-UNEP PEI, was able to reduce the negative effects of flooding on health, livelihoods, and housing by managing soil erosion.
Upon seeing the results, the PEI project coordinator in Mozambique summed up the essence of the initiative as follows: "People can solve their environmental problems with local initiatives if people are well informed and trained because then they have a positive, proactive attitude and can see the benefits to their well-being."