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Preface Annex 1
IMPROVING RESPONSES: INTERLINKAGES IN POLICY
Developing an interlinkages approach to policy responses holds promise for identifying comprehensive solutions and for building synergies between diverse policies, thus maximizing the resources available for implementation. Interlinkages between different scales – temporal and spatial – potentially enhance opportunities for implementation. The successful implementation of many policies is dependant on an interlinkages approach. Increasingly an interlinked approach is evident in policies themselves.
In the two decades since Our Common Future was published, governments in Africa have increasingly given policy attention to both green and brown environmental issues. Governments today are equally concerned about brown issues, which include air and water pollution, and solid waste management, and acknowledge the link with green issues. Previously, environmental management in Africa focused on the preservation of wildlife and other natural resources; in many countries, particularly in Eastern and Southern Africa, this policy was directly linked to tourism. Environmental management and policy has evolved considerably since the mid-1980s from a wildlife conservation focus to being more integrated, taking into account social and economic issues. Several policy interventions since the 1992 Earth Summit, from Agenda 21 to the WSSD Johannesburg Plan of Implementation to NEPAD’s Environmental Action Plan (NEPAD-EAP) give credence to the need for an integrated approach to environmental problems. Development policies are increasingly following suit.
COMPREHENSIVE AND INTERLINKED POLICIES: THE POVERTY REDUCTION STRATEGY PAPERS
Policies that are comprehensive and adopt an interlinkages approach provide better opportunities for addressing multiple, related challenges and for developing effective solutions.
The World Bank’s poverty reduction strategies (PRS) have broken with the narrower economic interventions of the 1980s and 1990s and adopted a more interlinked and comprehensive framework to reducing poverty, that is results orientated (Bojö and Reddy 2003b). Many countries in Africa have or are developing Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), as shown in Table 3. In many of these PRSPs, the environment is treated as a key factor because improved environmental conditions, among other results, can help reduce poverty. The reduction of extreme poverty and hunger, and environmental sustainability – both of which are part of the MDGs – are closely linked to the poverty objectives of PRSPs.
For PRSPs to be successful they should take into account a comprehensive understanding of poverty in a particular country, choosing the most effective public actions to reduce poverty, and to monitor outcomes and impacts. Figure 2 shows the process of preparing environmental sections of a PRSP.
In highlighting the rationale for systematic mainstreaming of environment in PRSPs and associated processes, the World Bank stresses that environmental conditions have major effects on the health, opportunities, and security of poor people. For example, the World Bank reported in 2001 that the burden of disease in sub-Saharan Africa from major environmental risks was 26.5 per cent, compared to 18 per cent in all least developed countries (LDCs) (Bojö and others 2004). The environmental risks considered include poor water supply and sanitation, vector diseases (such as malaria), indoor and urban air pollution, and agro-industrial waste. Table 2 shows the main causes of mortality in Africa. Many of these, including respiratory diseases, diarrhoeal diseases and malaria, are caused by environmental factors.
While PRSPs are mainly concerned with addressing poverty, the objectives are also important for achieving sustainable development and, thus, dealing with environmental concerns. The realization of the MDG targets is closely related to reducing and eradicating poverty. Appendix 1 lists the MDG targets and shows progress towards achieving these. However, the extent to which these considerations have been included in country PRSPs varies considerably. Box 10 identifies some of the major trends and Table 3 evaluates environmental mainstreaming in PRSPs.
A review of PRSPs of some African countries already shows strong interlinkages in, between and across environmental, social and economic issues (Bojö and Reddy 2003b) as shown in Table 3. For example, the Burkina Faso PRSP notes that climatic conditions and low agricultural productivity due to soil and water degradation are major constraints to economic growth, contributing to extreme poverty and severe food insecurity in rural areas. Income from farming and livestock raising is highly dependent on rainfall, which varies considerably from year to year (Bojö and others 2004). The PRSP highlights a soil and water conservation programme to break the vicious circle of soil degradation, poverty and food insecurity.
In Mauritania, Kenya and Zambia, the PRSPs express concern about property rights related to natural resources and how this affects poverty. Kenya’s PRSP proposes to implement a land law to create an efficient and equitable system of land ownership. It also notes that the violation of water rights, conflicts and pollution have increased (Bojö and others 2004).
The extent to which the MDGs are specifically addressed also varies. Box 11 gives some examples of African countries that have specifically incorporated the MDGs where these are directly relevant from an environmental perspective.