IMPROVING RESPONSES: INTERLINKAGES IN POLICY

IMPROVING IMPLEMENTATION THROUGH INTERLINKING POLICIES AT DIFFERENT SCALES: NEPAD-EAP AND THE MDGS

Creating interlinkages between different policies and programmes is an effective way to develop synergies and enhance opportunities for using available resources more effectively. Interlinking policies at different scales can offer new opportunities for implementing institutions.

The environmental, social and economic challenges facing policymakers at the national level are as important as those at the sub-regional and regional levels, and often there are remarkable similarities. Through a process including national governments, the NEPAD-EAP prioritizes six environmental programme areas and three crosscutting issues. It also recognizes poverty as the main cause and consequence of environmental degradation and thus that there is an urgent need to halt the downward spiral of poverty and break the poverty-environment nexus (NEPAD 2003). While it recognizes the value of MEAs and global environmental policy processes, its focus is on responding to African national priorities. The MDGs, although globally defined targets, have to be realized in the national context, thus establishing linkages with regional, sub-regional and national programmes is critical to their realization. The MDGs can be effectively linked to NEPAD-EAP programme areas, which are:

  • Combating land degradation, drought and desertification;
  • Conserving Africa’s wetlands;
  • Prevention, control and management of invasive alien species;
  • Conservation and sustainable use of marine, coastal and freshwater resources;
  • Combating climate change in Africa; and
  • Transboundary conservation and management of natural resources.

All these areas are important for the realization of the MDGs, for example for the goals of alleviating extreme poverty and hunger, and achieving environmental sustainability. Table 4 shows how the MDGs are linked to the environment. The potential for creating effective interlinkages between these areas is dependent on governance systems, human resource availability and capacity, and funding. Table 5 highlights some of the interlinkages between NEPAD-EAP and MDGs.

Table 4: Linkages between the MDGs and the environment
Millennium Development Goals Examples of links to the environment

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger Livelihood strategies and food security of the poor often depend directly on healthy ecosystems and the diversity of goods and ecological services they provide.
2. Achieve universal primary education Time spent collecting water and fuelwood by children, especially girls, can reduce time at school.
3. Promote gender equality and empower women Poor women are especially exposed to indoor air pollution and the burden of collecting water and fuelwood, and have unequal access to land and other natural resources.
4. Reduce child mortality Water-related diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera kill an estimated 3 million people per year in developing countries, the majority of which are children under the age of five.
5. Improve maternal health Indoor air pollution and carrying heavy loads of water and fuelwood adversely affect women’s health and can make women less fit for childbirth and at greater risk of complications during pregnancy.
6. Combat major diseases Up to one-fifth of the total burden of diseases in developing countries may be associated with environmental risk factors – and preventive environmental health measures are as important and at times more cost-effective than medical treatments.
7. Ensure environmental sustainability Current trends in environmental degradation must be reversed in order to sustain the health and productivity of the world’s ecosystems.

Sources: DFID and others 2002, UN Millennium Project 2005a

 

Table 5: Links between MDG 7: Ensure environmental sustainability and NEPAD-EAP
MDG 7: Targets Examples of related environment programme areas (PA)

Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources. PA1: Integrate strategies of poverty eradication into programmes and projects related to desertification control and mitigation of effects of drought.
PA5: Integrate national adaptation strategies into national sustainable development planning.
Halve by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water. PA2: Development of plans and policies to promote the wise use of wetlands.
By 2020 to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers. PA1: Promotion of the development of sustainable water supply and sanitation in drylands.

Sources: UN 2005, NEPAD 2003

In addition to the linkages between the NEPAD-EAP programme areas and MDG 7, there are also links to the other MDGs and to many MEAs. Several of these agreements are directly relevant to a specific area, while others have wider-reaching implications across all programme areas. The African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (ACCNNR), for example, creates a broad framework for dealing with a range of environmental challenges and is applicable to all the programme areas of NEPAD-EAP. Both the CBD and the ACCNNR are dynamic, complex and non-linear interventions which encourage both thematic and institutional interlinkages.

Partnership and institutional links can empower governmental institutions and agencies. For example, such an approach will enhance the capacity of African governments to integrate environment into social and economic processes, and into comprehensive development frameworks, such as the poverty reduction strategies (UNEP 2003). Interlinkages are necessary to meet the MDG targets, and Box 14 on MDG implementation in the West Indian Ocean islands subregion, illustrates this point. Success across the Africa region on achieving the MDG targets is shown in Appendix 1.

Box 14: Progress towards MDGs in the Western Indian Ocean islands sub-region

The Western Indian Ocean (WIO) islands (The Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles) have made substantial progress towards achieving the MDG goals and targets. Progress is defined as target already achieved, achievable by target date or movement towards the target. Taking the four countries as a whole, 28 per cent of the targets in the MDG system have already been achieved, a further 15 per cent are achievable by the due dates if current progress is maintained, and on a further 28 per cent they are on track (UN 2005 and UN Statistics Division 2005). Of the environmental targets, nine have been achieved, and progress has been made on a total of 12.

Based on a detailed review of five countries across the globe, the Sachs studied the cost of implementing the MDGs. Based on local data and evidence of best practice, broad cost estimates for achieving the goals were identified, estimated in terms of average cost per capita, separating the different elements of the task (Sachs 2005). Applying this approach within the sub-region, the mediumterm programme for pursuit of MDGs at a cost of US$74 per head per year, would require from Madagascar 10 per cent of annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP), from the Comoros 4 per cent of annual GDP, from Mauritius 0.6 per cent and from Seychelles 0.4 per cent.

Progress in the region as a whole has been mixed but there has been some success given that progress in any country is related to the baseline from which it started in 1990. Moreover, the cost of moving towards the targets differs from country to country as well as the type of interventions required.

Sources: UN 2005, UN Statistics Division 2005, Sachs 2005

An interlinkages approach can lead to policy development which more effectively promotes trade, capacity-building and infrastructure development and addresses governance-related factors, such as high transaction costs, conflicts, debt and rent-seeking practices, and uncontrolled extractive industries and trade.