Michael Stanley-Jones
Michael Stanley-Jones
Topic: How caring well for the environment and natural resources can help lift communities out of poverty
Michael Stanley-Jones serves as Programme Officer responsible for communications, knowledge management and outreach with the UNDP−UNEP Poverty−Environment Initiative based in Nairobi. I te...
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Number of questions: [3]
Posted on 01/11/2014 00:32:10
Dear Mr. Stanley-Jones,

the initiative activies are focused in populations living in protected areas or conservation hotspots, or populations living in big cities, for example, are also a target?

Thank you
Marcelo Ramos (from Brazil)
Dear Marcelo,

Thank you for your question (and thanks to the others who have sent in their questions).

The Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI) works on behalf of both rural and urban communities. One of the countries we serve is Uruguay, which is primarily an urban society: More than 90% of the population live in urban areas, and 40% live in the capital, Montevideo. The recent change of Uruguays waste management systems, the so-called Packaging Law, has improved social inclusion by providing jobs and training opportunities for the urban poor. For the first time, waste recyclers in Uruguay are recognized by national law - giving them the right to decent working conditions, stable salaries and social protection. It has facilitated the establishment of cooperatives of recyclers and so far has achieved a 17% recovery rate of solid waste. Informal recyclers from the Ave Fnix recycling cooperative are now able to have formal jobs, avoid exposure to dangerous waste, and have increased incomes and access social security.

Inspired by the experience of PEI Uruguay., PEI officially launched the project Integrated Management of Solid Waste for Sustainable and Inclusive Development in Peru, in December 2013. PEI Peru is led by the Ministry of Environment in close collaboration with the Provincial Municipality of Arequipa and UNDP Peru.

Posted on 30/10/2014 20:15:35
How do you make programs like that sustainable for the greater population and the business sector without discriminating against the other?
Maurice Muia (from United States of America)
The Poverty-Environment Initiative uses tools of economic analysis and its track record of success to make the case that by caring well for the environment and natural resources we can help lift communities out of poverty. Prosperous, healthy communities benefit the business sector. Mainstreaming poverty-environment objectives into national policies, plans and programmes are ultimately good for business.

Here are three examples of how we build upon analysis and successful implementation:

(i) Rice is extensively cultivated in Mali constituting an important source of food and income for many Malians living along the banks of Niger. Rice production in Mali generates 5% of the countrys annual gross domestic product (GDP). To better understand the economic benefits of environmentally sustainable practices and the costs of unsustainable practices for rice cultivation, the Government of Mali, with PEI support, conducted an environmental economic analysis in June 2014. The assessment showed that the inefficient use of energy and negative environmental impacts due to the extensive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides is costing Mali more than US$ 100.7 million, more than one-fifth of the value total value added by the sector or 1% of the countrys annual GDP. It recommended that the Government of Mali critically review its policy of subsidizing chemical fertilizers and explore alternative support mechanisms for rice farmers as well as tighten the regulations for the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

(ii) In Mauritania, working in partnership with World Food Programme and UNICEF, the Joint Programme targeted three of the most vulnerable areas to demonstrate visible results related to poverty-environment mainstreaming. As a result, 600 hectares of dunes were stabilized; 295 hectares of pastures were restored and now protected; 47,000 hectares of land restored in the delta region; 28,000 people have access to safe water. The positive collaboration has resulted in commitments for continuation beyond the life of the project. The Government of Mauritania has invested over 2 million USD of public funds to protect the capital city from the advancement of dunes as well as a rise in the sea level.

(iii) In Mozambique, the Poverty-Environment Initiative has improved levels of coordination and dialogue between key institutions and made they work more effectively. Ministries of Planning and Environment provide uniform guidance to all sectors regarding the importance and processes for mainstreaming cross-cutting issues through the use of a Mainstreaming Matrix. The application of the matrix has improved the quality of development plans and been used to mobilize resources to support poverty-environment activities at the district level in 17 key sectors.

These examples show how mainstreaming poverty-environment into national development policies, plans, and programmes, and strengthening cooperation among key stakeholders, can lead to an increase in a countrys wealth, while improving public health and lowering costs to farmers, businesses and the general public.

Posted on 30/10/2014 17:08:58

My question: what channel or medium the UNEP intend to use to lift poverty in community?

Also, how UNEP intend to break domestic barriers to make their goals visible and applicable at community level?
Hassan Koroma (from Seychelles)
The Poverty-Environment Initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) supports country-led efforts that demonstrate how caring well for the environment and natural resources can help lift communities out of poverty. We work at national, sub-national and local level on development planning, from policymaking to budgeting, implementation and monitoring, using sets of tools which support managing the environment in a way that improves livelihoods and leads to sustainable growth.

For example, in Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), the Poverty-Environment programme helps ensure that the countrys rapid economic growth and flow of foreign direct investments into the natural resource sectors generate sustainable and inclusive development. A new model contract channels foreign investments into local job creation, while raising environmental standards and alleviating poverty.

Lao PDR has developed new legal tools that help vulnerable groups address their needs. The Lao PDR National Assemblys hotline is now inundated with calls regarding land rights and compensation. For the first time, mid-level planning officers are equipped with legal tools for responding to those appeals. Environmental and Social Impact Assessments have been institutionalized by the Government and are being conducted more systematically. This has resulted in the monitoring of 287 projects in 17 districts in 6 provinces across Lao PDR.

In the Gicumbi District of Northern Rwanda, with the help of the Poverty-Environment Initiative, the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) launched the Rubaya Village Demonstration Project in 2011. This area was considered to be among the most environmentally fragile parts of Rwanda. The poverty challenges faced by the population in this area before the demonstration project included:

1) Over-cultivation of land for agriculture and inadequate soil conservation leading to low and declining productivity;
2) Destruction of wetlands;
3) Fading size of arable and pasture land, resulting in low agricultural and livestock production;
4) Inadequate application of integrate land and soil management techniques, including low practice of agro-forestry; and
5) Absence of water harvesting measures and low application of irrigated agriculture; and 6) Inadequate opportunities for income generation.

Today the village is home to 43 families, a total of 196 people. Each family received a house comprising all the necessary facilities, and a high breed Holstein-Friesian cow to provide for milk. Fifteen water reservoirs have been constructed to recuperate running water from heavy rains seasons, which characterize the area, to be used by the villagers for irrigation. Water harvesting tanks have been constructed to recuperate and clean rain water, and bring clean water to the villagers and people from the area.

Rubaya villagers have been trained on using the 43 cows dung in producing biogas energy, which is used by them for cooking. The waste from biogas digesters and households is then used to produce fertilizers. The village has also been provided with solar energy for households lighting needs. The village also has a women-led Cooperative called Imparirwagusumbwa which manages the operations of the biogas digesters, water tanks and the selling of the extra milk from the cows on the market.

The new sources of water and energy have freed women and girls from having to hand carry supplies, giving them more time to educate themselves. They also have gained new confidence and pride in themselves from the success they experience in their green village.

The Poverty-Environment Initiative also works to reform national development plans so they serve better the needs of the poor. In Thailands Nan province, the Provincial Administration has been supported to better manage corn-based livestock farming through investments in watershed management and more secure land tenure. A Geographical Information System Centre, co-funded jointly by Nan province and Poverty-Environment Initiative, was established to serve local communities with community land surveys and mapping to better advocate for community land entitlement issues.

These are some of the ways the Poverty-Environment Initiative is able to extend its assistance from the national to the community level, to help those who are most vulnerable in todays economy.