UNEP aims to contribute to the decoupling of growth in production and consumption of goods and services from resource depletion and environmental degradation. The organization supports the promotion of SCP as a tool for poverty alleviation in developing countries through a number of activities. These include projects in the following areas: 

SCP& poverty alleviation

The project 'Promoting sustainable consumption and production in developing countries for poverty alleviation' focuses specifically on the opportunities that policies and actions for SCP offer for development efforts in developing countries. The overall objective of the project is to contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals through increased utilization of opportunities of SCP for poverty reduction and increased profitability in developing countries. 

The project will aim to achieve the overall objective through a range of activities. These activities include:

  • Practice-oriented research on key aspects of SCP for developing countries, including for example cost-benefit analysis, markets for sustainable products and SCP indicators

  • Research on SCP in key sectors for developing countries: food, water, energy and waste management. The research will be practice-oriented and focusing on a specific geographical area; 

  • Demonstration projects within the key sectors mentioned above, highlighting the added value of sustainable consumption and production to poverty alleviation in economic, social and environmental terms;

  • Provide technical support to countries wishing to integrate SCP objectives, activities and policies into their PRSPs or other national development plans. This support will depend on the specific needs of the country and could be in the form of the research and demonstration projects already mentioned but could also consist of training, the development and dissemination of guidelines etc.;

  • Creation of public-private partnerships aiming to promote local, regional and global markets and business opportunities for sustainable and/or fair trade products and services;

  • Conduct training and capacity building sessions on design and application of SCP tools for the public and private sectors at the national and regional levels and develop communication campaigns on SCP at the global level, regional and possibly also at the national level; 

In implementing the project activities, UNEP actively seeks opportunities to cooperate with other initiatives, both within and outside the UN.

The project on SCP&poverty alleviation directly responds to the UNEP priority 'Resource efficiency, sustainable consumption and production' and its' objective to ensure that natural resources are produced, processes and consumed in a more environmentally sustainable way. In addition, the project is relevant to the UNEP priorities on climate change (especially through the work in the energy sector) and ecosystem management. More information on the project can be found in the attached summary (PDF - 606 KB). 

This project is closely linked to the Marrakech Process, which works towards the development of a 10-year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production. During the international and regional consultations under the Marrakech Process, representatives from Africa, Asia and Latin America have raised poverty alleviation as one of the key priorities and have also recognised the potential benefits that SCP could provide to meet basic needs in a sustainable manner.

Following this, the Marrakech Process launched the Development Cooperation Dialogue which aims to bring together partners from development agencies on the topic of SCP and build cooperation for implementing of SCP projects and enhancing capacity building on SCP in developing countries. 

Ecolabeling opportunities

The project 'Enabling developing countries to seize eco-label opportunities' aims at promoting eco-labeling in emerging economies through capacity building and technical assistance for industries and governments. The project is implemented jointly by UNEP and InWent - Capacity Building International and other partners. The target countries for the project are Brazil, China, India, Kenya, Mexico and South Africa. 

National SCP programmes

Through the project 'Guidelines for developing, implementing and monitoring national SCP programmes' UNEP is providing support to countries that wish to develop a national SCP Programme. These guidelines are not targeting developing country governments specifically but are relevant to these countries and address issues of specific relevance to developing countries, such as the need to ensure the national SCP programme is linked to or integrated into overarching national policies such as national development plans. There are also several demonstration projects underway in developing countries (e.g. Indonesia, Mauritius and Tanzania), supporting the development of national SCP programmes in these countries. 


Recognizing the potential of sustainable tourism for poverty alleviation and local development, UNEP is implementing a number of pilot projects in tourism destinations in the developing world focusing not only on the environmental but also on the socio-cultural and economic benefits for the local communities. UNEP's tourism programme is facilitating also networking between developing countries and financing organizations in order to channel investments on sustainable tourism to developing destinations.