Key Documents

Sustainable Consumption and Production for Poverty Alleviation

National Action Plans & Poverty Alleviation


The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPoI), approved at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002, acknowledged that fundamental changes in the way societies produce and consume are indispensable for achieving global sustainable development. The JPoI states that all countries should promote sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns but that developed countries should be taking the lead, taking into account the development needs and capabilities of developing countries.

While recognizing the constraints developing countries face, SCP can however also be considered an opportunity for these countries. Efforts and policies to stimulate more sustainable consumption and production offer numerous opportunities, such as the reduction of production costs, the addition of a price premium to products, the creation of new markets, the generation of jobs, pollution prevention (reducing environmental costs and health impacts) and the opportunity to leapfrog to modern environmentally-sound technologies, allowing developing countries to adopt more efficient and competitive technologies.

A growing number of developing countries recognize the potential SCP can make to their development efforts and have developed or are planning to develop national SCP programmes or national strategies for sustainable development. However, it will be crucial for these policies and programmes to be linked to and integrated in national development policies and plans, such as the poverty reduction strategy, as well as the national budgets.

Many countries around the world have adopted SCP action plans or strategies. In Africa, this includes Ghana, Mauritius, Tanzania and Zambia.  In LAC, such plans have been drawn up in Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay. In the EU, dedicated national SCP action plans have been developed by the Czech Republic, Finland, Poland, and the United Kingdom. In some regions, SCP has been integrated into other planning processes. In SEE, EECCA, North America and West Asia, for example, national-level SCP planning is largely part of existing national strategies for sustainable development or other short- and medium-term development plans. In the Asia-Pacific region, national Green Growth strategies have proliferated since 2005. These strategies focus on investment in sustainable infrastructure, raising revenue and improving ecoefficiency while reducing poverty. Many governments also target policies in specific sectors, where strategies have been put together to promote sustainable agriculture.

To support countries, UNEP has developed flexible guidelines on how to plan, develop, implement and monitor national programmes on SCP; see “Planning for Change”.

More information about the SCP National Action Plans (SCP-NAPs) and the SCP and Poverty Alleviation