UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative

The Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is a joint global UN-led programme that supports country-led efforts to mainstream poverty-environment linkages into national development planning and processes, from policymaking to budgeting, implementation and monitoring. The UNEP Division for Regional Cooperation through its Regional Offices is managing the Initiative on behalf of UNEP. 
With both financial and technical support, UNDP and UNEP assist government decision-makers and a wide range of other stakeholders to manage the environment in a way that improves livelihoods and leads to sustainable growth.
The Initiative:

  1. was formally launched in 2005 and significantly scaled-up in 2007 at the UNEP Governing Council meeting
  2. works in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean
  3. operates through a global Facility, four regional teams and the UN country teams

Regional Delivery:

Support to PEI country programmes is provided through the regional structures of UNDP and UNEP. UNDP Regional Centres and UNEP Regional Offices collaborate to deliver environmental mainstreaming support to countries under the banner of the PEI. The mainstreaming support programmes are aligned with country demand within each region.

The Regional Support Programmes:

  1. Offer guidance on strategic planning and information about poverty-environmental mainstreaming issues in the region;
  2. Define a set of priority services, including trainings and knowledge management services for countries in the region;
  3. Allocate funds for country programmes and provide advisory services, and support for the regional communities of practice;
  4. Ensure that UNDP and UNEP operate in a region and countries within a well-coordinated framework, rather than on an initiative-by-initiative or unit-by-unit basis. This includes working closely with the One UN initiative.

Africa PEI Regional Support Programme:

The PEI programme in Africa was formed by the merger of several country poverty-environment mainstreaming programmes initiated under the UNDP PEI, funded by the European Commission and UK’s Department for International Development, and several country programmes initiated by UNEP, with funding from the Governments of Belgium and Norway.  Since 2005, this regional programme has been managed jointly by UNDP and UNEP.
The UNDP-UNEP PEI Africa programme is active in eight countries: Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. As with other the regions, the PEI programme is being scaled up in Africa.  A new PEI country programme has commenced in Burkina Faso and another one in Botswana. In addition support is being provided for specific activities in Liberia. PEI also contributes to the One-UN process in Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania – for example through the PEI country programme being part of the One UN work-plan and by supporting UNEP’s engagement in the One-UN processes in these countries. At an operational level, a team located at UNEP HQ in Nairobi is responsible for supporting country programmes. 

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, one of the main supporters and donors of the PEI, commissioned an evaluation of the PEI Pilot Phase in 2008 – of the initial country programmes in seven African countries (2004-2008, in Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda). The evaluation was conducted by the UK-based International Institute for Environment and Development and assessed the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of PEI implementation, as well as suggesting lessons about the PEI design and implementation approach. The final report was presented in August 2009. Overall, the evaluation depicts the PEI Africa as highly relevant, its effectiveness as good, equity as satisfactory, and sustainability as satisfactory – and its efficiency as highly variable, depending upon country.

Related publications: PEI publications and PEI elibrary
Related website: www.unpei.org

David Smith
Manager, PEI Africa team
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  1. Burkina Faso
  2. Kenya
  3. Malawi
  4. Mali
  5. Mauritania
  6. Mozambique
  7. Rwanda
  8. Tanzania
  9. Uganda


Mainstreaming Poverty-Environment Linkages into Development Planning: A Handbook for Practitioners
[English] [Français]

Making the economic case: A primer on the economic arguments for mainstreaming poverty-environment linkages into national development planning
[English] [Français]

Further Resources
UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative

PEI Library