New York - The United Nation's Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI) has launched a new phase of operations to meet growing demand from Member States for assistance in implementing measures that can reduce poverty, while promoting the sustainable use of natural resources and a healthy environment.
PEI is the joint UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) effort to link poverty-environment issues with priority policy interests such as economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction. It also integrates key issues such as gender equality and climate change adaptation.
The new 2013-2017 programme was launched in New York during an event hosted by the governments of Norway and Sweden, alongside the UNDP Executive Board Meeting on June 12.
The new phase consolidates the poverty-environment mainstreaming gains made during previous phases; includes four regional strategies; further integrates gender and equality; and makes provision for the long-term sustainability of P-E mainstreaming, including through strengthened partnerships with relevant stakeholders, including civil society.
The event, which featured presentations from high-level government officials from Bangladesh and Rwanda, reflected upon successes to date and pointed the way for the future. In addition to maintaining its focus on national level, practical actions, PEI will also feed into global policy processes and the wider post-2015 development agenda. At the same time, poverty-environment issues, approaches and capacities will be increasingly mainstreamed into the two host agencies to help ensure that poverty reduction occupies a central place in the UN's drive for environmental sustainability, and vice versa.
Since its scale up in 2008, the PEI has responded to increasing demand for support in almost thirty countries, with over fifty countries lodging requests. Myanmar, Mongolia, Indonesia, Albania, Peru and Paraguay are potentially among the new countries that might benefit from the next phase.
The initiative has secured many successes so far, including:
- Strengthened country institutional frameworks for planning, policy making, budgeting and reporting to deliver on sustainable development in 28 countries. For example in Uruguay, PEI support formalized status for marginalized groups in the informal waste management and recycling sector. The Ministry of Social Development then applied a six-fold budget increase over five years to support the integration of Poverty-Environment (P-E) linkages into its waste management initiatives, and the President's Office institutionalized this approach and scaled it up to national level.
- Integrated sustainable development principles and environmental management issues - and increasingly climate issues - into planning in 19 countries. For example in Tajikistan, after successfully integrating P-E objectives and indicators into the development plans and funds of 14 districts, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade independently replicated the P-E mainstreaming approach in a further six districts and four municipalities.
- Delivered on country priorities around key themes such as: climate change governance, building blocks for a green economy, ecosystems and human wellbeing, and chemicals and waste management.
- Provided innovative tools to implement the integrated PEI programmatic approach. In 2012, for example, Climate Public Expenditure and Institutional Reviews proved to be key tools in advancing the P-E and climate mainstreaming agenda in Asia-Pacific and Africa. For example, the Ministry of Finance of Bangladesh introduced a climate element, with indicators, in the 2013 budget.