Green Efforts
Global poverty is an increasingly pressing issue that obstructs the development of various nations around the world. In 2019, Nowcast estimated the extreme poverty rate at 8.2%. The number continued to increase as it reached 9.5% in 2020. However, global poverty remains the focus of many non-governmental organizations as United Nations-led programs return to the forefront of the battle against it. However, as various factors continue to intersect with the already dire situation, the diversification of poverty initiatives became an important requirement. Thus, the United Nations launched the Poverty-Environment Initiative to highlight the importance of sustainability and green efforts when it comes to tackling poverty within developing nations.

What is the Poverty-Environment Initiative?

The Poverty-Environment Initiative is an effort that several United Nations factions and departments launched to tackle the impacts of poverty through environmental development. U.N. Environment, UNDP, UNCDF and U.N. Women have backed the initiative. Currently, the initiative is operating in various countries within Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Europe. The collaborative effort explores the various ways poverty-alleviating policies can intersect with environmental goals to guarantee a more sustainable and healthy future in developing nations.

What are the Poverty-Environment Initiative’s Main Goals?

The Poverty-Environment Initiative’s main aim is to reduce the potentially damaging repercussions of economic growth on the environment. The initiative recognizes that many developing nations often exploit their natural resources and damage various ecosystems to pry themselves out of poverty. Various phenomena such as rising per capita consumption, industrialization and the rapid and uncontrolled increase of agriculture occur when a struggling nation attempts to diversify income resources.

Governments’ fixations on increasing economic development often make environmental degradation a negligible repercussion. As countries grow more industrialized, alleviating poverty comes at a devastating cost: an increase in air pollution. For example, the Chinese government could have pulled its people out of severe poverty. However, as the living standards increased, the quality of air worsened significantly. The decrease in the quality of air had detrimental impacts on the overall population’s health as well as China’s local ecosystems and wildlife.

Consequently, centering profit and sidelining environmental repercussions within government policies greatly affected the environment in developing countries. Therefore, the Poverty-Environment Initiative’s green efforts extend to improving the quality of life for those in developing nations without allowing environmental degradation to be a consequence. Moreover, it is important to note that the initiative uses the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals to set a clear roadmap toward reaching its objectives.

The Poverty-Environment Initiative’s Success Story in Thailand

The Poverty-Environment Initiative’s work in Asia yielded promising results, especially within Thailand’s most vulnerable provinces, according to a UNDP-UNEP report. Thailand’s Ministry of Interior led the operations and several partners such as Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the National Economic and Social Development Board provided assistance. The initiative’s efforts started within three major provinces: Samut Songkram, Nan and Khon Kaen.

To aid development, the initiative implemented various methods in the three provinces. For example, the U.N. programs studied the ecosystems within the three provinces using integrated ecosystem assessments to supply clear and concise data to lawmakers and governmental departments. The data could be a helpful planning and budgeting asset while keeping green policies and environment-friendly practices in mind, as UNEP reports.

In addition, the Poverty-Environment Initiative’s green efforts extended to a policy tool known as the “green growth indicators,” which allows government officials and ministries to track the environmentally friendly growth achieved.

The Poverty-Environment Initiative managed to build a clear roadmap to a green and sustainable economy by supplying developing countries with the tools necessary to make informed decisions.

– Nohad Awada
Photo: Unsplash