UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative
Convergence of the poverty-environment nexus, unfinished business of the MDGs: Evidence from the UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative
Date: 12 June 2013 (Wednesday), from 13:30 to 14:45
Venue: Conference Room 5, NLB
Attended by: Gregory Swistel, Nora Crossnohere, Marli Kasdan, Alyssa Strasser, Imam Yashruti, Mary C.Y. Lam, Candace K.T. Tang, Janice H.Y. Wong, Sunny T.C. Hor
Written by: Mary C.Y. Lam
Key speakers: Mr. Achim Stener, Executive director of UNEP, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations; Dr. Shamsul Alam, Member of General Economics Division Planning Commission, Ministry of Planning of the Government of Bangladesh;
Mr. Moustapha Soumaré, Deputy Assistant Administrator of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Coordinator of National Climate and Environment Fund (Rwanda);
Guests of honor: Mr. Magnus Lennartsson, Minister, the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations; Ms. Bente Herstad, Policy director of Department for Climate, Energy and Environment.
To begin with, PEI was launched in 2005 by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Under PEI, a participating country endeavors to mainstream linkages between poverty and environment into national development planning under the lead of UN. PEI scaled up significantly at the UNEP Governing Council meeting in 2007. Today, PEI covers countries across Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
This conference mainly addresses three pivotal issues concerning the implementation of PEI. First, integrated solutions are necessary for the attainment of optimal effectiveness. Poverty-environment linkages should be integrated into both national and sub-national development policies and budgetary planning as part of the concerted effort in eradicating extreme poverty and achieving sustainable development. Second, national institutions should be given a central position in actions for sustainable development.
These institutions should embrace the challenge to devise a new instrument for measuring progress, as opposed to referring to the GDP as a default standard, so as to better address the linkage between poverty and environment. Third, room for advanced cooperation should be nurtured, because success lies in fruitful collaborations rather than technical solutions or policy designs. Strategic partnership between UNEP and UNDP should be strengthened to allow both to continue to play a role in expending the agenda of poverty-environment initiative.
Indeed, the importance of collaboration between UNEP and UNDP was a central remark by Mr. Achim Stener, who addressed the conference with a video message. Mr. Stener believed that joint staff, financing and delivery mechanism between UNEP and UNDP combine strengths of both in capacity building towards the realization of a green global economy.
On the other hand, Dr. Shamsul Alam shed lights on Bangladesh’s current effort in moving towards mainstreaming poverty, environment, climate and disaster by giving a presentation on how the government of Bangladesh is endeavored to establish benchmarks for different indicators with regards to the environment, climate change and natural disasters, and to mainstream the Poverty-Environment-Climate-Disaster issue into governmental mechanisms.
At the same time, Mr. Moustapha Soumaré seconded the importance of strategic capacity building towards the realization of a green global economy and encouraged different sectors to share responsibility by engaging in the process. Mr. Soumaré also stressed the need of adequate and sustainable financing so as to allow for practical mechanisms in channeling domestic and international resources.