The UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative has been working in the Asia Pacific region since 2008. Supporting country-led efforts to integrate poverty and environmental sustainability issues into national and subnational policies, planning, budgeting and monitoring, Poverty Environment Initiative’s experience in mainstreaming contributes. to strengthening institutions, enhancing environmental sustainability and increasing the resilience of vulnerable communities. The Initiative's work involves building institutional capacity to improve the quality of domestic and foreign investments in natural resource sectors and strengthen planning and budgeting processes to finance climate change priorities.
Currently, Poverty Environment Initiative works closely with the Governments of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines with programmes previously in Viet Nam and Thailand.
Asia Pacific is the world’s most densely populated region and home to 66 percent of the world’s poor. Asia Pacific’s annual per capita GDP growth was 7.5 percent in 2010 and its resource consumption and carbon emissions now outstrip the rest of the world. Yet Asia Pacific has the lowest ecological carrying capacity, and its the region most prone to climate related disasters with the largest number of people vulnerable to climate change. This in combination with the region’s weak institutional capacity to address sustainable development exacerbates the issues and accelerates unsustainable resource use. The overall effect is that the achievement of Asia’s development objectives - including poverty reduction and food security - are made more difficult.
Poverty Environment Initiative supports countries to achieve sustainable development by integrating ecological, climate and fairness concerns into national, subnational and sectoral economic decision making and planning processes. The programme supports Ministries of Finance, Planning and Local Government to direct public and private investments to achieve greener, more inclusive economies. While each country programme has been initiated to meet country-level demand and is tailored to specific national policy processes, the regional Poverty Environment Initiative Asia-Pacific Strategy for 2013-2017 reflects the global Iniative's Scale-up outputs aiming to promote :
- Poverty-environment approaches and tools for integrated development policies, plans and coordination mechanisms are applied
- Cross-sectoral budget, expenditure frameworks, coordination mechanisms, and environment-economic accounting systems are institutionalised
- Poverty-environment approaches and experiences are documented and shared to inform country, regional and global development programming by the UN and Member States
Since 2008 Poverty Environment Initiative Asia-Pacific has significantly contributed to:
- Successfully changed the perception of environmental sustainability as an obstacle towards development and demonstrated that investments in sustainability and climate adaptation can lead to reduced poverty and improved livelihoods
- Successfully demonstrated that environmental sustainability is a cross-cutting concern and thereby increasingly engaged the Ministries of Finance and Planning in Poverty Environment Initiative programme
- Significantly improved the inclusion of environmental sustainability objectives in national and local development plans
- Increasing attention is being paid to poverty-environment-climate aspects in public investment strategies and programmes
- Successfully built capacity of decision makers in sustainability and climate change adaptation and improving enforcement of environmental regulations
- Promoted the use of Poverty Environment Initiative as a platform for UN Environment programming and cross-practice work within UNDP Country Offices; synergies have also been developed with other development partners to increase donor harmonization
- Promoted south-south learning and capacity development
- Helped better link government together - through Poverty Environment Initiative’s work governments own awareness of the importance of coordination and organisation has increased
- Helped to better link UNDP Practices at the Regional and Country levels, and better link UN Environment initiatives such as Climate and Green Economy
Poverty Environment Initiative Asia Pacific is implemented in collaboration with the respective government counterparts and UNDP Country Offices and contributes to the One-UN process in Lao PDR and Nepal. Further, Poverty Environment Initiative Asia Pacific is collaborating with a number of UN agencies and other regional bodies and expanding the Initiative's partnership within the UN system at the regional level will be a feature of the next Poverty Environment Initiative phase starting in 2013. UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is already a partner in Bhutan from the first Phase with possibilities of collaboration being explored in Nepal and Bangladesh. The Iniative’s work in Climate Financing is being carried out in close cooperation with UNDP’s Regional Climate Governance Programme. Areas of collaboration in mainstreaming are being explored with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) projects in the region. Poverty Environment Initiative is collaborating with UN HABITAT on ecosystem based adaptation in urban areas in Asia. Within UN Environment, Poverty Environment Initiative is linking with the Green Economy Initiative to promote green economy mainstreaming and working with assessment and is building on both environmental outlook work and sub-global ecosystem assessments. Additionally connections and collaborations exists with the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE), Economy and Environment Programme for South East Asia (EEPSA), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Poverty Environment Partnership (PEP).
Regional poverty-environment mainstreaming resources & expertise
South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE)
SANDEE is a regional network based in Nepal that uses economic tools and analyses to address South Asia's environmental challenges and brings together South Asian researchers and institutes interested in the inter-connections among development, poverty and the environment. Its goal is to build the professional skills required to enable address local and global environmental concerns. SANDEE works in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Economy and Environment Programme for South East Asia (EEPSEA)
The Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia supports training and research in environmental and resource economics. Its goal is to strengthen local capacity for the economic analysis of environmental problems so that researchers can provide sound advice to policymakers. The program uses a networking approach to provide not only financial support but meetings, resource persons, access to literature, publication outlets, and opportunities for comparative research across its nine member countries (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, China and Papua New Guinea).
Asian Development Bank - Poverty and Environment Programme
The Poverty and Environment Program is a regional technical assistance project financed by the Poverty and Environment Fund (PEF), a multi-donor trust fund administered by ADB. The program aims to accelerate learning about poverty-environment linkages and effective approaches for poverty reduction. PEP maintains a knowledge base that features lessons from replicable and self-sustaining interventions.
Asian Development Bank - Core Environment Programme
Facilitated by the Asian Development Bank as an integral part of the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program, the Core Environment Programme seeks to create a region where economic growth and environmental protection are approached in parallel, and in a way that benefits all who live there. http://www.gms-eoc.org/
Asian Centre for Biodiversity
ACB champions biodiversity conservation in the region and facilitates cooperation and coordination among ASEAN Member States on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.
http://www.aseanbiodiversity.org/index.php?option= com_content&view= frontpage&Itemid=170
Asian Institute of Technology - School of Environment, Resources and Development