Poverty-Environment Initiative prepares the way for launch of Poverty-Environment Action for Sustainable Development Goals: Year-end Message from the Co-directors

It’s ‘Blossom Time’ as Poverty-Environment Initiative prepares the way for the launch of Poverty-Environment Action for Sustainable Development Goals

By Anne Juepner and Isabell Kempf, Co-directors, United Nations Development ProgrammeUN Environment Poverty-Environment Initiative

The joint United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)–UN Environment Poverty-Environment Initiative has been building its legacy through continued engagement, outreach and capacity development activities with our country-level, regional and global partners.

All four regions of the Initiative have accelerated implementation of the mainstreaming of poverty-environment this year and produced exciting new knowledge products which have drawn upon the valuable lessons learned during their more than 10-years of experience working in their countries.

Early in the year, the inclusive growth session Migration, environmental sustainability and action for inclusive green growth, co-organized by Poverty-Environment Initiative during the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) Ministerial Conference, held in March in Berlin, ignited new thinking on the relevance of poverty-environment mainstreaming to the debates over human rights and migration.

Accelerating sustainable development in Africa – country lessons from applying integrated approaches (UNDP–UN Environment Poverty-Environment Initiative, June 2017) was released during the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, which took place from 12 to 16 June 2017 in Libreville, Gabon. The report was later featured during the Nexus Dialogue 2: Poverty and Environment in the Sustainable Development Goals, held during the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July 2017 in New York, in partnership with the UN Environment Management Group.

From our Latin America and Caribbean team, a major study, Articulating Social and Environmental Policy for Sustainable Development: Practical options in Latin America and the Caribbean (Inciativa de Podreza y Medio Ambiente, Julio 2017), provides practical examples of an integrated approach to the implementation of Agenda 2030 in Latin America and the Caribbean, focusing on the poverty-environment nexus.

Our colleagues from Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States issued Building an inclusive and climate-resilient future: An integrated approach to pro-poor sustainable development (UNDP–UN Environment Initiative Tajikistan, October 2017), as a useful resource for practitioners and policymakers alike, based on lessons learned.

Our 2015 Handbook, Mainstreaming Environment and Climate for Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development, is now available in Arabic and Russian translations, joining the English, French and Spanish versions released earlier. The Russian publication and new web-based Interactive Handbook formed the backbone of the training on budgeting for sustainability, held during the Europe and CIS Regional Experts Meeting last October in Istanbul.

The Poverty-Environment Initiative Asia Pacific team released in November The Poverty-Environment Accounting Framework: Application to Inform Public Investments in Environment, Climate Change and Poverty. The publication drew upon the knowledge shared at the regional Results and Lessons Learned Workshop: Public and Private Investments for Achieving the SDGs, held in November 2016 in Bangkok. It presented key outcomes of the Initiative, including on how to successfully engage core development ministries and agencies to internalize environmental and social sustainability issues in their planning, budgeting and decision-making.

In addition, Poverty-Environment Initiative and the UN Environment Ecosystems Division joined SwedBio/Stockholm Resilience Centre and the nongovernmental organizations Natural Justice and the International Development Law Organisation in hosting a peer-to-peer learning forum, Tools and strategies for implementing a human rights-based approach to the environment with a focus on bio-diversity, held last November in Nairobi.

Seeking to ‘Leave No One Behind’, the Initiative has also worked this year in support of the Equity dimension of the sixth edition of the Global Environment Outlook, the flagship environmental assessment report of UN Environment. The Outlook is due to be released in early 2019.

In 2018, UNDP and UN Environment will jointly launch a new 4-year joint project, Poverty-Environment Action for Sustainable Development Goals (2018-2022). The new project will build upon and serve as the successor to the Poverty-Environment Initiative, which has been extended to September 2018 as a flagship of UNDP and UN Environment.

Poverty-Environment Action for Sustainable Development Goals aims to mobilize governments of least developed countries to create coherent policies and increased quality investments in poverty eradication which improve environmental sustainability and address climate change.  The emphasis on guiding quality investments marks a new departure for poverty-environment mainstreaming, as we highlighted in Blossom Time, our popular version of the 2016 Annual Report, released in August 2017.

The Poverty-Environment Initiative acknowledges with gratitude the support of the Governments of the European Union, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, and looks forward to working with them and new partners in implementing Poverty-Environment Action for Sustainable Development Goals.

It truly is ‘Blossom Time’ for the Poverty-Environment Initiative.


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