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Developing Asia as a whole has taken remarkable strides since the food crises of the 1960s. Improvements in food security, poverty reduction, and per capita income initiated by the Green Revolution have been substantial and lasting. Per capita gross domestic product increased by 190 percent between 1970 and 1995, and calories per person per day by more than 20 percent. In 1975, one out of every two Asians lived in poverty. By 1995 this ratio fell to one in four. The incidence of rural poverty also decreased, from one in two to one in three between 1975 and 1995, and the total number of rural poor fell by 7 percent despite a substantial increase in population.
Although life has improved for most rural Asians, about 670 million still live in poverty, and they must tolerate lower levels of health, education, and general well-being than their urban counterparts. About 2 billion people live in rural Asia. Another 300 million are expected to join their ranks by 2020. The vast majority of these rural inhabitants still rely, directly or indirectly, on agriculture, forestry, or fishing for their livelihoods, a dependence that places enormous pressure on natural resources. The continuing degradation of these resources could well cause social conflict over remaining resources and discontent about the widening gap between urban and rural quality of life. These problems would be particularly severe in South Asia.
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This briefing discusses the links between pollution and poverty in England. The comparison reveals that deprived communities bear the brunt of factory pollution. The recommendations for government action include cutting factory pollution by 80%, drafting new statutory guidelines for regeneration strategies, among others.
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was formed to address desertification as a global problem. Recognizing the links between poverty and environmental degradation, the UNCCD was established in the wake of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. To date, 175 countries have ratified the Convention as a legally binding framework that contributes to providing a comprehensive answer to problems related to the environment and sustainable livelihoods.
This document provides a background on the status of desertification worldwide, and devotes a section to outlining the relationship of IFAD and the UNCCD.
The international community is committed to eliminating poverty. International development targets to that end include a reduction by half in the number of people who are food insecure and a similar reduction in the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by the year 2015.
The Forestry Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with the support of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), held an interagency Forum on the Role of Forestry in Poverty Alleviation in September 2001. Analysts from developing countries, representatives of multi- and bilateral agencies, international research organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) came together to share their experiences.
This policy brief is the result of the joint efforts of the 60 participants in the Forum, with a significant contribution by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). It highlights the findings of the Forum to help further the understanding of the ways in which trees, forests and forestry can contribute towards increasing food security and reducing poverty. Initiatives based on sustainable local forest management, as part of rural development and sustainable livelihood strategies, can support good governance and increase benefits to the poor. The challenge now is to turn this potential into a reality.
In a poverty-ridden country, particularly in the rural areas, it is legitimate to ask to what extent the public distribution system (PDS) of foodgrains acts as a security cover to the poor. The question becomes all the more important in a country such as India where the PDS involves an explicit subsidy of more than Rs 2,400 crore, though policy makers are planning now to reduce this. These are the issues focussed upon by K R Venugopal, a bureaucrat who is familiar with food economy-related problems.
Climate protection has been on everyone's lips since the climate change conference in Bali last December, if not before. One way of preventing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is to protect the world's remaining forests from destruction, since they act as our planet's green lungs and bind enormous quantities of carbon, as do the world's oceans. The international debate on preventing deforestation is now focusing on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). The new GTZ Environment and Climate Change Division headed by Stephan Paulus issued invitations to a workshop on this topic at the beginning of February. Over 120 participants came to discuss the development potential offered by climate protection through forest conservation, among other issues.
In this interview, Stephan Paulus outlines the opportunities for protecting our climate by preventing deforestation, informs us on the current status of the international debate and the contribution GTZ can make.
Stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere at safe levels requires significant reductions in the current rates of deforestation. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) and maintaining healthy forests also can deliver important additional benefits to the forest-dependent poor and for biodiversity conservation.
Successful REDD initiatives require a combination of government interventions and concerted action by both producers and consumers of forest products. If REDD is to achieve a large reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions, major industrial practices in the forestry, energy, and agricultural sectors, which are at the heart of many countries’ economic and political structures, need to be fully involved. Eliminating (and even significantly reducing) deforestation has serious costs associated with it.
Recognizing the challenge of halting deforestation in the short and medium term, international criteria for determining REDD priorities may include
- Preserving forests highly valued for biodiversity or ecosystem services (e.g., water regulation, erosion and flood control)
- Protecting those living in poverty and relying on forests for subsistence.
Maintaining the world’s remaining forests requires multiple strategies. If verifiable and credible emission reductions can be generated, carbon markets could provide one important source of revenue for REDD. In addition to carbon market–based solutions for REDD, policymakers should also consider
- Designing programs that address both the demand for products causing deforestation and the method of their supply.
- Creating new, separate REDD funds.
- Recognizing REDD activities in a sustainable development policy and measures approach, also under the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The effects of climate change are now visible everywhere. Crop yields have declined, partly due to rising temperatures and extreme weather events. Glaciers are retreating, causing grave consequences for future water supplies. Permafrost is melting, disturbing all that rests on it, and expelling new sources of GHGs into the atmosphere.
Increasing temperatures and rainfall variability in Central, East, South, and Southeast Asia have increased disease and heat stress. Otherwise high gross domestic product (GDP) increases in some areas are being reported as flat when climate change degradation is weighted in the equation.
Climate change from business-as-usual energy and land use patterns will likely impinge on the sustainable development of most Asia and the Pacific countries. Pressures on natural resources and the environment associated with rapid urbanization, industrialization, deforestation, land and ecosystem degradation, and economic development will be compounded.
NGOs under a pilot ADB project have mobilized some two-dozen shoreline villages to take charge of protecting their marine resources. By trading short-term pain for long-term gain, these villages are beginning to reverse the tide of overexploitation.
Two stretches of water reveal much of the story of Papua New Guinea’s declining coastal resources—and the efforts by some communities to reverse the trend.
In one beach outside Kavieng -- the main port of New Ireland -- a group of men and women are treading carefully in the ankle-deep water, trying to avoid the razor-sharp edges of broken shells concealed among the sea grasses. If they are lucky, they might find some small shells and the peanut worms that feed on the grass. But the big prizes -- sea cucumbers and trochus (sea snails whose thick shells are used for mother-of-pearl buttons) -- are long gone, possibly forever.
The Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, but
provinces around it have limited access to safe water and sanitation. An ADB project is providing a solution.
Farmer Vorn Mao used to collect water for her family from foul smelling and hazardous streams in a remote village in Cambodia.
In the dry season, the 36 year-old mother of two would resort to digging a hole near her house in search of water, or trekking two kilometers or more to streams where many people also washed their clothes or bathed.
Without the means to treat the water, she and her family often suffered from diarrhea, fever, and skin problems.
Now, times have changed and Vorn Mao and her family and neighbors have safe, clean, and readily accessible water supplies, thanks to a deep well pump installed as part of the Tonle Sap Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project.
Three years after adopting the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) approach, Tanzania will be taking another step, embarking on the second phase with a nationwide framework putting poverty reduction high on the country’s development agenda.
The National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (NSGRP) or Mkukuta as it is known in its Swahili acronym builds on the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) of 2000, which was linked to debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC). The Mkukuta represents a new, more comprehensive approach to poverty reduction. Although it is built on its predecessor, it differs in a number of key areas. In particular it pays greater attention to cross-the-board issues such as environmental sustainability that contribute to both poverty reduction and growth.
Over the last few decades, the isolated villages of Tanzania’s northern coast have been transformed into a highly competitive market economy based on the marine fish trade. Many young men have been lured to the region by the prospect of seasonal employment.
The arrival of a highly mobile male population – ill-informed about condom use and HIV-AIDS generally – in a region, where poverty is chronic and women enjoy very low status, has generated a culture of high-risk sexual behaviour and soaring HIV prevalence rates. Indeed AIDS is now an important part of poverty, natural resource degradation, and ill health in these communities.
A new World Bank report released warns that environmental degradation is threatening to undermine Pakistan growth prospects. According to the study - Pakistan Strategic Environmental Assessment – the degradation of its resource base and high burden of disease is costing Pakistan at least 6 percent of GDP or about Rs. 365 billion (US$ 6 billion) annually.
Nearly 50 percent of the environmental damage cost is attributed to illness and premature mortality caused by indoor and outdoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution alone is the reason for 30,000 child deaths per year. Around one-third of the cost, or 1.8 percent of GDP, is due to death and illness resulting from waterborne diseases caused by inadequate water supply, sanitation, and hygiene. In addition, reduced agricultural productivity due to soil salinity and erosion accounts for about 20 percent of the cost.
Climate Change and its global impacts can no longer be ignored. While cutting emissions from fossil fuel consumption obviously deserves continued attention by all levels of the global society, the approximately 20% of emissions that are due to loss of forests and peatlands cannot remain outside the purview of climate change mechanisms.
Recognizing this, the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change invited a discussion “on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries, focusing on relevant scientific, technical and methodological issues, and the exchange of relevant information and experiences, including policy approaches and positive incentives” in its eleventh session on agenda item 6 (FCCC/CP/2005/L.2).
The World Agroforestry Centre (also known as the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry – ICRAF) prepared a submission for consideration in the discussion. The submission is based on extensive research across the humid tropics by a consortium of international and national organizations operating within the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins (ASB), with key research results generated by Brazil, Peru, Cameroon, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
This brochure summarizes the case for avoided deforestation with sustainable benefits as a simple way to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation.
Urban areas of Indonesia generate about 55,000 tons of solid waste every day. Only about 50 to 60 percent of the waste is collected, and landfill sites are mostly open dumps. Their health impacts lead to premature deaths, serious illness, and diminished quality of life.
IDRC is responding to the infrastructure gap in waste management by
supporting research that emphasizes informed choice, affordability of technical options, and decentralized models. The IDRC-backed initiatives are looking at new ways of managing solid waste in slums, through innovative collection, separation, and disposal mechanisms.
Widespread flooding in Mozambique and neighboring countries have forced thousands of families from their homes into crowded emergency camps. CARE is assisting the Mozambican government and relief organizations meet immediate needs with shelter, hygiene and sanitation, and will help with long-term rehabilitation in the form of seed distribution and water once the flooding subsides. Mozambique is an emergency-prone country and the effects of climate change seem to increase the frequency and intensity of flooding and cyclones in this part of the country. The poor people of Mozambique suffer tremendously from increasing numbers of back-to-back emergencies, making escaping out of poverty difficult.
Global population in the year 2020 will be a third higher than in 1995, but demand for food and fiber will rise by an even higher proportion, as incomes grow, diets diversify, and urbanization accelerates. However this demand is met, population and farming pressure on land resources will intensify greatly. There is growing concern in some quarters that a decline in long-term soil productivity is already seriously limiting food production in the developing world, and that the problem is getting worse.
Despite this increased public attention and the commitment of land management specialists, many policymakers remain unconvinced that agricultural soil degradation warrants priority attention. Policymakers typically consider soil quality not as a policy objective in itself, but as an input into achieving other objectives. Before taking concrete action, policymakers need a clear understanding of policy and research priorities, that is, which geographical regions and which farming systems are experiencing what types of degradation problems, and how important these problems are in relation to other challenges facing the farm sector.
Hundreds of millions of people in developing countries depend on forests for their livelihood. But over 12 million hectares of natural forest are lost in the tropics every year, either through the permanent destruction of forests or through their degradation.
The main cause of forest degradation is selective logging of commercially valuable trees. This has caused severe damage to many of the world's forests, especially in Southeast Asia where the density of commercially valuable timber species is high. Other causes of degradation are forest fires, excessive removal of non-timber forest products and pollution (often by oil firms and gold miners).
Stretching out from the equator on all Earth’s land surfaces is a wide belt of forests of amazing diversity and productivity. Tropical forests include dense rainforests, where rainfall is abundant year-round; seasonally moist forests, where rainfall is abundant, but seasonal; and drier, more open woodlands.
Tropical forests of all varieties are disappearing rapidly as humans clear the natural landscape to make room for farms and pastures, to harvest timber for construction and fuel, and to build roads and urban areas. Although deforestation meets some human needs, it also has profound, sometimes devastating, consequences, including social conflict, extinction of plants and animals, and climate change—challenges that aren’t just local, but global.
A report that challenges conventional approaches is released today at a critical moment in the battle against poverty. The report, World Resources 2005: The Wealth of the Poor: Managing Ecosystems to Fight Poverty, stresses the urgent need to look beyond aid projects, debt relief and trade reform and focus on local natural resources to address the crisis of poverty in all parts of the globe.
"Traditional assumptions about addressing poverty treat the environment almost as an afterthought," said Jonathan Lash, president, World Resources Institute (WRI). "This report addresses the stark reality of the poor: three-fourths of them live in rural areas; their environment is all they can depend on. Environmental resources are absolutely essential, rather than incidental, if we are to have any hope of meeting our goals of poverty reduction."
One billion people live in slums, largely in urban areas of developing countries. The urban poor suffer disproportionately from environmental burdens caused by a lack of environmental services, environmental degradation, and vulnerability to natural disasters. As a result of limited political, human, natural resource, and financial assets, they are caught in a cycle of poverty that increases environmental burdens, which in turn exacerbate poverty and decrease their already limited access to resources.
The goal of the Urban Poverty and Environment (UPE) program initiative is to ease environmental burdens that exacerbate poverty by strengthening the capacity of the poor to equitably access environmental services, reduce environmental degradation and vulnerability to natural disasters, and enhance the use of natural resources for food, water, and income security.
Water is an essential part of life and is the most basic foundation for human progress.
For the world’s poorest people, not having enough water means the inability to maintain the most basic functions of life – like keeping children healthy, quenching thirst and keeping clean. A lack of water also limits the potential for children to receive an education and a family’s ability to earn a living.
These negative effects are long-lasting and trap people in a cycle of poverty. Lives are lost. Women and children are often the worst affected.
Several countries in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region (HKH) regularly face flood disasters. The Ganges, Brahmaputra, Meghna, and Indus flood plains are affected by floods every year. This region contains one of the highest concentrations of people in the world. The high rate of poverty and population growth have increased the vulnerability to flood disasters, at the same time flooding is a part of the growing poverty spiral. Economically disadvantaged people move to the flood-prone lowlands as they lack other options; at the same time they lack the resources to respond to and recover from floods.
Flooding poses severe constraints on socioeconomic development and investment in agriculture, infrastructure, and industrial production; thus management of floods is vital. The impact of floods must be lessened both to reduce poverty and to save lives.
Potential impacts of climate change on $2-a-day poverty and child mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa and South AsiaPosted on: 10 July 2008 - 4:03pm
This note presents estimates of the impacts of alternative climate change scenarios on poverty and child mortality in Sub-Saharan African and South Asia. As with any long-term projections, simplifying assumptions are used, and the outcome of the analysis should be seen as illustrative only.
Two main scenarios are considered:
1. A baseline-climate-change scenario, in which global mean temperature increases to 3.9°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100;
2. A high-climate-change scenario, in which global mean temperature increases to 4.3°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.
Extracted from: DANIDA Workshop Papers: Improving the Urban Environment and Reducing Poverty; December 5, 2000; Copenhagen, Denmark.
Urban poor groups use few non-renewable resources. Most of the houses in which poor urban people live (and often build for themselves) make widespread use of recycled or reclaimed materials, and little use of cement and other materials with a high-energy input. Such households have too few capital goods to represent much of a draw on the world’s finite reserves of metals and other non-renewable resources. Most low-income groups in urban areas rely on public transport (or they walk or bicycle) which means low average figures per capita for oil consumption. Low-income households, on average, have low levels of electricity consumption, not only because those who are connected use less but also because a high proportion of low-income households has no electricity supply. Thus, they are responsible for very little of the fossil fuel use that arises from oil, coal or gas-fuelled power stations (and most electricity is derived from such power stations).
“The environment” actually means soil - to grow food; water - to drink, wash and irrigate crops; air - to breathe; and a host of food and medicinal products (e.g. fruit, fish, wood, edible roots).
Preserving “the environment” therefore means safeguarding food production, protecting air and water from contamination, sustaining livelihoods, and preserving health. A degraded environment in countries that rely heavily on natural resources for their economic prosperity (i.e. most developing countries) actually exacerbates poverty conditions.
The model of this paper explores the link between poverty and resource allocation, including the management of natural resources by small holders. The paper proposes a formal intertemporal model of a credit constrained farm household that can invest in wealth accumulation to relieve its long run indebtedness or conserve resources.
The model of the indebted rural household is an adaptation of the approach developed by Chambers and López (1987), although we extend the latter model significantly by including an additional economic asset - the amount of natural resource stock available to the household. Wealth accumulation increases productivity in the short run but it also imposes greater natural resource degradation. This pressure can, in turn, be alleviated by allowing the resource to regenerate, but this in turn implies lower investments in wealth accumulation. So the household must decide on an optimal combination of investments in the two forms of capital given their savings capacity, indebtedness and costs of obtaining credit. The evolution of the natural resource base is closely dependent on the investment strategy followed by the household.
This paper aims to redefine the African Development Bank Group policy on environmentally sustainable development in Africa. The development of a new policy on the environment is driven by a number of factors, which include: the recognition and acceptance of sustainable development as the dominant development paradigm for the 21st century; need for a greater focus on pro-poor growth policies and programs to counter unacceptable impoverishment rates; rapid progress in the inevitable integration of Africa in the globalization process; and the need for an improved governance with a clearer commitment of the majority of African governments to provide the necessary leadership for sustainable development.
Industrialization has the potential to help achieve a variety of social objectives such as employment, poverty eradication, gender equality, labour standards, and greater access to education and healthcare.
At the same time, industrial processes can have negative environmental impacts, causing climate change, loss of natural resources, air and water pollution and extinction of species. These threaten the global environment as well as economic and social welfare.
The overriding policy challenge for the EU is to promote the positive impacts of industrial development while limiting or eliminating its negative impacts throughout the world.
The development and application of environment-friendly technology, products and services, and management systems have the potential to achieve both environmental sustainability and economic growth.
The EU is determined to ensure a pattern of economic and industrial development that is sustainable. A high level of environmental protection and sustainable resource use, economic growth and social cohesion are mutually reinforcing policy goals.
The most frequently used definition of sustainable development is "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". It was coined in 1987 by the United Nations-appointed World Commission on Environment and Development, also known as the Brundtland Commission after its chair, former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland.
Faced with widespread environmental degradation in the world and distressing global inequalities, the Brundtland Commission advocated a sustainable development that would simultaneously seek to meet the development needs of the poor and ensure that economic progress no longer harms the environment. Sustainable development thus offers a long-term vision of progress that integrates social, economic and environmental needs, local and global needs, and immediate and longer term needs.
Today, there is little doubt about the wisdom of sustainable development. But the world is still far from having reached such a development path. In the environmental field, the challenges range from accelerating climate change to loss of biodiversity and increasing water scarcity.