Sustaining the Environment to Fight Poverty and Achieve the MDGs: The Economic Case and Priorities for Action
To improve understanding of the complex relationships between poverty reduction and environmental sustainability, the Poverty-Environment Partnership (PEP) — a network of international development and environment agencies — has sponsored analytical work and consultations, the results of which are presented in this paper. In this paper, the case for the economic importance of environment for poverty reduction and pro-poor growth are laid out, and also set out some key strategic options and priorities for scaled-up investment in environmental sustainability for helping to reach the MDGs.
The first section of the paper summarizes evidence demonstrating the dependence of the poor on natural resources to earn their livelihoods, the vulnerability of the poor to environmental hazards, and the barriers faced by the poor in deriving full benefits from their environmental assets. Highlighted in the second section are the results from rigorous economic research on the returns to investments in the productivity of environmental assets, including solid evidence that such investments can generate large benefi ts for the poor and for enhancing overall growth in developing economies. Finally, several areas for strategic action and response at multiple scales—from local to sub-national, national and multilateral—to encourage the investments needed for major, lasting reductions in poverty, are outlined.