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Published Date: Jan 1, 2000

The Environment-Poverty Nexus: An Institutional Analysis (W-49)

Shaheen Rafi Khan and Asad Naqvi, SDPI
2000

Background

The establishment of the Local Dialogue Group (LDG), a subsidiary of the Pakistan Development Forum (PDF), represents an attempt to broad base the discussions of the Forum which, traditionally, have focussed on macroeconomic issues.  Among other things, it has begun to address generic issues of institution building and poverty, which both underpin macroeconomic outcomes and are integral to the development debate.  Poverty will be the special theme in the forthcoming session of the PDF in April this year.

The Poverty-Environment Nexus paper is one of four papers commissioned by the UNDP, Pakistan.  The papers, aimed at determining the nature, causes and impacts of poverty in Pakistan will, variously, analyze the linkages between human rights and poverty, the effectiveness of formal and informal social safety nets, the poverty-environment nexus and document existing theoretical and empirical literature on the subject.  Subsequently, the studies will be reviewed in provincial workshops, primarily as institutional adjuncts to the National Poverty Strategy, as formulated in the Draft Ninth Five-Year Plan (1998 – 2003).

The Poverty-Environment Nexus paper begins with an attempt to identify the factors responsible for environmental degradation in Pakistan.  Essentially, such degradation is rooted in a development process, which fails to meet key aspects of sustainability, as well as in high population growth, which is partly an outcome of this process.  The impact of environmental degradation on poverty will be assessed in relation to four key areas of concern, namely, air and water pollution, solid waste management, deforestation and land degradation. In turn, the impulses and imperatives created by poverty, which further degrade the environment will be examined. Next the paper will look at policy and institutional initiatives, community efforts and collaborative ventures which have attempted to arrest this downward spiral.  Based on a critical evaluation of these, the elements of a strategic framework aimed at alleviating poverty and environmental degradation will be presented.