Mainstreaming Environment, Climate Change and Poverty

The environment, climate change and poverty (ECP) issues have long been addressed and awarded the gravity of urgency it deserves, and now there is an integrated approach that will mainstream the ECP Mainstreaming (ECPM) initiative in the 11th Five Year Plan (FYP) guidelines.

In order to make ECPM more pragmatic in the FYP than merely maintaining it as a theoretical policy proclamation, the 11th Plan preparation guidelines includes a separate provision requiring all central and local agencies to formulate ECP-integrated development programs.

The ECP Reference Group organized awareness workshops for the sector officials responsible for plan preparation to identify ECP mainstreaming concerns and opportunities in their 11th FYP programs. This involved the conduct of a series of workshops with individual sectors aimed at familiarizing them with the six-step ECP mainstreaming matrix, from January 4-10, 2012. As part of the exercise, sectors applied the mainstreaming matrix to identify ECP concerns within their sector programs, and propose relevant interventions to take on new opportunities in the 11th FYP. A similar exercise will be conducted for the Local Governments (LGs).

Therefore, the ECPM Framework is an outcome of the mainstreaming exercise carried out with the sectors and it is envisaged that the framework will serve as a good input to the formulation of ECP integrated 11th FYP program. The framework is also aimed at guiding the plan towards a carbon neutral development which is identified as one of the National Key Results Areas (NKRAs).

The framework, however, may not be comprehensive in terms of options and alternatives. It is not intended to be a prescriptive plan, but instead it is expected to serve as a reference framework open to new and innovative interventions to promote smarter ECP mainstreamed development. The framework can also be used by LGs including Thromde ‘A’ as background information and guide since most of the ECP pressures and concerns identified by the sectors are similar to what LGs experience at the local level.

Environment mainstreaming recognizes that the environment is the ultimate resource on which all sector development depends. ECPM is the process of integrating environment, climate change and poverty issues into the formulation of all sector policies and plans placing particular emphasis on the opportunities environment provides for sustainable and inclusive (pro-poor) development.

The following process steps have been recommended for mainstreaming environment, climate change and poverty issues into the sectors 11th FYP preparation process and are applicable also when mainstreaming any other cross-cutting issues into development planning.

The specific objectives of the process steps are to provide a simple analytical framework that can be applied rapidly and effectively by all sector agencies involved in the 11th FYP process, provide a minimum analytical process to identify and integrate key pro-poor environment and climate change opportunities in sector plans and programs of the 11 FYP, identify specific pro-poor environment and climate change issues to be addressed by sectors, identify priority actions to address these issues that can be incorporated into sector plans and programs, propose monitoring and evaluation indicators to assess the integration of these issues in sector plans and programs and ensure a strong linkage with national objectives and priorities.

The call for mainstreaming ECP and other crosscutting issues into development plans and programs is also based on the current context of emerging challenges of pursuing a sustainable approach to holistic and inclusive development. The sustainable development approach strives for environmentally sustainable economic progress to foster low-carbon and a socially inclusive development.

Sustainable economic development strategies in practice today are pursued through various independent means, which are most of the time constraining to economic development or the health of the environment. As a result, the replacement of such approaches with the mainstreaming approach changes the “development versus environment” debate to one of “development that utilizes resources sustainably”, placing particular emphasis on the opportunities the environment provides for development that is sustainable.

However, bad management of environmental assets leads to hazards such as climate change, pollution and environmental damages that threaten development and livelihoods of which the poor are especially vulnerable.

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