Webinar: Poorer without it? The neglected role of the environment in addressing poverty
ESPA's final webinar explored conceptual and methodological advancements for measuring environmental dimensions of poverty and wellbeing, and the implications for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.
This webinar presented and discussed the findings of research funded by the UK’s ESPA programme and Global Challenges Research Fund that describes:
- A new conceptual understanding of the environment as a missing dimension of poverty;
- Why this is important for allocating resources to poverty alleviation efforts; and
- Practical ways in which this understanding can be integrated in measuring multidimensional poverty through top-down (e.g. satellite) and bottom-up (e.g. household survey) data collection, and what this means for developing indicators for measuring poverty.
Context: integrating environment and poverty outcomes
There is growing recognition that the environment plays an important role in a holistic picture of wellbeing, but this knowledge has not yet been adequately realised in mainstream international development.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with their emphasis on the interconnected nature of the environmental, social and economic aspects of development, serve as an opportunity for closer environment-poverty policy integration. Indeed, targets for the goal on ending poverty (Sustainable Development Goal 1) explicitly refer to poverty in all its dimensions (Target 1.2) and include the role of natural resources (Target 1.4) and resilience from environmental shocks (Target 1.5).
However, whether the environment is seen as means to improve wellbeing versus it being an integral dimension of wellbeing itself has important implications both for how we measure and understand development, and for interventions that are designed to positively impact wellbeing and the environment.
Ultimately, this will affect our ability to achieve the transformative ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Speakers and the discussion panel
Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, UK
Professor of Political Economy, Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, and Director of the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute
Manager of the UNDP-UN Environment Poverty-Environment Initiative Africa Programme
Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Geography and Environment, University of Southampton
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