Poverty-Environment Initiative is a joint UNDP and UNEP global programme formally launched in 2005 to address poverty, promote security and preserve the ecosystems that poor people rely on for their livelihoods by placing pro-poor economic growth and environmental sustainability at the heart of economic policies, planning systems and institutions. With an overall aim to bring about lasting institutional change and to catalyse key actors to increase investment in pro-poor environmental and natural resource management, PEI helps government decision-makers and a wide range of other stakeholders to manage the environment in a way that improves livelihoods and leads to sustainable growth. Currently, the Initiative is supporting full programmes in 18 countries, including Tajikistan, assisting them in integrating poverty-environment linkages into national and sub-national development planning, from policymaking to budgeting, implementation and monitoring. The PEI Phase I in Tajikistan was launched in 2010.
The PEI Phase I in Tajikistan (2010-2013) demonstrated that significant economic, social and environmental benefits can be achieved from integrating poverty and environmental linkages in development policy, planning and budget processes. However a sustained engagement over time (10-20 years) serves as a pre-requisite to ensure institutionalization of these efforts. The Phase II of the project provides the continuation and consolidation of the results achieved in Phase I in Tajikistan. As such it is fully aligned with and contributes to the global PEI for 2013-2017 through concentrated focus on meeting the implementation challenge of P-E mainstreaming and achieving positive pro-poor and environmental outcomes.
The overall goal of the project is to support improved governance and trickle-down effect of sustainable development agenda within national and sectoral development strategies as a result of poverty-environment (P-E) mainstreaming, thus ensuring better management of natural resources, and enhancement of regional cooperation and knowledge sharing on P-E mainstreaming. The project also intends to integrate a gender equality approach in P-E work by addressing both women and men’s concerns. The intended outcome of the Tajikistan PEI Phase II is comprehensive strategies and strengthened institutions at the national and local levels enabled to better address existing poverty and environmental issues and facilitating transition to greener and inclusive growth. The project is implemented in three linked components:
1. P-E approaches and tools for integrated development policies, plans and coordination mechanisms applied. This output includes integration of the P-E and sustainable development agenda into the sectoral strategies and national long-term development strategy for 2016-2030;
2. Knowledge base built for institutionalization of cross-sectoral budget and expenditure frameworks and environment-economic accounting systems. This output includes capacity building interventions aimed to introduce the national stakeholders to frameworks, methodologies and techniques on green accounting systems, valuation of ecosystem services, and public environmental expenditure review.
3. Regional cooperation and knowledge sharing facilitated to integrate pro-poor environmental outcomes into regional institutions and sustainable development processes. This component includes: i) identifying best practices, experiences and technologies on designing and implementing policies and frameworks integrating poverty and environmental issues-in-nexus in priority sectors and exchanging them among countries; ii) identifying and facilitating key partnerships at the regional level.
- Tajikistan overhauls their whole planning process with the ‘triple bottom line: people, planet, profit’: Revised development plans, new indicators and practical guidelines are helping to drive investment towards new green enterprises in some of the poorest communities, proving that the PEI approach can jumpstart progress. In line with PEI’s strategy of working with existing institutional arrangements, the initiative partnered with the multi-donor Rural Growth Programme (RGP) supported by DFID to rework their development plans in Sughd region.
- A scoping study “The economics of land degradation for the agriculture sector in Tajikistan” was carried out in 2012. Enhanced knowledge on the economic cost of land degradation associated with foregone production on degraded and unused agricultural land in terms of GDP and rural households’ unrealized benefits.
- Thanks to the inclusion of poverty-environment tools in the curriculum of the Institute for Civil Servants Training, the government staff in other provinces and planners around the country can now learn from the experiences in Sughd region via a handbook that details in practical terms how to bring poverty-environment into the planning process.
- For the first time, representatives from the country’s environmental department (Committee for Environmental Protection) were given a place at the table to inform the regional economic plans. As a result, PE links were integrated into 27 District Development Plans (DDP) elaborated throughout 2010-2013, covering all 14 districts of Sughd region, eight districts of Khatlon region and five districts of Rasht Valley. More importantly, these DDPs also include PE indicators integrated into DDP M&E frameworks, thus providing for tracking the progress on each indicator. More importantly, the “Methodology for the elaboration of DDPs” reflects on PE mainstreaming tools.
- Environment and climate sustainability criteria were integrated into the design and application of the District Trust Funds- RGP financial mechanism for DDPs’ implementation. Local communities in Tajikistan were supported to identify ‘green’ products and services, which were then evaluated by representatives from the environmental department. Over 65 enterprises were supported by the regional trust fund mechanism that answer both environmental and poverty reduction criteria. For example, through supporting microloan foundations that include poverty-environment criteria for micro lending and the provision that at least 50% of the loans be targeted towards women-led initiatives. For the first time, women are taking an active role in local economic activity rather than relying exclusively on remittances from abroad.
- Statistics databases were installed in all 14 Statistics Departments of Sughd region. In total, 193 indicators included in the database, out of which 25 are P-E related (7-outcome indicators and 18-output indicator). Each district has developed monitoring frameworks that include these indicators and progress data is collected systematically.
- P-E aspects had been integrated into the national mid-term development strategy – the Living Standard Improvement Strategy (LSIS) 2013-2015, represented by 38 PE related indicators out of total 96.