Integrating the Environment into the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers

By Anantha K. Duraiappah, Pumulo V. Roddy on July 14, 2005
The Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) process was adopted in 1999 to help developing countries and the international donor community better coordinate efforts to reduce poverty. The PRSP review process is guided by a set of two overarching questions followed by a more detailed list of 15 questions. An evaluation of these questions highlights that environment issues aren't examined. This is not surprising as most PRSPs have emphasized traditional engines of economic growth. Recent studies on the links among the environment, human well-being and poverty have revealed the close links the poor have with the environment especially ecosystem services. Acknowledging these critical links also requires that environmental concerns are integrated explicitly in PRSPs. The World Bank methodology developed to evaluate environmental integration within PRSPs provides only provides a very rough indicator of that integration. This paper advances a different approach using a structured questionnaire to solicit preferences from a range of stakeholders involved in the PRSP process and moves beyond the traditional definition of environmental issues to an ecosystem approach.

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IISD, 2005