Poverty and Ecosystems: prototype assessment and reporting method - Kenya case study

By Anantha K. Duraiappah, Marlene Roy on August 20, 2007
People are better able to move out of poverty when they have access to education, basic healthcare, clean water, energy, shelter and so on. Their situation is improved when they can speak for themselves and participate in decisions affecting them. These basic tenets of development have been long understood. Even so, poverty still stalks many people. At the same time, life-nurturing and sustaining ecosystems are suffering in many parts of the world. Aspects of this catastrophic twinning are being charted by various governments and United Nations agencies, but usually the emphasis is on poverty or on the environment. Recent pioneering efforts, such as the soon-to-be-released Global Environment Outlook, aim to show how closely poverty and environment are entwined. This publication is one such effort. We draw on a conceptual framework based on earlier work done with the United Nations Environment Programme and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment to test whether this framework will provide the necessary road-map to sustainable development. We applied our framework to Kenya, a country with high levels of poverty and environmental degradation and also with readily available trend data. The result is this prototype report, which assesses sustainable development in Kenya and concurrently helps us answer our initial question and find ways to improve both the method and the report. This report was funded by IISD's Innovation Fund.

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IISD, 2007