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Population, Poverty and Environment Population, Poverty ... - IUCN

Population, Poverty and Environment Population, Poverty ... - IUCN

mmBecause of the

mmBecause of the globalisation of the world economy, international shocks suchSeptember 11 has negatively impacted NAs’ tourist industry, and hence, thepoor people’s alternative incomes.As mentioned above, the economic austerity (through decreasing governmentbudgets and expenditure) has meant lower budget allocations for povertyalleviation and environment, and hence, has had negative effects on both. In2001, 1.5 percent on poverty alleviation and 1 percent on emergent naturescheme was allocated from the annual development budget of NA.243.2.2. Governancem Lack of strong pro-poor policies and institutional frameworks that reflect therealities and needs of the poor, especially those of mountain NA. However,although national planning frameworks such as the Interim Poverty ReductionStrategy Paper (IPRSP) take the guise of "pro-poor growth" but in reality theissues that matter to the poor, including poverty-environment linkages, areseriously deficient. For example, a World Bank survey (1996) established thatmmmmnatural resources contributed to 60 percent of NAhousehold incomes.Social and political exclusion of NA in the national decision-making social,economic and political issues as a direct result of inaccessibility, marginalityand fragility. (See below on the lack of consultation of NAgovernment and civilsociety in the IPRSP process).Although greater degree of support to local natural resource management hasbeen initiated. However, this has occurred as a result of NGOs and projects andnot necessarily as a result of government policy. These initiatives includeMountain Areas Conservation Project, Himalayan Wildlife Project and AKRSPand these have meant that NA local communities play a role in managingnatural re s o u rces and provision of environmental investments forrehabilitation.Corruption and political instability leading to decreased and deterioratinginvestments, growth, public expenditure on basic entitlements, low efficiencyin delivery of public services (including environmental management) andgeneral public lack of confidence in state institutions, including the police,security and law and order. (ADB Pakistan Poverty Assessment cites that priorto 11 September 2001, investment, growth and public expenditure on basicentitlements achieved record lows (2002)).At the national and regional NA levels the civil society does not have relevantforums and mechanisms from within to play an active role in creating a morefavourable enabling environment to address poverty-environment issues thatmatter to the poor. Similarly, there is lack of effective participation of poor andmarginalised NAcommunities in policy and planning processes at the regionallevel (see Paper on Governance).3.2.3. Socialm Although local communities have rights to resources such as rangelands,timber, and fuelwood, the management of these resources is in the hands of theForest Department. Over time, access to these resources, especially for the poor,has become more restricted with increase in demands and decrease in supplies.In particular, as discussed in the Gender paper, women are facing increasingmworkloads from the collection of fuel wood because of emerging scarcities.Literacy rates in NA, although rising, are still below the national average. This

is particularly the case for female literacy - at a dismal 25 percent - whichstagnates local and regional development. According to Sen (1997) increasedaccess to quality education means that not only do people produce more andmore efficiently, but also play an instrumental role in social change.3.2.4. Environmentalm Annual rate of deforestation in Pakistan estimated to be around 3% and45,500,500ha of area are affected by soil erosion (UNDP, 1998). If this is anyreflection of the state of affairs in a fragile mountainous NA then the region ishighly vulnerable to environmental disasters such as landslides and floodswhose frequency has increased over the years because of deforestation andovergrazing. These threaten both the lives and livelihoods of the poor both nowmmmand in the future.Deforestation, over-grazing and agriculture land degradation also affects thepoor disproportionately partly because they are dependent on environmentalresources for their livelihoods, and partly because they have lesser capacity toprotect themselves. If 60 percent of household incomes in NA rely on naturalresource contribution then it is safe to assume that the degradation of theseresources will impact on local communities and especially the poor.The NA rural poor rely on natural water sources such as streams for theirwashing and drinking. Although an estimated 40% of villages have access tosafe drinking water, water related diseases such as diarrhoea affect 42% ofchildren under the age of five. Moreover, diarrhoea contributes to 30 percent ofhospital cases, and 14 percent of mortality rate (NHP, 2002).As mentioned above, poor women and children are most susceptible toincidence of indoor air pollution. However data on respiratory diseases in NAthrough exposure to indoor air pollution is not available. At the same time, theincreased time and energy spent in collecting biomass fuels contributes to thephysical burden and ill health of women and children (see Paper on Gender).The net result of all this is increasing health costs as well as lower labourproductivity.3.2.5. How they all link up?The complex of causes of poverty and environmental degradation pre s e n tinteresting interlinks that can be addressed simultaneously. Failure to do so willresult in a tremendous waste of opportunity. Two examples about how the complexcauses link up are as follows. First, take for example the statement in the IPRSP, thatit is the quality of growth (i.e., pro-poor growth) that matters for povertyalleviation. This is indeed true. But if the IPRSP’s definition of the quality of growthdoes not consider environmental aspects then the repercussions are dubious. Thatis, even if the growth process impacts positively on the poor but leads todegradation of the natural resource base and environmental pollution over timewill the poor continue to be better off? Second, again take for example IPRSPstatement that it is the lack of access to health facilities, which is a socialdeterminant of poverty. However, by providing access to health facilities withoutaddressing the root environmental causes of disease such as contaminated waterand indoor air pollution leave the poor better off? Put in another way, withoutconcentrating efforts to address the root causes of environmental degradation, andmerely concentrating attention on corrective or curative actions, will make the poorno better off.25

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