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HEALTH IMPROVEMENT AND POVERTY REDUCTION MANAGEMENT

Sonsoles Rodríguez González
Family and Community Doctor

Laureano Rodríguez Navarro
BA in Tourism

July 2012

Foreword

One in five people on the planet – two-thirds of them women – live in abject poverty. While the last century saw great progress in reducing poverty and improving well-being, poverty remains a global problem of huge proportions. Of the world’s 6 billion people, 2.8 billion live on less than $2 a day, and 1.2 billion on less than $1 a day. To address this challenge, the world’s governments committed themselves at the United Nations Millennium Summit to the Millennium Development Goals, including the overarching goal of halving extreme poverty by the year 2015.

Yet, our planet’s capacity to sustain us is eroding. The problems are well-known – degrading agricultural lands, shrinking forests, diminishing supplies of clean water, dwindling fisheries, and the threat of growing social and ecological vulnerability from climate change and loss of biological diversity. While these threats are global, their impacts are most severe in the developing world – especially among people living in poverty who have the least means to cope.

Is this environmental decline inevitable in order for poverty to be reduced? We argue not. Indeed, quite the opposite is true. If we do not successfully arrest and reverse these problems, the world will not be able to meet the Millennium Development Goals, particularly the goal of halving extreme poverty. As this paper demonstrates, tackling environmental degradation is an integral part of effective and lasting poverty reduction. The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) provides the international community with a pivotal opportunity to redirect the global debate, and to forge a more integrated and effective global response to poverty and environmental decline.

To succeed, we need to focus on the most important links between poverty, the environment and sustainable development. For many, ensuring sound environmental management means curtailment of economic opportunities and growth, rather than their expansion … too often; it is viewed as a cost rather than an investment. There is no simple relationship between economic growth and environmental degradation, but appropriate policies nationally and internationally can have a major impact on both fronts. To this end, we need to look beyond what environmental institutions can do, and search for opportunities across all sectors.

Contents

OVERVIEW: POVERTY REDUCTION, HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT I
PART 1: WHY THE ENVIRONMENT MATTERS TO PEOPLE LIVING IN POVERTY 1.1 Livelihoods and the environment
1.2 Health and the environment
1.3 Vulnerability and the environment
1.4 Economic growth and the environment

PART 2: POLICY OPPORTUNITIES TO REDUCE POVERTY AND IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENT 2.1 Improving governance
2.2 Enhancing the assets of the poor
2.3 Improving the quality of growth
2.4 Reforming international and industrialized country policies CONCLUSION
ENDNOTES
ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS
REFERENCES

OVERVIEW
Linking Poverty Reduction
And Environmental Management

Addressing environmental issues that matter to the poor is critical to sustained poverty reduction and achieving the Millennium Development Goals … But this requires a more ‘pro-poor’ and integrated approach – linking action at local, national and global levels.

Prepared as a contribution to the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), POVERTY REDUCTION, HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT focuses on ways to reduce poverty and sustain growth by improving management of the environment, broadly defined. It seeks to draw out the links between poverty and the environment, and to demonstrate that sound and equitable environmental management is integral to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, in particular eradicating extreme poverty...
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