Working Towards Building a Green Economy and Sustainable Local Communities


Mainstreaming poverty-environment linkages in local governance for sustainable development


In developing countries, there is an increasing awareness of the necessity to formulate and implement pro-poor environmental policies and programs to achieve sustained broad-based economic growth for all. In the Philippines, the local government units play a pivotal role in ensuring that while local economy progresses, the environment remains protected. Mainstreaming poverty and environment concerns into the local government units (LGUs) policies, plans and programs is a step towards complementing the objectives of the localization of sustainable development.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has partnered with the global Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI) of the United Nations to set up institutional and capacity strengthening programs and has carried out activities to address the particular poverty-environment context. The Philippines PEI aims to promote the poverty-environment (P-E) linkage in local governance through rational utilization of natural resources, environmental protection, social equity measures, and poverty alleviation actions.

Operationally, the integration of P-E linkages into plans and eventually into development programs, projects and activities, shall pave opportunities for growth, especially for LGUs which rely on natural resources for livelihood and subsistence. However, it is complex to link poverty and environment, even more challenging is when made as the entry point for achieving sustainable development. There seems to be always trade-offs between economic growth and environmental improvement. Fast economic growth could contribute to the reduction of poverty, however, at the cost of environmental degradation, such as the depletion of natural resources, atmospheric pollution, the depletion of biodiversity, the pollution of aquatic and marine ecosystems and the increasing production of wastes.

While trade-offs cannot be avoided, P-E mainstreaming aims at achieving the best balance between environmental protection and poverty reduction for the benefit of the poor and the environment.

The reviews and case studies conducted by PPEI in 2012 disclosed that the main entry point for mainstreaming P-E linkages is through the planning and budgeting processes. The Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) of LGUs provides the scope to attain a dynamic system of addressing poverty and environmental protection. Particularly, the Rationalized Planning System (RPS) suggests schemes for development efforts to progress coherently instead of a fragmented, although continuing approach.

Therefore, capacitation is needed for the LGUs to proactively evolve their local plans such as the CDP, Comprehensive Land-Use Plan (CLUP), Local Development Investment Program (LDIP) and Annual Investment Program (AIP), especially if the type of development in the locales is resource extractive. The current challenges and stresses that the communities are facing call for urgent action, even while these are positively viewed as economic opportunities.

The “Pilot Testing cum Validation Workshop of the Training Modules on Mainstreaming P-E Linkages in Local Planning and Monitoring and Evaluation Tools for P-E Mainstreaming” facilitates a credible launch for a capacity development process in P-E mainstreaming, and enable the development of capacity building interventions for the LGUs in the design of P-E responsive policies, projects and programs for a green and inclusive development. The roll-out of the capacity development program will be conducted in October 2013.

A total of forty (40) participants composed of Sanggunian Member, Budget, Planning, Accounting and Environment and Natural Resource Officers of LGUs of the Province of Rizal, City of Antipolo, Municipalities of Angono, Baras, Teresa and Rodriguez; and Province of Bulacan, City of San Jose Del Monte and Municipalities of Norzagaray and San Ildefonso joined the DILG Central and Regional Officers in the workshop.