Introduction on poverty reduction, environment and the Millennium Development Goals (OECD DAC EPOC) Introduction by Agnes van Ardenne-van der Hoeven, Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation. OECD Development Assistance Committee and the Environment Policy Committee Session 1 Poverty reduction, environment and the Millennium Development Goals 4 April 2006,Paris.
Mr/Madam Chair, Colleagues,
The Millennium Agenda stands or falls by a clean environment. Hunger, child
mortality, health care, energy and drinking water all have a clear
environmental dimension. Embedding environment in the MDG programme will do
much to reduce the cost of achieving these goals. What are the questions
First: How can we make the environmental dimension of poverty more visible
in the MDG-oriented PRSPs of developing countries?
What we need first of all is stronger interest and ownership on the part of
developing countries. The recent Millennium Ecosystem Assessment clearly
stated that poor people suffer most from environmental problems. At the
same time, natural resources can represent poor people’s only ‘wealth’,
providing better chances for survival and development.
In my experience, commitment to the environment in developing countries
still has a long way to go. In their progress reports in the run-up to the
Millennium Summit, these countries reported least on the environment. A DAC
Network on the Environment study concluded that this is because these
countries often do not understand the environmental indicators of the MDGs.
Here is a clear role for OECD countries, to support countries that want
sound environmental management at national level.
I suggest that we organise a meeting with ministers of Environment, Water
and Energy of developing countries to improve their involvement in this
Multilateral environmental agreementsalso could be instruÃ??menÃ??tal to
promote ownership and awareness among developing countries. This requires a
change of attitude on the part of developed countries. OECD countries need
to realise and accept that the link with poverty eradication and
development deserves wider attention in treaties like the Climate
Convention and the Convention on Biodiversity. Developing countries will
always be slow to implement multilateral environmental agreements unless
there is a clear link with poverty reduction and social and economic
development. We must make better use of the possibilities to link for
example the climate agenda to access to energy for the poor; the
biodiversity agenda to employment, and food and drinking water security.
Issues with priority to developing countries. We need to show the
developing world the quick wins of a sound environment, instead of the long
term gains. On the side of developed countries, we may be convinced of that
climate change may endanger economical stability in the near future, but
for people in living in poverty even a time line of 2 years could be
totally insignificant. In the mainstream of multilateral environmental
agreements, and in our eagerness to solve global environmental problems, we
tend to forget about the daily struggle of the poor.
Second question: How do we involve the private sector and civil society?
We must realise that in most of our countries, financial mechanisms for
these activities Ã?? including core contributions to multilateral
environmental agreements Ã?? in fact depend completely on Official
Development Assistance. There are some exceptions, such as the Clean
Development Mechanism and, perhaps, the future Adaptation Fund currently
under negotiation. The Netherlands believes that funding to help implement
multilateral environmental agreements needs to come from a variety of
top of the internationally agreed 0.7% of ODA, the Netherlands provides an
addiÃ??tional 0.1% for international environment. ODA funding will never be
able to cover the immense investments needed to fully implement the Rio
Through a partnership approach we can organise involvement of the private
sector. The Netherlands engaged for example with corporate initiatives like
“business and biodiversity”, established in the margin of the Convention on
Biodiversity, and we started a partnership with NUTRECO an IUCN to enhance
sustainability in the fish meal product-chain. As the world’s market leader
in fish meal, NUTRECO is the adequate partner to engage with.
I am also very happy with the proposal of the WB for an Energy investment
framework. We needs such frameworks to interest the private sector.
Third question: How do we create synergy between the goals of international
environmental commitments and the MDGs.
In order to create environmental ownership in developing countries and to
strengthen international environmental treaties, we need to work from
different sides. Development, environment and water ministries should work
together to integrate environment into PRSPs, and to embed a clear poverty
dimension in environmental agreements.
At the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg 2002, we
made a good start with an action-oriented plan for sustainable development,
linking up with the MDG agenda. By making the MDG targets for energy,
drinking water and sanitation operational, the Johannesburg Plan of
Implementation helps us to contribute directly to achieving the MDG7
targets. In the Netherlands, State Secretary for the Environment, Pieter
van Geel, and I decided to work together on implementing Johannesburg.
We drew up an integrated action plan for Sustainable Development at
national and international level. With our Energy for Development
programme, we have made the necessary arrangements to provide 10 million
people with access to modern energy services by 2015. In doing so, we will
consider both environmental aspects and local needs. I have made similar
arrangements to provide 50 million people with access to water supplies and
sanitation by 2015. In the coming CSD we should show willingness to
do everything that is needed Ã?? both in terms of action and funding Ã?? to
give the poor access to modern energy sources in a way that does not harm
Bearing in mind the outcome of the Millennium Summit, which reconfirmed our
commitment to achieving the MDGs, and last year’s Paris Declaration aimed
at ‘far-reaching and monitorable actions’ towards these common goals Ã?? we
should discuss today how development and environment ministers can do more
to highlight the importance of a clean environment in achieving the MDGs.
We should also discuss our plans to integrate environmental aspects into
development efforts. And we need to consider ways of
strengthening the dimension of poverty eradication and development in
environmental treaties. And, looking ahead to the CSD14 Ã?? the first year of
the CSD cycle on energy, climate and industrial development Ã?? we should
discuss our plans to implement the global goal of providing 2 billion poor
people with access to energy for development.