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Tackling poverty and environmental concerns together - 17/07/2013

Dry, cracked earth © EU

New EU approach to tackling poverty and environmental problems would pool funding and improve policy coordination.

It is often the poorest countries in the world that are hit hardest by environmental problems – and likely to suffer most from the effects of climate change.

The roots of these problems often intertwine, so alleviating one will often impact the other. For example, preserving forests and biodiversity not only helps combat climate change, but can secure food supply, which is key to eradicating poverty.

A proposal from the European Commission outlines a new EU approach to eradicating poverty and stimulating sustainable development that considers both problems together.

It is the right time to prepare a strategy for both challenges – the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (which included the goal of poverty eradication) is 2015, while international discussions continue on the follow-up to the 2012 UN conference on sustainable development.

The new approach is based on the following features:

  • money alone is not enough. Funding should be matched with policies that, for example, tackle bottlenecks
  • all forms of finance should be considered – public and private, domestic and international
  • recipient countries decide how to prioritise resources between different policy goals
  • new synergies should mean that each euro spent in one policy area has positive effects in others
  • ‘emerging economies’ – countries once considered poor but whose economies are now growing – and ‘upper middle income countries’ should also help support those most in need.

The proposals will now be discussed by MEPs and national ministers. The approach would apply from 2016.

More on the EU’s development work

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