home | en | fr | es |
Teams to end poverty


Natural resources are not only life sustaining (clean air, clean water, fertile soils, trees which turn carbon dioxide into oxygen, etc): they also constitute the basic economic assets of hundreds of millions of people. Soil degradation through erosion, overuse or use of chemical products, overgrazing, or salinisation resulting from inadequate water management entail loss of income base for small farmers and doom them to poverty.

Poverty leads to deforestation through inappropriate use of wood and other resources for cooking, heating, housing and crafts, thus depriving vulnerable groups from essential goods and accelerating both the downwards spiral of poverty and environmental degradation. Insufficient access to education and to information make it difficult for poor people to manage available natural resources in a sustainable and sound manner, thus creating loss of livelihood opportunities and of biological diversity.

Air, water and soil pollution create health hazards in addition to damaging economic assets. Air pollution generated by inappropriate production techniques used by poor people out of lack of better knowledge or lack of capital to invest in environment friendly technologies, is also responsible for global warming and climate change which poor countries cannot afford to challenge. Water pollution - which results from insufficient access to information on proper management - sterilises soils, endangers fisheries, creates health problems, and takes a higher toll on the poor.

Poverty often confines poor people in rural areas to marginal lands, thus contributing to an acceleration of erosion, increased ecological vulnerability, landslides, etc. Lack of resources in poor neighbourhoods leads to inadequate waste collection and waste management with subsequent health problems. Improper use of energy resources leads to waste and higher energy costs that end up being unaffordable for the poor.

Universal access to basic education and vocational training, community information on sound agricultural methods, waste management, natural resources management, coastal protection, water resources management, fisheries management are all essential in reducing poverty as well as in reducing the effects of poverty on the environment. Measures to stop deforestation and re-forestation programmes can secure a more sustainable resource base that benefits the poor. Local low cost production of fuel-efficient stoves and heating devices can go a long way in reducing the energy bill of low-income households while protecting the environment.

International co-operation is needed to replace environmentally damaging production technologies with environment friendly ones, as well as to take care of the global commons. Support to municipalities and community organizations, particularly in the field of waste management can create jobs and reduce the pressure on the environment.

More info on poverty
Facts and figures on poverty
Food and water
Social exclusion
Women and poverty
Nearly half the population of sub-Saharan Africa has no access to clean water.
United Nations Development Programme
print website by kena