WASHINGTON - June 14 - Reversing environmental degradation and reducing poverty in the developing world requires working simultaneously across local, sub-national and national levels, according to a new book by World Wildlife Fund's director of macroeconomic policy, David Reed.
The book, titled Escaping Poverty's Grasp: The Environmental Foundations of Poverty Reduction, builds on WWF's long-standing strength of working at the local level in vulnerable places around the world and demonstrates how to extend that work to influencing policies and institutions at sub-national and national levels. By providing compelling experiences in rural areas of China, Indonesia, El Salvador, South Africa and Zambia, the book highlights ways of opening economic opportunities and improving natural resource management in the face of many obstacles and self-interested groups that seek wealth by controlling natural resources.
The book offers a unique and powerful methodology, called the 3xM Approach, so-called because it cuts across the micro, meso and macro levels of a given society to promote poverty reduction and improved natural resource management. This is designed to arm local communities and civil society organizations as well as international development agencies as they try to respond to the many changes associated with globalization. Frequently globalization provides new opportunities to the dynamic, more powerful groups in countries, often leaving the poor and the environment to bear the costs of economic growth. The 3xM Approach provides tools to rural and urban groups alike to understand the new economic and institutional impacts of globalization and to engage in change processes that will protect the environment and the rural communities that depend directly on natural resources.
"For many years we have watched successful poverty-environment initiatives at the local level being wiped out by powerful interests groups and economic changes," said Reed. "We can now offer an intervention approach that supports local changes by reforms at higher policy levels and ensures the sustainability of local economic initiatives and efforts to improve natural resource management."
Poverty is directly linked to environment because in many rural areas, poor communities must depend on natural resources for their survival. In the indigenous communities of Deqin County in China for example, wood logging is a source of employment and income. Wood is also used for fuel and construction. After a 1998 nature reserve expansion and a country-wide logging ban initiated by the government, cash flow to the rural communities garnered from these wood products dropped dramatically and local tensions with nature reserve authorities increased. By working with all levels of government, a new system allowing the community to collaborate in the management of the forests was developed. This system has enabled the communities to sustainable use non-timber products and helped them to increase their income by six to ten times. By working with provincial and national authorities, a means to apply this system in other parts of China was developed.
"WWF's work on poverty and environment examines concrete activities to empower the poor, link poverty reduction and the environment, and promote changes across the local, sub-national and national levels of societies," said Louis Michel, EC commissioner for development and humanitarian aid. "This work makes a number of solid policy recommendations for bringing about enduring changes in rural livelihoods and resource management."
Two events will be held in Washington, D.C. around the release of the book:
Thursday, June 15th, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
World Bank Info Shop at the J Building
701 18th Street, NW, Washington, D.C., J1-050 Auditorium
Seminar on the poverty-environment relationship to draw from the findings in the book and explore ways for rebuilding a positive dynamic across the local, sub-national and national levels of society for sustainable, equitable development. Panelists from the World Bank, World Wildlife Fund, InterAmerican Development Bank and International Resources Group will be in attendance.
Friday, June 23rd, 12 noon - 1:15 p.m.
Longworth House Office Building, Room 1300, Washington, D.C.
International Conservation Partnership staff luncheon and book presentation. David Reed will make a presentation on poverty and the environment and summarize key findings from the book.
RSVP required to David H. Barron at 202-338-5150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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World Wildlife Fund is the largest conservation organization in the world. For 45 years, WWF has worked to save endangered species, protect endangered habitats, and address global threats such as deforestation, overfishing, and climate change. Known worldwide by its panda logo, WWF works in 100 countries on more than 2,000 conservation programs. WWF has 1.2 million members in the United States and nearly 5 million supporters worldwide. For more information on WWF, visit http://www.worldwildlife.org.
This news release and associated materials can be found on http://www.worldwildlife.org.